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Mikey Garcia waiting on Miguel Cotto to decide on Dec. fight

By Dan Ambrose: Lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) is still in the running for a December 2 fight against WBO World junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs). Mikey, 29, is waiting for Cotto to decide whether he wants to fight him or one of the other options he has.

Cotto is expected to make his decision which direction he wants to go for his December fight in the next few days, according to Garcia’s brother Robert Garcia.

Golden Boy Promotions are interested in matching Cotto against former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux, who they co-promote. There’s also a slim chance that IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC 160 lb. champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) could face Cotto if his promoter Tom Loeffler can’t set up a rematch against the popular Mexican fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for May 5, 2018.

Cotto vs. Mikey Garcia is not great fight, but it might not matter. Cotto has taken a lot of easy fights in the past, especially with his recent contest against Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26. If HBO is willing to green light a fight between Cotto and Garcia, then it’s on them. Cotto vs. Golovkin or Lemieux are clearly bigger fights. It comes down to whether Cotto wants to take a big risk for what is supposed to be his final fight of his 16-year-old career.

Garcia showed recently that his power doesn’t carry to the 140 lb. division in his win over Adrien Broner. Garcia would be much too weak to compete against Cotto at 154.It would be an event fight like Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor, except that Mikey has boxing skills and he’s not highly popular like McGregor. Cotto would be a huge favorite over Garcia based on size, power and experience at 154.

”As of a fight in December, we have a couple options,” said Mikey’s brother/trainer Robert Garcia to Fighthub. ”I think we’re waiting the next couple of days for [Miguel] Cotto to make a decision — Cotto has other options so it all depends on what Cotto wants to do. It’s up to Cotto right now.”

Cotto would be putting himself in a no win situation if he fights Mikey Garcia instead of a credible guy from the 154 or 160 lb. division. If Cotto destroys the much thinner Garcia, he won’t get credit. It would be like when Golovkin stopped Kell Brook in the 5th round. The boxing public raved about how Brook was able to make it to the 5th round and land some shots in the 2nd round. Golovkin didn’t any credit for breaking Brook’s eye socket with a big shot in the 1st round, and beating him until he stopped fighting back in the 5th round.

The only thing the boxing fans could talk about after is how Brook had some moments in the fight before he stopped fighting in the 5th and had to be pulled out by his trainer Dominic Ingle. Cotto has a tough decision to make. If he fights Lemieux, he would likely need to drain him down to 155 lbs. for a catch-weight fight for him to have a chance of winning.

If Cotto fights Lemieux at the full weight for the middleweight division, he could get badly hurt by him. Lemieux is a huge puncher, and Cotto would be at a great risk of being knocked clean out unless he made him agree to a strict catch-weight. Cotto could forget about getting Golovkin to agree to a catch-weight, because that wouldn’t happen, period. Lemieux and Cotto would be a great fight. It’s not too often that Cotto goes into a fight as an underdog. If he fought Lemieux, there’s a good chance he’d be the underdog against the Canadian unless he has a catch-weight and/or a rehydration clause in the contract to limit how much weight Lemieux can gain back after the weigh-in.

Golovkin refuses to use catch-weights for his fights. He says he would only go down to 154 for a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. For any other guy like Canelo or Cotto, they can only fight him at 160.

“If Cotto picked Lemieux then I think we’re going to fight another fight in December, a week or two after, maybe a unification fight, maybe the other one, from Ohio, Robert Easter,” said Robert Garcia in talking about Mikey’s options. ”If it’s not Cotto, Mikey wants to fight the best out there, so all that is a possibility. But as of now we’re waiting on Cotto,” said Robert Garcia.

