Cotto’s best options for next fight
By Dan Ambrose: Former four division world champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) still hasn’t scheduled a fight this year. The 35-year-old Cotto’s last fight was against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez last November. Cotto lost that fight by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision on HBO pay-per-view.
The fight was a lot closer than the scores handed down by the judges. Cotto’s best options for his next fight are a rematch with Canelo or a fight against 42-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez. However, it’s still unclear whether Cotto will fight at all in 2016. It would be in Cotto’s best interest to fight this year if he wants to stay sharp, but it’s unclear whether he will or not.
Since Cotto doesn’t want to take a tremendous pay cut from his last fight, it means he’s got to fight popular fighters like Canelo or Marquez if he wants to make sure that he gets the most money possible. What we saw in Cotto’s fight against Canelo is that he’s not a middleweight. He was far too small against Canelo, who looked like he was well into the 170s if not the 180s for that fight.
Cotto’s previous wins at middleweight were against an old and hobbled Sergio Martinez and an arguably past his best Daniel Geale. It doesn’t make sense for Cotto to remain at 160, and it’s understood that he won’t even attempt to remain in that weight class. Never the less, Cotto is still too small to fight in the 154lb division.
If you put Cotto in with the very best fighters in the junior middleweight division like the Charlo brothers, Demetrius Andrade, Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout, he’s going to be too small for those fighters and will likely lose badly to them. Cotto can fight WBO 154lb champion Liam Smith if he wants to win an easy belt, but Smith isn’t highly thought of by a lot of the hardcore boxing fans, many of which see him as a paper champion.
If Cotto fights Smith, he’ll just look like he’s hand-picking an easy mark to win an easy title. Cotto hasn’t improved since his 12 round decision loss to Trout in December 2012. Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach did a great job of building him up in the media as having been improved, thanks to his own efforts as a trainer. Nevertheless, the reality is far different from what Roach says, as we saw in Cotto’s loss to Canelo.
We saw in that fight that Cotto is still the same fighter that he was before Roach emerged onto the scene as his trainer. The only difference that we’ve seen since Roach joined with Cotto is he’s matched more carefully now, and not put in with guys that can beat him over and over again like we saw in the past. Cotto probably isn’t even as good as he was in 2012. How can he be? He’s four years older, and has more wear and tear on him, even though he hasn’t exactly been the busiest of fighters in that time frame.
Cotto has fought only six times in the last four years. Cotto has been a part-time fighter and should have fought at least 12 times during the last four years. That’s how it goes with aging fighters. You get the gradual disengagement with the sport with them becoming part-time fighters, slowly losing their skills because of that, and then eventually taking a bad loss due to the combination of inactivity and age.
Cotto probably can’t make 147 anymore, and I doubt he would even try. However, Cotto could do what Canelo is doing by staying close to 147, and dragging lighter/beatable welterweights up in weight so that he can beat them and look good. Cotto could fight someone like Tim Bradley at 154 or Danny Garcia. I don’t think Cotto would attempt to fight the winner of the Keith Thurman vs. Shawn Porter fight, or someone like Jessie Vargas, Kell Brook or Errol Spence. Those would be tough fights for him, and he might wind up losing to them. The money wouldn’t likely be as good as it would if he fought someone beatable like Bradley.
If Cotto just wants a big payday, he can wait until Canelo is free, and then get a rematch against him. It would give Canelo an excuse for why he doesn’t need to fight Gennady Golovkin. Cotto obviously wouldn’t fight Golovkin himself because it would likely end badly for him with Golovkin chopping him apart and stopping him.