Spence and Mikey Garcia turned down Cotto fight
By Dan Ambrose: Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and lightweight belt holder Mikey Garcia both reportedly rejected an offer to fight WBO junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) for his final fight of his career on December 2 at Madison Square Garden, in New York.
Mikey is said to have turned down the fight with Cotto, 36, because Golden Boy Promotions, his promoters, wanted options on him. It’s unclear why Spence turned down the fight with Cotto. Spence fights on Showtime Boxing. That might have been a stumbling block. Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson and James Kirkland were also guys that were possibilities for Cotto’s December 2 fight, according to RingTV.com.
Cotto was scheduled to fight Kirkland earlier this year in February, but he pulled out of the fight after suffering a fractured nose training. Cotto’s management must have been really desperate to try and go back to scheduling the fight with Kirkland. You would think that they had learned from the experience.
A fight against Kirkland would have made sense 8 years ago when he was fighting frequently and well thought of by boxing fans. But in the 8 years, Kirkland has dropped off the map and is rarely seen in the ring. Cotto vs. Kirkland likely would have done poor ratings on HBO. The older hardcore boxing fans know Kirkland, but not the younger fans and the casual fans. Kirkland hasn’t been active enough.
The fighter that will be facing Cotto on the December 2 date is fringe welterweight contender Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 KOs). HBO Championship Boxing will televise the Cotto-Ali fight. The undercard for the fight is still yet to be determined. Former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux was originally scheduled to fight on the December 2 card, but his management pulled him off of the card. They plan on having Lemieux fight on December 16 in a headliner fight on HBO.
Lemieux wanted to fight Cotto on the December 2 card. Once it was clear that Cotto was looking to go small by selecting a fringe level welterweight in Sadam Ali, there was no point in Lemieux staying on the card. It would look strange for a fighter as good as Lemieux to be fighting in the co-feature bout while Cotto faces the recently knocked out welterweight Sadam Ali in the main event. Ali was knocked out in the 9th round by Jessie Vargas on March 5, 2016.
Spence could be fighting Lamont Peterson in December or January. It would be the first defense of Spence’s IBF welterweight title that he won on May 27 of this year in defeating Kell Brook by an 11th round knockout at Bramall Lane.
Mikey Garcia is interested in facing WBA lightweight champion Jorge Linares in a unification fight in early 2018. If that fight can’t get made, then Garcia, 29, would like to fight WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan in a fight in the UK. Garcia is said to have reached out to Flanagan’s promoter Frank Warren to see if he can arrange that fight. You would have to consider it a long shot for Mikey to get a fight against Flanagan. That’s not a realistic option. If Flanagan is going to fight anyone talented, it would likely be Anthony Crolla or Ricky Burns. Mikey is too dangerous right now. Besides that, Mikey isn’t as well-known with British boxing fans as Crolla, Linares and Burns. Those are winnable fights for Flanagan. Mikey recently moved up to light welterweight to fight Adrien Broner on July 29 last summer. It was an easy 12 round decision win for Mikey over a depleted looking Broner. There are a lot of opportunities for Mikey in the 140 lb. division. With a lot of interesting fights available to Miley at 140 and 147, it’s strange that he would be trying to arrange fights at 135. It might be a waste of Mikey’s time to try and get Linares and Flanagan in the ring.
Cotto couldn’t fight top 154 lb. fighters Jarred Hurd, Erislandy Lara, Erickson Lubin and Jermell Charlo, as they’re all fighting this Saturday night on Showtime Boxing. Still, Demerius Andrade, Julian Williams or Kell Brook would have been good options for Cotto. Any one of those fighters would have been an excellent choice for Cotto to fight instead of Sadam Ali. At least those fighters are fighting in the junior middleweight division, and are big enough and powerful enough to give Cotto a real fight. Sadam Ali is not a big puncher, and he’s not likely to ever go far in the 147 lb. division. Ali was a good – but not great – amateur fighter, but at the pro level, he’s far apart from the skill level of the top guys at 147.
HBO are the ones that will be televising Cotto’s December 2 fight. I guess it doesn’t matter to them if Cotto faces Ali. It’s too bad though. Cotto’s previous fight on that network, a mismatch against Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26, was hard to watch due to the one-sided nature of the fight. Kamegai looked like a journeyman that didn’t belong in the same ring with Cotto. It was so one-sided that it was not interesting to watch. The World Boxing Organization had Kamegai rated No.6 with their organization, ranking him above Erickson Lubin. It was obvious from the opening seconds of the fight that the WBO had given Kamegai a ranking that clearly didn’t deserve. It was believed by some boxing fans that Cotto would make up for the poor fight with Kamegai by facing a quality fighter on HBO for his December fight. It was hoped that Cotto would fight Lemieux, Saul Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin. But it appears that Lemieux was never seriously considered for the fight with Cotto, and Canelo and Golovkin couldn’t take the fight. Cotto vs. Ali is not a great fight for a main event on HBO. It’s arguably a similar fight to Cotto’s recent match against Kamegai. Ali’s ability to take heavy shots is questionable. In that respect, Cotto-Ali could be a worse contest than Cotto-Kamegai.
With Sadam Ali having verbally agreed to the Cotto fight, it means the Puerto Rican star’s chances of ending his career on a positive note is extremely high. Cotto’ will be remembered for his fights against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Antonio Margarito, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Sergio Martinez, Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao. Cotto lost to Mayweather, Margarito, Canelo and Pacquiao. Cotto would beat an injured Sergio Martinez, Yuri Foreman and Margarito.