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Miguel Cotto could fight for a world title in June

Billy Joe Saunders Miguel CottoBy Dan Ambrose: Former four division world champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) lost his catch-weight WBC middleweight title last November in a narrow 12 round decision defeat against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The 35-year-old Cotto is now looking to return to the ring in June against an opponent still to be determined.

According to the latest boxing news, Cotto could be fighting for a world title against the likes of WBO 160lb champion Billy Joe Saunders or WBO 154lb champion Liam Smith. Those are two of the potential opponents that Cotto could be fighting.

There’s also the possibility that Cotto could fight 42-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez, but that’s a fight for later this year in September or October after Marquez has taken a tune-up fight in May of this year.

Cotto’s management and training team are evaluating a small list of potential opponents for him to fight in June. Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach will have some input as well as to who he’ll be fighting. Let’s hope that Roach doesn’t blow it again by ruling out guys that would make Cotto a lot of money. Roach said that he recently rejected Amir Khan as an opponent for Cotto’s next fight.

That obviously was a big mistake on Roach’s part because Canelo is now fighting Khan, and the attention the fight is receiving is incredible. Canelo and Golden Boy made a great move in selecting Khan as an opponent, because the boxing public is very interested in that fight.

Roach made a mistake by turning down Khan for Cotto, and that mistake likely will hurt Cotto. Even if Cotto fights Saunders or Liam Smith, those fights won’t attract the interest in the U.S that a fight against Khan would. That’s why if I’m Cotto, I wouldn’t let Roach in on the process of selecting opponents any longer after the mistake he made on the Khan fight.

Cotto could also wind up fighting IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook. However, it’s unclear whether Cotto could drop down that loss to take the fight against Brook. Other than the fight being for Brook’s title, it’s not really worth it for Cotto to take the fight. He could drag Brook up to 155 like Canelo is doing with Khan, but it’s not a fight that would gain a lot of interest in the U.S.

If Cotto fights Liam Smith or Billy Joe Saunders, those are matches that would only appeal to the hardcore boxing fans in the U.S. The casual fans wouldn’t know who those guys are. The only reason for Cotto to fight them would be to win their paper titles, because they’re not considered to be the best champions in their weight classes. Saunders is arguably the 4th best middleweight champion after #1 Gennady Golovkin, #2 Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and #3 Daniel Jacobs.

Liam Smith is seen by many boxing fans as the third best 154lb champion after #1 Jermall Charlo and #2 Erislandy Lara. However, Smith isn’t seen as the third best fighter in the division, as the following contenders are seen by many to be better than him: Jermell Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, Austin Trout, Cornelius Bundrage, Vanes Martirosyan, Joshua Clottey and Anthony Mundine.

Cotto should really think about getting the best possible fight for June rather than going for a paper title. He should have taken the Khan fight if he were looking to get the most money. Unfortunately, Roach blew it by turning down that fight.

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