May 8th, 2012
What’s Next For Miguel Cotto?

By Christopher Rubio, Being Latino

On Saturday (May 5) night, Miguel Cotto lost his WBA Junior Middleweight title (via a unanimous decision) to Floyd Mayweather Jr., the man many consider the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.

Though Mayweather was heavily favored to win (he was a 7-to-1 favorite), Cotto’s performance far exceeded many people’s expectations. Saturday night’s fight showed that Cotto has in fact shed the demons from his 2008 loss to Antonio Margarito. But most importantly, the performance showed that Miguel Cotto still has plenty left in the tank.

So we ask the natural question after his valiant effort: What’s next for Miguel Cotto?

Remember that in boxing, it isn’t enough just to be a great fighter; you must generate interest from the public. At the moment, Cotto has a lot of things going for him. For starters, he’s Puerto Rican, which is one of the main reasons why he’s the third biggest pay-per-view draw. Though he doesn’t have a ton of punching power, he’s always been an offensive fighter, and his fights rarely disappoint. At 31, he still has some years left in his boxing career. And after last night, you could argue that his stock has never been higher.

There are many good possible fights. Here are the ones that I think are the most attractive for Cotto (in descending order):

5. Sergio Martínez

4.  Julio César Chávez Jr.

3. Timothy Bradley

2. Winner of Victor Ortiz/Andre Berto rematch

1.  Canelo Álvarez

Now, you have to be very careful if you’re Cotto. I believe his next fight must be two things: (1) a win and (2) a “big money” fight. In other words, he’s not going to fight a guy who’s not going to help him generate significant buzz, but he also needs a win coming off the loss. Either of these options would be a “big money” fight, but some are riskier than others.

This is why he won’t fight Martínez. “Maravilla” is the best boxer on the planet not named Pacquiao or Mayweather, but he’s nowhere near as popular. Why risk a loss if the other guy isn’t going to generate as much interest?

In regards to Ortiz/Berto and Bradley, a lot hinges on how they look after their June fights (June 23 and June 9, respectively). So if either of these were to happen, it won’t be decided until late June/early July.

A fight against either Álvarez or Chavez would generate huge interest. Imagine a fight against either on Mexican Independence weekend. Chavez fights at 160 lbs., and I don’t see Cotto moving up or Chavez moving down, though they could fight at a catch-weight of 157 pounds.

That leaves us with Álvarez, which is what I think the fans want. Though Álvarez’s promoters want to protect him, the prospect of this mega-fight may be too good to pass up.  Assuming Álvarez doesn’t fight James Kirkland in September (which is very likely), I think we could see a September 15 match-up of Cotto and Canelo.

Still, this is boxing, where logical things rarely happen. Keep that in mind if you read this two months from now.

This article first appeared in Being Latino.

Cristopher Rubio was born in McAllen, Texas to a Mexican mother and Salvadoran father. He taught high school mathematics for three years in southwest Atlanta. Although he has a passion for education, he’s just as passionate about writing, especially when it involves his community. He wishes he could spend less time watching basketball, fútbol, football, boxing and rooting for his beloved Arsenal, but some things can’t be helped.

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