Golovkin Deserves Cotto, But Does Cotto Deserve Golovkin?


GolovkinI desperately want to see Gennady “GGG” Golovkin get a crack at the lineal middleweight title. In the same breathe, I don’t want to see Golovkin beat Miguel Cotto to a bloody pulp. Now, I understand those are two conflicting sentences, but I don’t think they completely represent the same thing.

Cotto is scheduled to defend his WBC middleweight title against Daniel Geale on June 6th, the very same Geale that Golovkin obliterated last year. A lot of fans are hopeful that we’ll eventually get to see Cotto-Golovkin at some point, but I’m not so sure.

I once held out some hope myself, but there were two occurrences this week that have me believing we’ll never see that fight.

First, Max Kellerman’s segment on “The Fight Game with Jim Lampley” this past week. Kellerman accurately broke down Cotto’s current position, specifically underlining the reasons Cotto may have picked Geale as his first defense.

Kellerman said that the only way Geale is on the path to Golovkin for Cotto is if Cotto is using Geale as a gauge. People have to understand that Cotto has yet to make his first defense and fighting Geale might be a weak decision based on lineal consideration for the defense, but he is an excellent choice as a barometer for his future at 160lbs.

As Max pointed out, Cotto can use his performance against Geale as a comparison for Golovkin. Cotto knows what Golovkin did to Geale, who also makes sense for Cotto being that he’s a smaller middleweight (still not as small as Cotto) and depending on how he handles Geale will give him an idea of how he’d fair against “GGG.”

There is another interesting factor in this situation. Cotto will get to see how he reacts to a middleweight’s punch, but he’ll also get an understanding of Golovkin’s ability to absorb a punch. In the Golovkin-Geale fight, Golovkin scored the winning knockout just as he was on the receiving end of a pretty solid Geale shot. If Cotto can gauge the punishment for himself and compare that to the fact that Golovkin was able to score one of his greatest knockouts then, he’ll have a better idea of what he can do against Golovkin.

Cotto is probably not feeling the pressure to fight “GGG,” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. However, Cotto is a victim of circumstance, too because Golovkin was perceived to be an avoided fighter long before Cotto won the lineal title from Sergio Martinez. That win for Cotto was about so many things, but a run as the lineal middleweight champion was not one of them.

I’m willing to bet that Cotto didn’t consider the consequences of winning that title. To him, it was a chance to make history, become an even more viable money fighter, and take on a one-legged fighter at the most vulnerable time in his career.

If all of these reasons weren’t enough, Cotto told Nestor Gibbs of Thaboxingvoice.com that the best advice he could give Golovkin is for him to remain patient during what could be the last viable run in Cotto’s career. Cotto didn’t say much, but he inferred that he has no sympathy for Golovkin because he paid his dues and waited out the bigger opportunities, and now he is in the position that he has earned.

“I waited my time sometimes in my career. Golovkin has to sit, have patience and wait his time, that’s all,” Cotto told Gibbs from Thaboxingvoice.com.

Cotto said that Golovkin needed to remain patient, but did he mean that he’d eventually fight him or was he saying that if he waits it out then the landscape of boxing will change, and someone will eventually give him a big fight?

Cotto has a point about paying dues, but Cotto was given more opportunities early in his career than Golovkin at this stage in his career. Cotto’s Puerto Rican following made him a commodity, and he was put in a path for great financial gains in the sport. Golovkin does not have those same luxuries, although he has done a lot with plenty resistance from his middleweight peers.

Back to my original point, Cotto gets destroyed by Golovkin, and I don’t want to see it. I’m not claiming that Golovkin is the better fighter, even though he may be. What I am saying is that Cotto is at a significant weight disadvantage that makes a fight with Golovkin a physical mismatch. Cotto is not now nor will he ever be a true middleweight, and I’m not making excuses for him because he is the lineal middleweight champion, and I understand that. But if Golovkin is the better fighter than Cotto is at a disadvantage. If Golovkin isn’t the better fighter than Cotto might still lose based on his inability to absorb punches and the inability to effect he’ll have on Golovkin with shots of his own.

Cotto has earned the right to fight whomever he decides to, but he also has an obligation as the lineal middleweight champion. Golovkin deserves a shot at the lineal champion because after all he may be the best middleweight champion right now.

I want to see Golovkin get his shot, but not at the expense of an older, smaller Miguel Cotto. Golovkin deserves a big payday against a big time opponent, but a Cotto years removed from his prime doesn’t deserve to be forced into a situation where he’s fighting one of boxing’s best in his prime.

I want Golovkin to represent the sport as one of its cash cows for years to come, but I don’t want him making his bones against Miguel Cotto, especially if it’s a risk to the Puerto Rican’s health.

As I said, I hope Golovkin gets his lineal shot, but I also hope that Cotto doesn’t get ruined in a permanent way in the process.

The ideal situation is for Cotto to drop the middleweight crown to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and then have Alvarez, who has never avoided the tough opposition, fight Golovkin. That would be the best scenario. What may end up happening instead is Cotto eventually vacates the WBC title and then Golovkin gets a shot at the title, preferably against a meaningful opponent.

Who knows, maybe Cotto drops the belt to Geale? Either way, Golovkin is looking at a long stretch of fights before eventually fighting for “the middleweight crown.” With Cotto eyeing a fall showdown with Canelo win or lose, and Geale unlikely to fight “GGG” right away in the event that he defeats Cotto, Golovkin might be better off targeting a jump to super middleweight. I would hate it if he left the division before officially being recognized as the very best, but the proverbial truth is this is boxing.

I posed a question in the title of this article. The answer: Golovkin deserves a shot at Cotto’s title, but Cotto doesn’t deserve the beating he’d receive from Golovkin.