By Dan Ambrose: It’s rumored that Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) could be facing the recently knocked out James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) on June 18 on HBO pay-per-view. According to Dan Rafael of ESPN, the Cotto-Kirkland fight is a possibility. Selling a fight between Cotto and Kirkland is asking for trouble.
If HBO sells it for $60, then they could wind up with very few buyers. Cotto lost his last fight to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez last November in a close 12 round unanimous decision loss on HBO pay-per-view. That fight was obviously a pay-per-view worthy fight between Cotto was the WBC middleweight champion at the time, and Canelo had turned his career around since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. But Cotto is coming off of a loss to Canelo now, and the 31-year-old Kirkland hasn’t fought since being stopped in the 3rd round by Canelo in May of 2015.
Canelo had the sense enough to know that a fight against Kirkland wasn’t a PPV worthy fight.
“If rumored Cotto-Kirkland HBO PPV fight made for 6/18 what a farce. $60 for that crap? Both lost last fight to Canelo & Kirkland badly KO’d,” said Rafael on his Twitter. “At least when Canelo slaughtered Kirkland it was not a PPV and while Kirkland had been inactive he had at least won 5 in a row. Cotto-Kirkland, if it happens, is DOA as a PPV. At this point, Cotto-Kirkland rots even as a live HBO fight much less a PPV.”
Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marque were two of the names that were recently being mentioned as a possible opponent for Cotto’s next fight. Marquez wants to take a tune-up fight against an easier opponent so he’s not going to be able to take the fight.
It doesn’t make much sense for Cotto to fight Kirkland right now because he’s done nothing since his loss to Canelo. Kirkland has fought only once in the last two years since his win over Glen Tapia in 2013.
If Cotto wants a fight on HBO pay-per-view, he really should be looking to take on a bigger name than Kirkland. The problem that Cotto has is there’s an almost complete lack of well-known fighters at this point for him to fight on HBO PPV unless he wants to try and lure Manny Pacquiao into fighting him. in the past, Cotto fought on PPV against well-known fighters like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Those names are not available to him. Cotto can possibly fight Canelo later this year if Canelo chooses not to fight Gennady Golovkin. However, it’s probably too early for the two of them to face each other in a rematch. If they want to make a lot of money, it’s better for the two of them to build up the rematch by fighting other guys.
Canelo is doing just that with his fight against welterweight Amir Khan. Perhaps that’s what Cotto needs to do. Look for a welterweight like Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia or Kell Brook to fight. I think at least one of those fighters would be willing to fight Cotto at a catch-weight of 150lbs if he’s not willing to melt down to 147 to fight them.
A fight between Cotto and Kirkland would have made sense back in 2009 before Kirkland’s prison stint, but he’s not been the same fighter since he got out of prison in September 2010. The Kirkland we’ve seen since his release from prison isn’t the same fighter that we saw before he went in. It makes no sense at all for Cotto to fight Kirkland now just as it made zero sense for Canelo to fight Kirkland. According to trainer Virgil Hunter, Kirkland had to lose a tremendous amount of weight in a short period of time for his fight against Canelo.
It’s unclear whether Kirkland has put the weight on since his fight last year. What is interesting is that Kirkland hasn’t fought since the Canelo fight, and he’s now been out of the ring for the past 10 months. If he faces Cotto in June, he will have been out of the ring for over a year. That’s not good if you’re looking for a competitive fight.
I’m just wondering how many more times Cotto will be used for fights by fighters desperate for a name that the casual boxing fans can recognize. It would be better for guys like Cotto and Canelo to start helping to make other guys known by fighting the younger talented fighters with a chance of beating them like Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade or Erislandy Lara. I don’t suppose Cotto is too interested in facing any of them.