The Miguel Cotto Paradox


Rarely in boxing does one man determine so many peoples’ fates as Miguel Cotto does heading into 2014. Cotto, who recently ran through Delvin Rodriguez, has now played his cards perfectly. Cotto is in an envious position. He is on good terms with the two major promotions as well as recently fighting on HBO and Showtime and pulling good ratings. To put it simply, Cotto is desirable for the networks from his fighting style to what he brings to the fights in his aggressive brawling style. The big question now is who will he choose, Canelo or Sergio Martinez? And what will that mean for boxing?

Sergio Martinez has an exclusive contract with HBO and Canelo Alvarez being a Golden Boy fighter is a ShowTime entity. Last week it was reported that Cotto was offered eight figures for the Canelo fight, but who leaked that information? Is Cotto looking for money or a win? Canelo is the bigger question mark as he is a bigger fighter than Cotto which has given Cotto problems in the past. Canelo doesn’t fight like a big guy unless the fighter is drastically smaller (cough, cough Josesito Lopez). Canelo is a methodical fighter, who frankly, if not engaged in a fight, can get into fights that resemble more of a test of patience than a war.
Canelo is coming off his first loss, which was a dominant loss to possibly the greatest boxer of all time, Floyd Mayweather. How will he respond? Will the Mexican fight fans be as high on him after getting outclassed by Mayweather? Cotto could present some real problems. Canelo had a very close fight with Austin Trout and dropped a fight to Mayweather in his only two outings against top level fighters. Some might argue that Trout’s stock might be dropping after his upcoming fight with Lara.

The big “X factor” is the gas tank. Neither Canelo nor Cotto are known for a solid tank and can, for a lack of a better word, struggle to the finish line. This is the one thing that Martinez brings that is troublesome for Cotto as Martinez. A former soccer player and bicyclist, he is known for his incredible stamina. Martinez fights like a young man and he is not what you would describe as a young man in the sport of boxing, as he is nearing 40. How much of Martinez’s overall athleticism has he lost?

So, it comes down to a business decision for Cotto. Gennady Golovkin lies in wait as the potential star of HBO and badly wants a Sergio Martinez PPV superfight. Martin Murray, a top middleweight, who most believe will fight Golovkin in Monte Carlo in February of next year could be affected by a Cotto vs. Canelo fight if HBO were to decide to pursue a triple G vs. Sergio Martinez fight to counteract losing the Cotto superfight on their network.

Is Cotto looking for short or long term money? It would appear that the fight on HBO with Martinez, though in the short term would produce smaller financial benefits could make him the PPV star. It could set up a catchweight fight with Tim Bradley down the line, showcasing Cotto as the A-Side. The flipside would be to take what most pundits would view as the harder fight in Canelo and take more money upfront and if he wins he’s probably in line for a Mayweather rematch in September. For Cotto, whoever he chooses may not just be about money – it might be about the win. It will be interesting who he chooses as he is in the most unique position – between promotions using them for leverage against one and another.