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Potential opponents for Cotto’s next fight: Chavez Jr. and Pacquiao

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Manny Pacquiao Miguel CottoBy Chris Williams: Now that WBA junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto has finally avenged his earlier defeat at the hands of Antonio Margarito by stopping him this past weekend by a 10th round TKO, Top Rank is going to have to start looking or Cotto’s next opponent for early 2012.

Bob Arum wants to keep Cotto with Top Rank, and puts Cotto in great position to get the big fights that he’s been craving but not getting lately. That’s not to say his rematch with Margarito was a small fight, because Cotto was well paid for the Margarito fight with a guaranteed $5 million plus an upside for the pay per view profits.

But he stands to make even better money in his next fight against either Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or Manny Pacquiao, both of which are also Top Rank fighters. At this point, Arum will pretty much give Cotto the fights he wants for 2012 as long as he agrees to stay within the fold at Top Rank.

This means that Cotto could end up facing Chavez Jr. in early 2012, and if successful in that fight, Cotto could take on Pacquiao in his next bout in 2012. Heck, even if Cotto loses to Chavez Jr., which is a very real possibility given his size limitations, Cotto will still likely get put in with Pacquiao.

We’ve seen in the past over and over again that a loss for one of his fighters doesn’t keep Arum from matching them immediately in big fights. It’s as if he’s counting on the boxing public to have a short memory, and he’s pretty much right every time because the casual boxing fans scoop up the fights despite the circumstances.

Arum has already mentioned that he wanted the winner of the Cotto-Margarito fight to take on Chavez Jr. next. It’s up to Cotto now if he wants to take that fight or put the pressure on Arum to get the gravy fight against Pacquiao right away. I think Cotto should put the clamps on Arum and push for the Pacquiao fight right away.

There’s no telling what will happen if Arum puts the 5’7” Cotto in with the strapping 6’0” Chavez Jr. I know people say Chavez can’t fight but he’s been looking better and better lately, and he’s such a huge fighter. Unless there was some kind of weigh-in on the day of the fight, Cotto would be potentially looking at being out-weighed by as much as 20 pounds by the time he enters the ring against Chavez Jr. That’s pretty significant.

I could see Cotto taking a real pounding From Chavez. He’s a young kid and is using his reach and jab a lot more than he used to. I think Chavez Jr. would be too big for Cotto, and would really wreck a possible Pacquiao-Cotto fight for later in the year. That’s why Cotto needs to force the Pacquiao fight now and then limp into the Chavez Jr. fight afterwards.

I think it’ll be a bad year for Cotto in terms of winning fights, because I see him losing to both Chavez and Pacquiao by knockout, but Cotto will make big bank and can retire at the end of the year if he wants. Maybe he could stick around and fight Antonio Margarito again and then retire, but he won’t need the money that’s for sure.

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