Cotto’s gonna Cotto
It was anticipated at the turn of the calendar that, in the first half of 2015, we’d see a showdown between Saul Alvarez and Miguel Cotto. Instead, “Canelo” faced James Kirkland at Minute Paid Park in Houston on May 9 and, this weekend, the Puerto Rican star headlines against Daniel Geale from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
While Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions had put their names on the dotted line, Cotto had a reported flirtation with Floyd Mayweather Jr. (who, at the time, had still yet to finalize his bout with Manny Pacquiao). During this time, he went though his second divorce with Top Rank – specifically its president, Todd duBoef – and signed a lucrative pact with Roc Nation Sports).
The move left many fans and observers of the sport upset and frustrated with Cotto.
But typically, Cotto is defiant and unapologetic for any of his moves.
He told the gathered members of the press last week at the Wild Card Boxing Club, “I’m always going to do what I’m going to do. I’m always going to do the best for my family, for me. I don’t think and I don’t care what people say about my career. The only person who dictates what happens in my career is me.”
As he’ll tell you, only Miguel Cotto can and will tell Miguel Cotto how to run his life.
The selection of Geale is interesting, given the Aussie was blasted out in three rounds by WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden last summer. In many ways, this is a no-win situation for Cotto, who is defending his WBC middleweight title he captured last summer by blasting the crippled Sergio Martinez.
“Two different fights, different opponents,” Cotto points out. “Golovkin has his own style; I have my own. I don’t have pressure on that.” Cotto, who’s always been more stoic than jovial, bristles at any side-by-side comparisons to him and Golovkin and this particular fight. “The boxing community has to ask themselves, ‘What big name Golovkin has on his record to be one of the big boxers of 160 and one of the big boxers today?'”
Well, true enough, but Cotto did choose to pick someone who was just blasted out by the highly-regarded Kazakh. This makes the selection of Geale even more curious.
“I’ve been here for eight weeks,” said Cotto, who negotiated a catchweight of 157 pounds for this contest, “just training, doing the best I can and I’m going to do the same on the night of the fight.”
It’ll be interesting to see how well this event sells. The word is that it’s struggling at the box-office. It didn’t help matters that Geale isn’t going to bring a huge fan-base and that ringside seats for this promotion were priced at $500.
Then there is the uncomfortable truth that the vast majority of fans – Puerto Ricans included – wanted Cotto to face Alvarez next. Word is HBO insisted that unless Cotto and Roc Nation Sports came to an agreement on a fall match-up with the Mexican matinee in the fall, they would not commit to showing this upcoming fight. Cotto admitted, “We believe, after this fight, we have a verbal agreement with HBO, a verbal agreement with Golden Boy Promotions, but we’ll see what happens after this fight.”
Cotto’s adviser, Gaby Penagaricano, said at this media day, last week, regarding a bout with Alvarez, “It is something we are very advanced into and I think it will most probably happen but there are a few nuts and bolts to finish.” As for why this didn’t happen immediately, he stated, “Deals, you either make them or you don’t and, at that time, we couldn’t come into a financial agreement. We already overcame that this time around.”
And there was the new alliance with Roc Nation Sports, which reportedly involves more than just boxing but concerts and clothing lines. Yes, soon it will be “Mogul” Cotto.
“I don’t want to go in-depth into that but this is professional sports and athletes will look for the best deals and Miguel got the best deal in the market,” said Penagaricano, whose statement can’t be argued. After all, this is prizefighting and, at age 34, Cotto is looking to secure his and his family’s future. He says he is now fighting for them – which, of course, begs the question: Who was he fighting for in his first 43 bouts? Fair or not, to some, this whole ordeal has tarnished Cotto’s image. Yes, even in professional sports, you can come off as almost too much of a mercenary but is there any room for nobility and loyalty when it’s about the bottom line?
Cotto has never been universally revered by the Puerto Ricans, who were perhaps more drawn to the youthful enthusiasm of Felix Trinidad and are now transitioning into the Felix Verdejo era. Both are bubbly and possess boyish charm, while Cotto is more brooding and introverted. You’ve always gotten the sense that while they like and respect the quiet man from Caguas, they don’t unconditionally love him like they have their other fistic greats.
But perhaps Cotto doesn’t really give a damn about any of that. Because like Frank Sinatra – he’s gonna do it his way.
I posed this question Sunday morning on Twitter to a lot of reaction: If Amir Khan can’t get Floyd Mayweather in the ring anytime soon, what viable excuse does he have for not facing fellow Brit Kell “Special K” Brook in the near future? In the past, Khan has been very dismissive of Brook and his credentials and what he has brought to the table, which perhaps was a legitimate point a few years ago.
But now in 2015, you have Brook, who is the reigning IBF welterweight beltholder, considered one of the elite 147-pounders out there and gaining traction as an attraction in Great Britain.
Again, nobody is saying Khan should bypass an opportunity of “Money” for Brook but, if he is left at the altar (again) by Mayweather, can you tell me another realistic welterweight fight that brings the finances of a Brook-Khan fight at, say, Wembley Stadium next spring?
Regarding this past weekend, Khan got all he could handle from the reinvented Chris Algieri, who was way out-of-character in fighting on his front foot and coming forward to pressure Khan throughout the night, landing overhand rights and digging left hooks to the body. Khan may have done enough to win on points (just my opinion but Don Ackerman’s score of 115-113 in favor of Bolton’s finest was much more in line with reality than the cards of Joseph Pasquale and Benoit Roussel, who tipped Khan at 117-111) but he had to work much harder than expected.
Brook had no problem in dispatching the undersized and outgunned Frankie Gavin in six rounds at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday.
Jorge Linares had to gut one out versus the game challenge of Kevin Mitchell on that Saturday card in London in a very good scrap. Linares retains his WBC 135-pound title…So is Anthony Joshua ready for bigger and better things after blowing out veteran survivor Kevin Johnson in two?…I found out that there are all kinds of great BBQ spots in Memphis this past week but it’s actually very difficult to get beef ribs…I’m OK with this long delay till the start of the NBA Finals as long as it means both teams are healthy…So where do I apply for a job at FIFA?…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.