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Cotto vs. Bradley or Kirkland possible for December


James DeGale Latest Miguel Cotto Timothy Bradley

By Dan Ambrose: Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) is still looking to lockdown an opponent for his next fight in December. The two options that are being talked about for the 35-year-old Cotto right now is James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) and Tim Bradley (32-2-1, 13 KOs).

Yuriorkis Gamboa recently revealed that he’s a possibility too for Cotto’s next fight on HBO pay-per-view, but that’s just so hard to believe that the former four division world champion would go that route in selecting a super featherweight to fight. However, Cotto has shown interest recently in fighting former featherweight Juan Manuel Marquez and former WBA lightweight champion Brand Rios.

It looks like Cotto is choosing to pick the smaller fighters rather than guys his own size at this point in his career. Kirkland is obviously not a small fighter, but he’s not an active guy or someone that is in his prime. Kirkland was a decent prospective seven years ago in 2009, but his career has done downhill since then.

“There has been talks with Kirkland camp. That’s a horrible fight for PPV. I liked what Monica Bradley told me yesterday — that Tim wants that fight in December,” said Dan Rafael of ESPN about Cotto’s next fight in December.

The 32-year-old Bradley is a real surprise as one of the possibilities for Cotto, because he’s very small at 5’6 1/2”, and he doesn’t have much in the way of punching power. Bradley also badly lost his last fight to Manny Pacquiao last April in losing a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 116-110, 116-110 and 116-110.

It’s not just that Bradley lost the fight so badly to Pacquiao that makes him a poor option for Cotto, it’s the fact that the fight didn’t bring in good pay-per-view numbers on HBO PPV. Since Cotto wants to fight on HBO in his next fight, it makes sense that he faces someone that is at least popular enough for the boxing public to want to purchase the fight.

If the fans didn’t want to see Pacquiao fight Bradley last April, then it makes sense to conclude that the fans won’t want to see Cotto turn around and fight Bradley too next December. As Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

For Cotto make the same mistake that Pacquiao did by fighting Bradley on HBO pay-per-view last April, it just seems like he’s asking for trouble. A fight between Bradley and Kirkland is far worse, however.

Kirkland hasn’t fought since being knocked out in the 3rd round by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez last year in May 2015. Before that fight, Kirkland hadn’t fought since 2013. He’s no longer an active fighter at this point in his career. He stopped fighting twice a year in 2011. Since then, Kirkland fought once in 2012, 2013 and 2015. So for the last years of Kirkland’s career, he’s fought exactly three times. That’s less than one time per year. A fight between Cotto and Kirkland would make sense if it took place in 2009, when Kirkland was a good prospect that appeared to be heading towards a world title. Kirkland’s career has never regained the momentum that it had in 2009, and at this point, I don’t think it ever will.

If Cotto wants to fight someone that will help him bring in PPV buys in December, then he needs to try and get guys like Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Terence Crawford, Danny Garcia, Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Jermall Charlo, Erislandy Lara, Gennady Golovkin or Daniel Jacobs. Those are relevant fighters. These are not small fighters that Cotto would be able to bat around the ring for 12 rounds or old guys that are fighting with a bad knee like Sergey Martinez.

I don’t know that Cotto can beat the above mentioned fighters, but if he wants to fight guys that will bring in a decent number of PPV buys on HBO, then he needs to be looking to take some risks by facing some good fighters. Kirkland was a decent fighter seven years ago.

Bradley was always a small fighter and more of a paper champion at welterweight. Bradley made his name beating Pacquiao by a controversial decision four years ago. Bradley never beat the true welterweights like Spence, Thurman, Porter, Marcos Maidana or Floyd Mayweather Jr. I don’t think Bradley would ever beat guys like that.

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