For Miguel Cotto, His In Ring Performances Is The Only Self-Promotion He Needs


    Miguel Cotto is the third biggest draw in the United States when it comes to boxing behind Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Cotto has also been in the ring with both, lost to both, and made the most money when he has faced both. Cotto, a long time boxer under the Top Rank banner made him a star. But after his TKO victory over Antonio Margarito last December, he parted ways with his long time promoter and went the Floyd Mayweather route; fighting under his own banner with the help of Golden Boy Promotions.

    His fight with Mayweather was the first fight of his new working relationship with Golden Boy. On Saturday night he continues the same relationship, when he takes on Austin Trout for the WBA Super Welterweight Championship of the World in Madison Square Garden, where Cotto has sold over 100,000 tickets.

    However, the talk around the media this week was that this fight doesn’t have the same buzz and the interest for this fight is not up to par with recent Cotto fights. Some are even blaming Cotto for never reaching the Mayweather-Pacquiao status because of his persona and not granting many interviews during fight week.

    Could it be that? Maybe. The likelihood of this so called ‘buzz’ is the lack of name value that his opponent Austin Trout brings. Trout has fought on smaller networks and didn’t have the machine behind him that has built stars like Cotto. Until almost a year or two ago, Trout says he didn’t even have a promoter. In his first major televised fight on Showtime, Trout didn’t make any fans in his decision victory over Delvin Rodriguez. It wasn’t a crowd pleasing fight to say the least and with that performance some say Trout lost out in the Canelo Alvarez sweepstakes.

    However to Cotto, he feels he made the right choice. “He (Trout) was the best option we had on the table and we go for him. When you mention best option, you’re going for every aspect, and in every aspect, he was the best option,” Cotto told the media at his press conference.

    What Trout doesn’t bring in name recognition, he brings in an alphabet title, and in a new challenge to Miguel Cotto’s career. Alvarez and Cornelius Bundrage said no thanks to Trout. Even Anthony Mundine opted not to fight Trout, when he was Trout’s mandatory. Trout is a fresh 154lber southpaw, who is bigger, fresher, longer, and younger than Miguel Cotto. Trout is a legitimate top 10 junior middleweight that isn’t shopworn like Mayorga, on a bum knee like Foreman, and doesn’t have an eye socket missing like Margarito.

    Where Cotto falls short outside the ring in his personality, he makes up for in his performance in the ring. That’s where Miguel promotes himself the best. From 140 to 147, he took on all comers minus maybe a Paul Williams, who no star in the welterweight division wanted a piece of.

    As far as the ticket sales go? According to some of the Golden Boy folks, they say they expect a crowd of 15,000 people. In speaking to his best friend and right hand man in Cotto Promotions (who is the lead promoter for the event), Perez stated, “Tickets are doing well and we are expecting a sellout.” As far as there being any difference this time around in New York being the promoter of note, Perez explains, “Nothings really changed. We’re happy we can choose the best financial options for Miguel without tying ourselves into anything.”

    Cotto’s is making 1 million for this bout but will probably make much more as he makes money from the revenue in the pay-per-view figures in Puerto Rico and with the money he makes as the promoter of the event. Whether he sells out or puts 15,000 people in the Garden; that is pretty darn impressive. There’s no storyline behind this fight and it’s in the thick of Christmas shopping season in New York City, a city that was just hit by a super storm.

    The sentiment that some feel is that Cotto is a Top Rank creation. Well they should look back at his fight with Michael Jennings. In a return off a high profile loss to Margarito, Cotto fought Jennings for a vacant belt against a mostly unknown guy and the paid attendance for the fight was under 10,000. Granted it was an independent pay-per-view but the fact is, less people came out for that, then what’s expected for this one.

    While he isn’t the self-promoter out the ring that Mayweather is and he isn’t as likeable or a congressman like Manny Pacquiao is, Cotto is a fighter and let’s his hands do his promoting. Let’s not forget that Mayweather and Pacquiao had the same blueprint for their success. They were built up as stars by Top Rank and became superstars when they defeated an older version of Oscar De La Hoya. Cotto was on that very same route until he lost to Margarito in 2008. Whether tainted or not, Margarito took a lot from Cotto that night, and one of those things was a possible fight with Oscar De La Hoya. So who knows where Cotto would be if he fought and beat Oscar, but that’s why they fight the fights.

    While Cotto is no Trinidad is his likeability, he is still the face of Puerto Rican boxing. But he’s all business. Even when reporters asked him about the late Hector “Macho” Camacho, Cotto kept it short and sweet. “Everyone in Puerto Rico is sad but I have work to do, I didn’t really know him much or talked to him much, but the boxing world is sad and so is the island.”

    Away from the island, New York is Cotto’s second home. He told the media he feels comfortable in New York. “The people here, they help me a lot. They make me a boxer when I have to be a boxer and a brawler when I need to be a brawler. When you expect so much from it, you’re always excited to show the people what you did in training camp. People here are knowledgeable and enjoy what I bring in the ring.”

    In the ring is a tough challenge, something Cotto seemingly never shy’s away from. He’s fought 4 quality southpaws in his time and is set to take on a 5th in Austin Trout. But Cotto is confident either way and feels this nothing new to him. “I fought a few southpaws, no one caused me problems I didn’t expect and I don’t expect Austin to cause me problem. The guys I sparred in camp are more skilled than Austin. I just follow what Pedro (Diaz) says, I seen 3 rounds of Austin, Pedro is that guy that’s studies the videos, I just follow Pedro’s instructions and fight.”

    The Cotto-Diaz relationship has sort of brought resurgence in Cotto and his confidence. His performances with Diaz include the victory in the Margarito rematch and his loss to Mayweather, which Mayweather claims was his toughest fight. Maybe it’s that confidence that made him take this challenge, especially with high lucrative fights on the table for him.

    A fight with Canelo Alvarez would be a hit at the box office and is an opponent that Cotto is asked about frequently, especially with Canelo ringside Saturday night. While it may be on his mind, he knows he has business to take care of. “Everybody knows the rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico; they know what Mexican and Puerto Ricans are capable of doing in the ring. I know it’s going to be a great fight in the ring. After Austin on Saturday I can think of my next opponent,” explained Cotto.

    Miguel is older now, rejuvenated or not, his time in the ring is limited. He credits his late father for pushing him to venture in the business of promoting where he can still be involved in the sport making money without taking punches to the chin. With his team that includes Bryan Perez, Hector Soto, and Gaby Penagaricano, he feels the future of his company is bright.

    However, there’s still business to be handled in the ring, where he’s at his best. Outside the ring, he may short and boring, but even he has his moments when he opens up and cracks a joke. When asked what rematch he preferred between Mayweather or Pacquiao, he said, “Whoever pays me the most.” Jokingly or not, Cotto has earned that payday and others because of his performance in the ring, the heard he displayed, and his willingness to fight the best.