By Kirk Jackson
Miguel Cotto improved his professional record to 40-4 (33 KO’s) win his sensational 4th round TKO victory over Daniel Geale 31-4 (16 KO’s) in front of a packed, pro Puerto Rican crowd, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Leading up to this fight, Cotto received scrutiny over his decision to defend his lineal and WBC middleweight titles at the catch weight of 157 lbs.
Photo: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Roc Nation Sports/Miguel Cotto Promotions
Although some of the criticism is justifiable, Cotto is the A-side for the event and many other fighters have fought for and defended world titles at catch weights.
Sugar Ray Leonard, Jake LaMotta, Bernard Hopkins, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Pancho Villa, Pernell Whitaker, Julio Cesar Chavez, etc.
Cotto even referenced his catch-weight bout with Manny Pacquiao a from a few years ago, as an example of he (Cotto) moving down even further in weight to accommodate the smaller Pacquiao..
Admittedly at the weigh-in for the Cotto vs. Geale event, Geale looked drained and did somewhat resemble a zombie.
Cotto may potentially have an acting career after boxing, as he can be casted on the “Walking Dead,” his hands essentially utilized as destructive neutralizers.
Jokes aside, Cotto has also received criticism from some fans for what many perceive as lack of wanting to fight Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Last year, Alvarez and Cotto were engaged in negotiations to fight but nothing came into fruition. Instead, things got ugly as demands and due dates were made by Alvarez’s camp, with both parties eventually moving on.
It’s no secret Golovkin also wants a piece of Cotto or Alvarez for that matter.
Some people perceived it as Cotto ducking Alvarez, or Cotto is a diva, Cotto is a coward and afraid, – he was basically called this that and the other.
What some fail to realize is Cotto wants respect and wants to call the shots and dictate the terms.
He is an Olympian, a well decorated amateur, a professional of more than 14 years and a multiple division world champion.
Cotto faced a total of 20 former or current world titlists. Alvarez and Golovkin have faced a total of 11 former or current world titlists combined.
He has essentially done it all in the boxing ring and should garner respect. As the A-side for either match-up with Alvarez or Golovkin, he wants to dictate the terms.
Right, wrong it is what he demands and he wouldn’t be the first guy to do so.
Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao etc. have all done the same. It’s the benefit of being the A-side.
Being an A-side can sometimes come with hate. Back in his Top Rank days, when there was a certain perception about Cotto, the fans were not complaining about the selection of his opposition.
When he was well into his career under Top Rank, Cotto did not face scrutiny for fighting guys like Gianluca Branco, “The Contender” challenger Alfonso Gomez, or gatekeepers like Michael Jennings.
He even fought a faded Ricardo Mayorga and a one legged Yuri Foreman. But it’s not a problem.
But now after he essentially becomes his own boss after leaving Top Rank Promotions and starts calling the shots and dictating who he wants to fight and when, and he’s the bad guy?
Cotto made a wise career move, leaving Top Rank for Roc Nation and signing a lucrative contract.
He is in a position of power and it’s apparent he analyzed the business situations of Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
De La Hoya and Mayweather ventured away from Top Rank, eventually establishing their own promotional companies and taking control of their careers.
As a result, they earned more money than they could imagine without Bob Arum and Top Rank necessarily backing them.
Pacquiao remains with Top Rank, but questions have been raised about his finances. These questions, raised by Mayweather, could be gamesmanship, or could be truth.
The negative narrative about Cotto is questionable. Why is the standards and criteria changing now? Shouldn’t his contemporaries be held to the same standard?
The one common opponent Cotto and Golovkin share is Geale and Geale was outmatched in skill against both fighters. Golovkin has also stated he is willing to fight at a catch weight against some smaller notable fighters. Yet no criticism.
Cotto and Alvarez share two common opponents (Floyd Mayweather, Austin Trout) and Alvarez fought his last few fights (Alfredo Angulo, James Kirkland) at a catch weight. Yet nothing is said about that either.
Cotto was once described as the fan’s fighter. Taking on all comers, it appears after his post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman, he is returning to his roots, mentioning potential fights with Alvarez and Golovkin.
Will the narrative change on Cotto now that he openly expresses the possibility of fighting Alvarez and Golovkin?
Generally in huge fights, there’s two sides to promote. The most financially successful events usually depict the narrative of Good vs. Evil.
With some of the negative kick back Cotto has received as of late, he can certainly play the villain role. And of course, Cotto can refuse to fight Alvarez and Golovkin altogether, there is no mandate for Cotto to fight them and he appears to be on his way out of boxing.
From a financial perspective, whatever Miguel Cotto decides to do, playing the villain role can work out extremely well for him in long run. Just ask Floyd Mayweather.