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Cotto – What’s Next? De La Hoya, Williams, Margarito or Hatton?

cotto543554.jpgWith the dust barely settled following World Boxing Association welterweight champion Miguel Cotto’s narrow decision over Shane Mosely on Sat6urday night at Madison Square Garden, the question in most people’s minds is who should Cotto fight next? As Cotto puts it, he’d be interested in fighting “all the top guys,” like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya. However, the chance of him actually fighting either of them is slim and none, unfortunately.

De La Hoya has strict marching orders from his Puerto Rican wife, telling him that he can’t find fighters from Puerto Rico, for which Cotto is from. It’s unclear whether that De La Hoya would go against his wife’s wishes, but unless I miss my guess, this is probably a convenient excuse for him not to have to face the embarrassment of losing badly, likely by knockout by the hard-punching Cotto. So, De La Hoya’s basically out of the picture, no matter how much Cotto might want to fight him.

As for Mayweather, who has a bout with Ricky Hatton next month, it’s doubtful that he’d be particularly interested in mixing it up with Cotto. It’s not that the money won’t be good, it’s that it probably won’t be as much as his bouts with De La Hoya and Hatton, which would probably be enough to sour Mayweather’s interest in a bout with Cotto. For all his greatness, Mayweather has never looked that good against tremendous body punchers like Cotto.

The chances of Hatton beating Mayweather seem remote at this point, so he’s essentially out of the equation because it will take a minor miracle to defeat Mayweather. However, should Hatton defeat Mayweather, it’s only obvious that they would have an immediate rematch, thus ruling out a future bout with Cotto in 2008.

World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Paul Williams would seem like an appealing opponent in early 2008, if not for the fact that Williams will be facing International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Kermit Cintron in a unification bout in February 2008, which rules out a bout against the lanky 6’1″ Williams in the short term. Of course, Cotto is always free to sit around and wait, doing little else, but I’m guessing that Cotto’s promoter wouldn’t want him to do, especially after his big showing against Mosley.

That leaves Antonio Margarito, who fought on the undercard on Saturday night, destroying Golden Johnson in a 1st round blowout. Margarito, 29, looked awesome, perhaps the best fighter on the night with his buzzsaw style attack on Johnson. However, Cotto has so far shown no interest in fighting him, strangely enough. It seems that Cotto is still upset about Margarito turning down a fight with him earlier in the year, deciding instead to fight Paul Williams, who defeated Margarito by unanimous decision. Cotto’s promoter, Bob Arum, though is more than interested in fighting Margarito, as he’s keenly aware that he’s both available and the type of fighter that can increase Cotto’s start appeal, should he come out victorious. It will be interesting to see if Arum can change Cotto’s mind.

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