Kirkland injured, Cotto fight off

By Boxing News - 02/02/2017 - Comments

Image: Kirkland injured, Cotto fight off

By Dan Ambrose: James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) has reportedly suffered an injury and his scheduled February 25 fight against Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) is now off, according to Dan Rafael. Kirkland and Cotto were supposed to be fighting on HBO pay-per-view at the Ford Center at the Star, in Frisco, Texas.

There’s no word what kind of injury the 32-year-old Kirkland suffered and how the injury occurred. It’s unclear how the ticket sales have gone for the fight. It’s not a fight that a lot of the hardcore boxing fans were excited about, as Kirkland hasn’t fought in two years since being knocked out in the 3rd round by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2015.

It was a weird choice to begin with Cotto to fight Kirkland of all people, and now the fight is said to be off. It remains to be seen if this is just a postponement or a full cancellation of the fight.

“Per source with knowledge of the situation, Cotto-Kirkland is off. I’m told it’s an injury to Kirkland. #boxing,” said Rafael on his Twitter.

Injuries obviously occur. You can help yourself by choosing opposition that fights on a regular basis rather than fighters that stay out of the ring years at a time. Cotto vs. Kirkland was a risky fight to begin with, as neither fighter fights that often any longer. Both guys are in their 30s, and you know how that goes when fighters start to age.

If Cotto and Kirkland choose to reschedule, it’ll be interesting to see when the fight does wind up taking place. Canelo has May 6 already nailed down for HBO pay-per-view with his fight against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Does HBO have a date for the Cotto-Kirkland fight or does it matter? It’s really not a great fight.

It’s one that will depend largely on Cotto’s loyal fans wanting to pay to see him fight regardless of who he’s fighting. Some of the older casual boxing fans might still remember Kirkland from many years ago when he was a contender that was going someplace with his career.

If Cotto has an option of pulling out of the fight, then this might be his opportunity. I’m not sure that the boxing public will be too broken up if they can’t see Cotto fight Kirkland. I think many of the boxing fans would prefer to see Cotto fight guys like the Charlo brothers, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, Julian Williams and Demetrius Andrade rather than Kirkland. In other words, the fans would like to see Cotto fight relevant fighters from this day and age.

Kirkland’s injury is said to be a fractured nose. With the fight being only three weeks away, it’s not enough time for Kirkland’s broken nose to heal in time for him to face the former four division world champion Cotto on HBO PPV.

In a press release from Roc Nation Sports, they’re saying the Cotto-Kirkland fight is canceled. They’re not saying it’s going to be postponed. This is pretty big news for boxing fan, because it suggests that the fight won’t be rescheduled. Canceled usually means the fight is off rather than postponed. Now the big question is whether

the ticket and pay-per-view sales were underwhelming for the fight? Were the fans not interested in the Cotto vs. Kirkland fight? It would be interesting to know.

If Cotto is going to fight someone else, he’s got plenty of takers that would take the fight starting with Kell Brook. His promoter Eddie Hearn said this week that he’d like to make the fight against Cotto. If they can make that fight, Hearn would likely talk Brook into dropping his IBF welterweight title to avoid the Errol Spence Jr. fight.

Cotto needs a stay busy fight to keep him sharp for his December rematch against Saul Canelo Alvarez. It’s not likely that Cotto is going to want to take anyone dangerous while he waits for the second Canelo fight, which is why it makes sense for Cotto to fight a welterweight rather than a top fighter from the 154 or 160lb divisions.

Cotto is a good fighter, but he’s probably not good enough to be counted on to beat the top fighters from the junior middleweight or middleweight divisions. Cotto says he’s not a middleweight, which is obviously true, but he would have problems with the size and youth of some of the top fighters in the 154lb division. Those guys are middleweight sized fighters.

Cotto can do better than Kirkland if he wants to fight someone else in the next few months. That was always going to be a tough ask for Cotto to try and get boxing fans to purchase his fight against Kirkland on HBO PPV. What would hurt that fight from doing well is the fact that Kirkland looked so poor in losing his last fight to Canelo.

If Kirkland had given Canelo problems and almost beaten him, then you could say that it was a good choice to pick him as an opponent. Kirkland didn’t do well, and the boxing fans failed to get excited about him being Cotto’s next opponent.

Cotto would do well to fight one of these welterweights next:

Kell Brook

Manny Pacquiao

Danny Garcia

Keith Thurman

Shawn Porter

Andre Berto

Victor Ortiz

Jessie Vargas

One of these fighters would be the perfect choice for Cotto to fight. Pacquiao would obviously be the ideal opponent for Cotto, because the two fighters have history after facing each other back in 2009. Pacquiao stopped Cotto in a catch-weight fight. The problem with Cotto and Pacquiao fighting each other a second time is finding a weight they could agree on. Pacquiao probably wouldn’t want to fight Cotto at 154, and I doubt that the two fighters would agree at a catch-weight of 150lbs.

It would be hard for Cotto to get down to 150. But for the right amount of money, I think they could agree on the weight. It would be a good fight if they could make it. The other options for Cotto would be Brook if they could stage the fight in the UK in front of a large audience. Cotto might be willing to take that fight. There would be a lot of British boxing fans that would want to see it. Cotto vs. Andre Berto might not be an upgrade on the Cotto-Kirkland fight. Berto hasn’t done much with his career since losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015.