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Cotto vs. Kamegai possible for 6/24; Lomachenko-Sosa ratings – News

Miguel Cotto Vasiliy Lomachenko

By Dan Ambrose: Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) is being talked about returning to the ring on June 24 against possibly 34-year-old #10 WBA, #12 WBO, #13 WBC junior middleweight Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs). Cotto hasn’t fought in a 1 ½ years since losing to Saul Canelo Alvarez by a 12 round decision in November 2015. Cotto, 36, took 2016 off from boxing. He probably would have fought if he could have gotten a fight against 43-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez, but he wasn’t able to negotiate the fight.

Cotto’s June fight will almost surely be televised on HBO. The question is would HBO televise Cotto vs. Kamegai on pay-per-view? It’s a not a great fight for PPV, as Kamegai is not a big name, and he’s not well known to the casual boxing fans in the U.S. The fans that do know of Kamegai remember him losing to Robert Guerrero, and struggling to beat journeyman Jesus Soto Karass after fighting to a draw with him in their first fight. Kamegai is technically a fringe contender at 154, but he’s probably 1 or 2 losses away from being knocked out of the 1st tier.

“We’re having conversations with Peter (Nelson) and HBO,” said Cotto’s promoter Michael Yormack of Roc Nation Sports to . “We’re trying to look at a couple of fights down the road, get him back in the ring in June and then hopefully a big fight in the fall and we hope to have something resolved and announced in the next 10 days to two weeks.”

The big fight in the fall for Cotto will likely be a rematch with Golden Boy Promotions’ fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for December. That’s a fight that Canelo and Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya both want, because it will likely be the last fight of Cotto’s 16-year pro career. He’s supposed to be retiring after this year. The Canelo-Cotto fight brought in 900,000 PPV buys on HBO in 2015. For that reason, Canelo and Golden Boy are going to be surely working hard to make the Canelo-Cotto rematch.

There’s money to be made in a rematch between the two catch-weight stars. In the meantime, it looks as if Cotto will be taking an easy fight against possibly Kamegai if the fight can get made. It’s a terrible fight if Cotto and Roc Nation are hoping to get a lot of PPV buys on HBO. It would be better if Cotto took on a real name, but there’s too much risk for him if he fights someone good at 154. After all, Cotto was soundly beaten by Austin Trout six years ago in 2011. Cotto is probably not close to where he was at physically and skill-wise when he lost to Trout.

Yormark says Kamegai is “being strongly considered.”

Cotto has done a lousy job of getting the most of the last part of his career. It’s all well and good that Cotto has had so many good fights during his career, but there are a lot of good fights that he could have had in the last few years. One of them is Gennady Golovkin. A lot of boxing fans wanted to see Cotto face Golovkin, but he instead chose to fight Sergio Martinez, Daniel Geale and Canelo Alvarez. That’s one good fighter in the last 3. If Cotto faces Kamegai, it would be another soft fight for him.

Cotto was going to fight James Kirkland last February on HBO PPV, but the fight fell through after Kirkland suffered a nose injury and had to pull out of the fight. That was a bad fight too, as Kirkland is no longer a top fighter at this point in his career. The boxing fans rarely see Kirkland fight, and it was an odd choice for Cotto and his management to select Kirkland instead of a relevant from this era.

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jason Sosa brings in big ratings on HBO

Last Saturday’s fight between WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs) and Jason Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs) averaged 832,000 viewers with a peak of 886,000 viewers on HBO World Championship Boxing on April 8 at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Lomachenko won the fight by a 9th round stoppage. The ratings represented an increase of 9% for Lomachenko on HBO for his previous fight against Nicholas Walters on November 26 last year on HBO in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lomachenko showed the boxing fans last Saturday night that he’s the best fighter in the sport. Andre “SOG” Ward is Ring Magazine’s No.1 pound-for-pound fighter, but that’s just an organization. The fans as a whole appear to view Lomachenko as the best. Ring Magazine also has Saul Canelo Alvarez as their middleweight champion instead of Gennady Golovkin despite the fact that the redheaded star gave up his WBC middleweight title to avoid him last year.

Lomachenko’s ratings increase on HBO show that he’s becoming more popular with the boxing public in the same way that Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) is with his own huge ratings. Lomachenko still has a ways to go before he brings in the huge ratings that we see from other fighters, but he’s progressing nicely with his career. If Lomachenko can keep moving up with his ratings, Top Rank Promotions will have a star on their hands.

Lomachenko needs to move up to lightweight if he wants to become a bigger name. There’s not much more Lomachenko can do in the super featherweight division due to the lack of big names for him to fight. Lomachenko is interested in moving to lightweight to fight WBC champion Mikey Garcia. That fight could happen late this year or in 2018. Lomachenko has a tremendous upside in his career if he can move up to the 135lb division and beat the likes of Mikey Garcia, Terry Flanagan and Jorge Linares.

The boxing world would really like to see Lomachenko take those fights. However, Lomachenko will not likely be moving up to the 140lb division to take on WBA/WBC light welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford. Lomachenko’s management is reportedly cool to the idea of him moving up to light welterweight to face the 29-year-old Crawford, and it’s understandable. Crawford rehydrates to almost 160 for his fights in the 140lb division. He’s basically already a welterweight in size. It would be too much of a weight advantage for Crawford if he fought Lomachenko.

In the Lomachenko-Sosa undercard last Saturday, light heavyweight contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk’s fight with Yunieski Gonzalez brought in a peak of 702,000 viewers on HBO with an average of 690,000. Gonzalez beat the hard hitting Gonzalez by a 3rd round knockout in the best performance of the night. Those are respectable numbers for a fighter that isn’t that well known in Gvozdyk, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist from Ukraine. Gvozdyk is a fighter that could be challenging for a world title in the near future against Andre Ward or Sergey Kovalev. Gvozdyk can’t afford to wait on WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson because it might take too many years before he gets a crack at his title.

In the first fight of the televised portion of the HBO card, WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk’s title defense against Michael Hunter averaged 679,000 viewers with a peak of 774,000 viewers. Usyk won the fight by a thrilling 12 round unanimous decision with a lot of back and forth action. This was a big increase in ratings for the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk from Ukaine, as it was a 21% increase from his previous fight against Thabiso Mchunu in December last year on HBO Boxing.

Usyk is another fighter that is moving upwards in becoming a big name in the U.S. He could be another Golovkin if he can unify the cruiserweight division and then move up to heavyweight in the near future. There’s a lot of ifs involved with Usyk’s career because he’s just starting out, and he’s not a huge puncher. Usyk is more of a boxer/puncher, and he’s going to need to prove that he can beat the other cruiserweight champions Mairis Briedis, Beibut Shumenov, Denis Lebedev and Murat Gassiev.

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