A lose-lose situation
Yes, it’s true, unfortunately.
For Cotto, who has made it clear that 2017 will be his final year in the sport of boxing, this is more of a gold watch ceremony than fight. No, it’s not that Ali isn’t a competent pro but the fact is he is a career welterweight, who is now moving up to face Cotto (who won the vacant WBO 154-pound title by defeating Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26). In his most notable outing, Ali was stopped in nine rounds by Jessie Vargas in March of 2016, as he fought for a welterweight title.
There was some talk of Cotto facing unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on this particular date but a monkey wrench was thrown into those plans when Golovkin had to settle for a draw against Saul Alvarez on September 16. With the robust business that pay-per-view event did, well, the focus is now on making GGG-Canelo Alvarez II for next year.
According to Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, James Kirkland, Errol Spence Jr. and Lucas Matthysse either declined this opportunity to face Cotto or simply were not available. There are rumors that Garcia could be facing Brandon Rios in the upcoming months and Spence and Peterson are being linked for a possible hook-up in December, while the rest of the beltholders at junior middleweight are fighting this weekend at the Barclays Center, in Brooklyn, on a card broadcast on Showtime.
However, eventually the focus centered squarely on Mikey Garcia, who had made it clear on Twitter that he would be willing to face Cotto, even though he has only fought as high as junior welterweight (which was his most recent bout last July, against Adrien Broner). A couple of weeks ago, Garcia and his brother/co-trainer Robert were at the Golden Boy Promotions offices, meeting with Gomez to discuss things.
Sources say Garcia and GBP have had on-and-off discussions the past several months about various fights. Also under the Golden Boy banner are fellow lightweight beltholder Jorge Linares. Garcia, who sat on the sidelines for over two years from 2014 to 2016, as he battled to extricate himself from Top Rank, is now aligned with Al Haymon and the Premier Boxing Champions (who have staged his last few fights since his return to the ring last summer).
But this much was clear from the very beginning: While Garcia had made it clear that he wanted to retain his independence, Golden Boy simply wasn’t going to do a one-off with him. And this would be the crux of what eventually made this union untenable.
Garcia simply wasn’t willing to do a multi-fight pact and Golden Boy wouldn’t budge on its end. Word is they wanted a three-fight option on Garcia, attached to a Cotto fight. Garcia simply wanted an one-off and Gomez made it clear, from the beginning, that wouldn’t be amenable on their end.
It has to be noted that what Garcia wants is not unprecedented but only entities with economic leverage and market value have really been able to pull it off. As of now, Garcia is no Sugar Ray Leonard and he certainly doesn’t have a Mike Trainer by his side. For as talented as he is, he is not a big attraction. Perhaps a full-time (non) sham promoter is what he needs at the moment.
Golden Boy believed they were on the verge of an agreement with Garcia last week but as he consulted with Haymon, he changed course. Perhaps Haymon, who didn’t want another Danny Jacobs-like defection, did all he could to keep Garcia in the fold on his side of the street.
So Golden Boy is stuck with a fight that is not being well-received (to put it mildly) by the media and fans and it will certainly be a very tough sell in New York (which has a plethora of boxing in the upcoming weeks and months). Now HBO is stuck with a broadcast that is more about a fighter than a fight.
As for Garcia? Well, who knows? There are rumors of a unification bout at lightweight versus IBF beltholder Robert Easter Jr.. But, as of now, there is no set date for Garcia’s return to the ring.
Here, everyone loses.
First and foremost, the fans.
SOUTH FLORIDA FLURRIES
According to “El Presidente” Gomez, the WBO has ordered a fight between its middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux (who is handled by GBP). Gomez says he will try to work out a deal with Frank Warren…Jim Lampley has signed a new five-year deal to continue his relationship/employment at HBO…The Vasyl Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux fight at the Theater at MSG is now a sell-out, according to Top Rank…Fidel Maldonado Jr.-Ismael Barroso could be a fun fight, on ESPN Deportes, this Friday night…So it’s going to be raining all week in Miami/South Florida? That’s a buzzkill. (I’m going to be out there, starting Wednesday afternoon.)…And yes, I am going to the Miami-Georgia Tech game on Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium…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.