Cotto interested in Marquez fight after Kirkland

By Boxing News - 01/22/2017 - Comments

Image: Cotto interested in Marquez fight after Kirkland

By Dan Ambrose: Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) is reportedly interested in facing 43-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) in his next fight after he faces James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) on February 25 on HBO PPV from the Ford Center at The Star, in Frisco, Texas.

This would be part of Cotto’s last fights of his career, as he plans on retiring at the end of 2017. Cotto is expected to fight Saul Canelo Alvarez in December on HBO PPV. Cotto already lost to Marquez a year a half ago in November 2015, and he hasn’t fought since that time. Marquez hasn’t fought in almost 3 years.

Why Cotto would want to fight a ring rusty fighter like Marquez rather than one of the top fighters in the 154lb division would seem obvious. Marquez is more popular with the hardcore boxing fans than the bigger, stronger, and younger fighters like Jermall Charlo. More importantly, Cotto stands a better chance of beating Marquez than he would against Charlo.

Marquez spent much of his career fighting in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions. Him moving up to fight a junior middleweight like Cotto would put him at a great disadvantage, especially with him coming off of a long layoff and a knee problem, which may not be entirely as good as new.

Cotto said this to ESPN’s ‘Blow to Bash’ program last Friday about him possibly facing the 43-year-old Marquez after Kirkland:

“The cards are on the table, the fight with Juan Manuel is very viable, a fight that can become a reality, a fight that can become, what remains is to agree, sit at the same table and put on Agreement as to the points of the fight,” Cotto said.

It’s pretty important that Cotto not lose his next two fights against Kirkland and whoever comes after him. Cotto needs to keep winning so that he can get the rematch with Canelo without a loss in between then. I still think Golden Boy Promotions will make the Canelo vs. Cotto fight even if the Puerto Rican fighter loses to Kirkland and/or the next opponent.

Marquez has been involved in some big money fights in the past against Manny Pacquiao in facing him four times. Pacquiao made a lot of money in his fights against Marquez, as they pulled in a lot of PPV buys on HBO. However, it’s been years since Marquez has fought, and he might not be able to help Cotto bring in a lot of PPV buys at this point in his career. It would depend on the casual boxing fans knowing who he is, and still wanting to see him.

If the fans don’t care that Marquez has been out of the ring for 3 years, then maybe Cotto can bring in a lot of buys on PPV and win an easy fight based on his size, health, and power advantage. You can argue that the Marquez that beat Pacquiao in 2012 would have beaten Cotto at any point in his career. Marquez is simply a better fighter than Cotto in terms of boxing skills, but he’s been out of the ring for so many years.

Even in 2013, Marquez was not the same fighter he’d been against Pacquiao in their four fights together. In Marquez’s last fight against Mike Alvarado in 2014, he was dropped in that fight. Marquez was giving up a lot of size and power to Alvarado. Marquez still won, but he suffered a knee injury that has kept him out of the ring ever since.

Marquez said this to ESPN’s ‘Blow to Bash’ program about his interest in a fight against Cotto:

“An interesting fight, a good opportunity, a great legacy of Miguel Cotto, would be an important factor,” said Marquez. “I have always insisted how I feel, we are well, we are training, not hundred percent, but we are training. It is not the same now. You have to think about whether you can do that fight in health and for the fans of boxing, I want to make a competitive fight, “said Marquez.

I think it would be very hard for Marquez to perform at a high level against a fighter like Cotto. Marquez has not been fighting, and he might not be in the best of health if his knee isn’t 100 percent. I would like to think that Marquez wouldn’t come back if his knee wasn’t fully back. We saw how bad Sergio Martinez looked when he fought Cotto in 2014 with his surgically repaired right knee looking unstable and wobbly. Cotto easily won the fight by a 10th round knockout. A lot of boxing fans think Sergio Martinez would have made easy work of Cotto if he had fought him two years earlier in 2012 before he suffered a knee injury in his fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. it would be a pity if Marquez chooses to fight Cotto with a knee problem as well. Cotto also fought Yuri Foreman in 2010. Foreman had a knee injury as well, and Cotto easily won that fight. Marquez would be the third opponent in the last seven years that Cotto has fought with knee problems.

I think a lot of the boxing fans would prefer to see Cotto fight someone young and either highly ranked or a world champion at 154 rather than seeing Marquez getting the fight against him. It looks too much like a cherry picking move if Cotto goes from fighting an over-matched Kirkland to fighting the older, smaller, weaker and totally inactive Marquez next. Cotto is already facing a tune-up level opponent in his next fight against Kirkland. He doesn’t need another guy that he totally dominate in Marquez. That’s not to say that Marquez isn’t a skilled fighter. He was a very good fighter. Marquez’s inactivity in the last three years, his health, size, power and advanced age would put him at a serious disadvantage against Cotto. I don’t think it would be a fair fight.