The way that Mikey looked against Broner, I think he would lose to Robert Easter Jr. That’s a bad match-up for Mikey. Easter Jr. is really tall at 5’10”, he can punch, and he’s not fragile-chinned. Easter Jr. can take a good shot to the chin without getting hurt, and he’s not easy to hit due to his height and long reach. The 5’6” Mikey had it easy in his last fight against the much shorter 5’4” Dejan Zlaticanin in their fight earlier this year on January 28. Zlaticanin had to take shots each time he wanted to come in punching range. Eventually his lack of height led Zlaticanin in getting knocked out in the 3rd round.

“Cotto’s as tall as Mikey, or maybe about the same,” said Robert Garcia. ”Maybe a little bit smaller. I think Mikey has 1 inch reach advantage against Cotto, so it’s not that we’re going to fight one of those solid junior middleweights out there. You know, it’s a guy that’s also been moving up in weight from 135 to 140, eventually now a 154 pounder. So I like the fight,” said Robert.

Mikey would have to really bulk up in a major way to avoid getting embarrassed by Cotto, and I don’t think it would be possible for him to put on the kind of weight that he would need to by December 2 for him to have a chance against the Puerto Rican fighter. Cotto, 5’7”, is 1 inch taller than Mikey, and he’s grown into the 154 lb. and is a legitimate junior middleweight. Cotto isn’t a pumped up 154 lb. fighter. He grew into the division, and he’s one of the harder punchers in that weight class.

I don’t think Cotto is as good as some of the younger and bigger fighters at 154 like Jermell Charlo, Erickson Lubin, Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara or Austin Trout. Cotto is a good fighter, but he’s more of a second level talent rather being on the same level as the above mentioned fighters. Those guys would be heaps of trouble for an aging short fighter like Cotto. He’s obviously wise enough not to fight those guys after his bad experience in losing to Trout in 2012.

”Mikey said he won’t even ask for a catch-weight,” said Robert Garcia about the Cotto fight. ”Mikey will let him come in at 154. Of course, Mikey is not going to come in at 154. Mikey will come in under 150, you know, but Mikey wants the fight. If Cotto picks Mikey, then [our next fight] is going to be against Cotto,” said Robert.

It’s pretty obvious that Mikey wouldn’t get the fight with Cotto if he insisted on fighting at a catch-weight of 150. Mikey doesn’t have the popularity to negotiate for a catch-weight against Cotto. Of course, Mikey can certainly ask Cotto to give him a handicap of coming in at 150 or below just to hear what he’d say, but I think it would be a waste of time for him to do so. Cotto will likely see himself as the A-side, and he has no reason for him to meet Mikey halfway between 147 and 154 for a fight. It’s one thing if Mikey was a huge pay-per-view attraction like Floyd Mayweather Jr., but he obviously isn’t. Even Mayweather chose not to fight Cotto at a catch-weight when he fought him in 2012. Mayweather went up to 154 to take the fight with Cotto because he wanted full credit for beating him without excuses from him or his fans. The boxing public might have diminished Mayweather’s win over Cotto if he had insisted on a catch-weight handicap for him to take the fight.

“It’s a tough fight. We were talking about it with my dad yesterday and Cotto’s always been one of our favorite fighters,” said Robert Garcia. ”His skills, the way he fights, he’s a helluva fighter, so it won’t be an easy fight. But Mikey wants those challenges. If It’s not Cotto, then Mikey wants to fight Easter. Mikey doesn’t want them to just pick an easy win,” said Robert.

Mikey will increase his popularity fighting Cotto, as long as he doesn’t get beaten too badly. I don’t think for a second Mikey will win. This is basically just a fight to raise Mikey’s profile by having him be seen by a lot of casual boxing fans for the first time. Easter Jr. would jump at the chance to fight Mikey, especially after the way he looked recently against Adrien Broner in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision last summer on July 29 on Showtime. Mikey fought well for 6 rounds, and then he got tired, stopped punching and started moving a lot. Mikey got tired in the same way in his fight with Orlando Salido in 2013. That fight was halted after Mikey suffered a broken nose from a head-butt in the 8th round.

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