What does 2010 hold for Khan, Cotto and Marquez?
by Liam Fitzgerald: 2010 promises to be a big year for a number of the top p4p fighters out there. Obviously, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather’s year depends on whether their fight comes off and what the outcome is in any case. Therefore, in this article I am going to look at the prospects of those fighters slightly below the leading two fighters out there and a prospect who’s trying to reach this type of level, Amir Khan.
Firstly, 2009 was on the whole an indifferent year for Miguel Cotto and it will be very interesting to see what he does in 2010. Clearly, he was planning on taking some time off after his crushing defeat to Pacquiao in November and now after the sad loss of his father, that will probably only increase. However, when he does step back into the ring, who should he fight?
Cotto has proven himself as a top quality fighter in the light-welterweight and welterweight divisions, having beaten nearly all the best fighters since winning a world championship. He ended the unbeaten records of good boxers like Carlos Quintana, Paulie Malignaggi and Ricardo Torres whilst also winning vs. Shane Mosley and Zab Judah when stepping up in class. However, in the fight that mattered to him the most, the Mexican vs. Puerto Rican war, against Antonio Margarito he lost. Now, this was my favourite fight of the decade and Cotto offensively showed a lot of skill in the bout. Yet his heart was broken by the Mexican (illegally or not, it’s still unknown) and he ended up quitting. Since then he hasn’t seemed the same warrior, even though he gained a creditable decision over Joshua Clottey and so for me he has to fight Margarito again, when the Mexican returns. He has proven himself against all the other top welterweights, whilst the Pacquaio fight showed that he isn’t quite in the top rung p4p wise. Therefore, logically this is the only fight out there for him. If he wins this, he will surely remove some of the demons that seem to be haunting him and enhance his overall legacy. Any other fight would be a backward step, whilst going into the ring with Mayweather would be a mistake as the American would pick him apart. 2010 has to provide Cotto-Margarito II, the fans would love it and Cotto needs it.
Juan Manuel Marquez has a lot more options and what he chooses to do depends on the weight class he chooses to campaign at. He definitely shouldn’t stay at welterweight as he’s obviously not big enough, but 140 lbs could be perfect for him. Mayweather picked him apart but with less flesh around his middle, el Dinamita surely would keep some of his speed and power and provide a big threat to the fighters in the division. The two potential opponents that have been most mentioned for him are British duo Ricky Hatton and Amir Khan and Marquez would be favourite in both. Khan is too inexperienced whilst Hatton would need to lose a lot of weight and his performance would undoubtedly be affected. However, both fights present problems as well for Marquez as Khan’s speed and Hatton’s body punching are both assets which could lead them to wins. Still, I think it is a better idea for Juan Manuel to fight at light welterweight than return to lightweight where he remains a belt holder. He has already beaten the best lightweights out there and dropping two weight classes at once is quite risky for an older fighter. So, in my opinion Hatton vs. Marquez is the best fight for the Mexican next in 2010 and even though they both lost their last fight, it would undoubtedly be a cracker.
Amir Khan’s next opponent has been widely discussed and now seems to be set with the WBA ordering him to fight ‘interim’ champion Marcos Maidana. I personally believe that this is exactly who Khan should face next for a few reasons. Firstly, Khan was very happy to hide behind the fact that Salita was his ‘mandatory’ defence and so stuck to that line when people questioned his choice of opponent. Therefore, there is no way he should be able to back out of facing Maidana. Fortunately, the WBA have recognised this and made it a mandatory defence as well. Secondly, Khan is more than capable of winning the fight. If he fights similarly to the Kotelnik fight, he should be able to avoid the Argentinean’s monstrous right hands and as Ortiz proved, Maidana’s chin isn’t exactly great. I believe that Khan could easily out point or win by late stoppage against Maidana should he fight smartly on the outside, with fast combinations regularly.
I doubt Khan will vacate his title as him being world champion is all that brings in support from the casual boxing fan in Britain and with his fights being on PPV, he could suffer by vacating. But as I say, I believe boxing wise this is also a great career move. He will earn a lot more respect from boxing fans by not dodging a dangerous power puncher and then would be free to pursue other big fights. Paulie Malignaggi is a sensible opponent whilst Juan Manuel Marquez would be a big scalp if he were to win but I believe it is pointless chasing them without first proving something against Maidana.
So 2010 promises to be a big year for these three boxers in shaping the rest of their careers. If they make th e wrong choice in opponents, their careers could be in tatters. I have given my opinion on how I feel they should go forward but feel free to agree/disagree.
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