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Cotto vs. Ruslan Provodnikov or Diego Chaves possible for June 18

Miguel CottoBy Dan Ambrose: Former WBO light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs) and welterweight contender Diego Chaves (23-2-1, 19 Kos) are two names that are being mentioned as possible opponents for 35-year-old Miguel Cotto’s next fight on June 18, according to superluchas.com.

Previously, 42-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez had been talked about as the next opponent for former four division world champion Cotto, but now it’s been narrowed down to Provodnikov and Chaves.

The 32-year-old Provodnikov has lost three out of his last six fights, and he might not be a good opponent for Cotto if the idea is to gain the respect of the boxing public. Instead of fighting Provodnikov, Cotto should be fighting the guys that recently beat him. It’s not even really interesting thinking of a Cotto-Provodnikov fight, especially if Cotto makes it a pay-per-view fight on HBO. That’s not a PPV worthy fight. It’s a mismatch. Cotto would be better off fighting Lucas Matthysse than Provodnikov. Matthysse beat Provodnikov by a 12 round decision last year in April in a thrilling fight. Provodnikov was also beaten by Chris Algieri by a 12 round split decision in June 2014.

In 2013, Provodnikov lost to Mauricio Herrera by a 12 round decision. The thing about all those fights is that Provodnikov avenged none of them. He just lost to them and then moved on rather than avenging the defeats. In Provodnikov’s last fight, he stopped little known fighter Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez by a 4th round knockout last November in Monaco. Before the stoppage, Provodnikov was struggling and looking really bad.

Diego Chaves hasn’t won a fight in two years since February 2014. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to ignore a factor like that. If Cotto wants a soft touch a against a guy with almost no wins in recent years, he would be better off fighting Gabriel Rosado, who has only one win in the last four years. In fairness to Chaves, he was arguably robbed in his fight against Brandon Rios in 2014. That was the fight where Chaves was winning in the 9th round with one round left in the fight when referee Vic Drakulich stopped the fight and disqualified Chaves for throwing an elbow. To this day, I still can’t spot the elbow that Chaves threw in the 9th. I’ve seen the round in slow motion and I can’t see an elbow being thrown. The disqualification saved the Top Rank promoted Rios from losing yet another fight. I think Chaves would have won that fight if not for that very odd stoppage from Drakulich.

I Chaves is a bad match-up for Cotto because he’s young and he’s got good punching power. Cotto would be better off fighting someone that wouldn’t trouble him as much. I think Chaves would be a nightmare for Cotto.

Marquez would be the guy that Cotto and his promoters at Roc Nation Sports would gladly take in a second if he were available. However, Marquez hasn’t fought in two years since June of 2014, and he’s interested in taking a tune-up fight in May against an opponent still to be determined. Marquez is interested in fighting Cotto later this year, but not in June, when he wants to return to the ring.

Cotto lost his last fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by a 12 round unanimous decision last November. Cotto lost his WBC middleweight title in that fight at a catch-weight at 155lbs. By looking to fight a welterweight, Cotto is ensuring that he gets a victory.

It was thought that after Cotto lost to the much heavier looking Canelo, he would then move down to the 154lb division and take on the likes of the Charlo brothers, Demetrius Andrade, Liam Smith or Erislandy Lara. But it looks like Cotto is planning on skipping the junior middleweight division entirely by going straight to the welterweight division to fight smaller guys.

Marquez hasn’t fully made up his mind from the looks of it whether he wants to continue his boxing career or not. He’s been dealing with a knee problem since his fight against Mike Alvarado in June of 2014. If Marquez does come back to continue his career, you would have to assume that the knee problem will still be there for him.

The location for Cotto’s next fight is likely going to be in New York City on June 18.


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