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Does Cotto deserve a title shot against Foreman?

By William Mackay: In the past couple of days there has been news of former World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Miguel Cotto (34-2, 27 KO’s) getting a title shot against WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman (28-0, 8 KO’s) in June of this year. How in the heck does Cotto deserve a title shot given that he’s coming off of a vicious 12th round stoppage loss to Manny Pacquiao in November?

Cotto took a savage beating in that fight and probably only lasted that long against Pacquiao because he chose to run from the 4th round on. It doesn’t seem fair that Cotto should be able to jump in line in front of other talented top light middleweight contenders like Daniel Dawson, Nobihiro Ishida, Marco Avendano, Alfredo Angulo, Christophe Canclaux, Nilson Tapia, Zaurbeck Baysangurov, Alexander Abraham, Anthony Small, Harry Joe Yorgey, Austin Trout, Seshew Powell, Vanes Martirosyan, and Juan Ulbaldo Cabrera.

Granted, many of these fighters’ names aren’t recognizable to many boxing fans, but they’re still ranked in the top 15 in the WBA, unlike the recently beaten Cotto who is only ranked in the welterweight division. Doesn’t Cotto have to prove himself in the light middleweight division by picking off a top 15 fighter or two before he gets a shot against Foreman?

That makes sense to me. If Cotto wants a title shot against Foreman, let him beat Martirosyan and Angulo. If Cotto can get by those two fighters, and I don’t know that he can, then I would be alright with him getting a title shot against Foreman. I know people will say that Cotto is an elite fighter because he’d held a title previously, whereas the top 15 contenders in the WBA haven’t.

However, Cotto has lost two out of his last four fights and an argument can be made that Cotto should have lost three out of his last four because of his controversial 12 round split decision win over Joshua Clottey in June 2009. Even if we just look at Cotto’s two losses that would seem to me to be enough to disqualify him for a title shot against Foreman.

I don’t think Foreman is the greatest fighter even, but he’s a champion and he deserves to face contenders that have worked their way into a title shot rather than have had the shot given to them on a silver platter. I think Cotto can beat Foreman without too many problems, because I see him as the weakest of the four champions in the light middleweight division.

But Cotto should still have to at least knock off two top 15 contenders before he gets a title shot against the Foreman. I know that Foreman is making a voluntary defense of his title, but there should be a rule where the champions are required to defend their titles against top fighters in their own division and not fighters out of their class.

Because it seems only fair, because otherwise you have fighters picking and choosing smaller or weaker fighters to get an easy pay day against during their non mandatory defenses and it makes it a long wait for contenders in that particular division to get a title shot.

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