The Return: Cotto vs. Kirkland
By: Francisco Martinez
February 25th in Frisco, Texas in the Ford Center at The Star Miguel Cotto is set to make his long awaited & anticipated ring return versus the rugged James Kirkland. Cotto’s last bout, a much more competitive bout than the official judges scorecards would indicate to be. A unanimous decision loss to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez that had other pugilist such as Juan Manuel Marquez believing they saw Cotto as the victor in what has been the highest PPV buys boxing has been able to produce since the 4 plus million Mayweather vs Pacquiao accumulated a couple of months prior to Cotto vs Canelo.
Boxing’s PPV platform has been in dire need of a star big enough to garner the attention of the masses like Floyd Mayweather Jr & Manny Pacquiao were able to do so in their primes. Saul Alvarez considered by most as the face of boxing seems to be the only fighter fans are willing to put up their money for when it comes to PPV. However when we take a look at the stats Miguel Cotto traditionally has been a great success when placed on PPV platform.
From fights with Floyd Mayweather Jr to Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto has always been considered a PPV draw and Roc Nation’s Michael Yorkmark believes no different when it comes to Cotto’s PPV drawing ability “This will be Miguel’s 10th PPV fight. Miguel Cotto belongs on PPV, this fight belongs on PPV…the whole PPV landscape has changed. Since the Cotto vs Canelo fight which did 900k homes you haven’t seen big numbers and as I said in New York we all the media, people involved in boxing have to kind of do a reset. I don’t think we’re going to see huge PPV numbers in the future. That’s reality. The PPV world, universe and industry has changed so we have to adapt to that and we have to reset our expectations”
Cotto vs Kirkland is only a gateway to a bigger fight for the winner. Many speculate that a Canelo rematch is possible given that Miguel Cotto is successful in defeating James Kirkland. However Cotto is not deadlocked on anything other than February 25th “We’re thinking of James, training for James and we’re ready for the 25th and whatever comes after that we’ll think about it then”
Miguel Cotto is not driven by anything in particular heading into what he has confirmed as his last year in boxing. He simply finds drive in his family who he wants the best for “I don’t think about it (legacy) I’m happy with my career. I’m not thinking about any title…I still have the same kind of mind. I want the best for my children, my family and that’s why I’m leaving”
Last time James Kirkland was in the ring in front of his home state he was on the receiving end of what is now knockout of the year on behalf of Saul Alvarez. A loss that doesn’t discourage him if anything a loss Kirkland sees as a learning phase “last fight, learning and just looking back and seeing the fight, the mistakes that I made, a lot of different things (I saw) I’m definitely eager to get back in there to show my fans, hey look Kirkland is still a rising star. He’s still someone that’s gonna make a stand in boxing and to put up a good show for Texas”
Throughout Miguel Cotto’s long awaited ring return a few names were being juggled. One in particular Juan Manuel Marquez who unlike Cotto has been very vocal of the negotiation process. Cotto simply had this to say regarding the failed dream match up “We didn’t get to concrete the fight. It never happened but both fighters were interested in that fight” Marquez claimed after failed negotiations that Cotto changed the weight limits to the catchweight. Cotto simply replied “He knew the whole time about this chapter” insinuating that Marquez was aware of Kirkland being in negotiations with Cotto as well.
Much is unsure of what 2017 will hold for Miguel Cotto’s bid farewell to boxing. Most would imagine Cotto’s team is only interested in big fights that will produce big pay days. Saul Alvarez being the biggest possibility in terms of those talks. Tune in February 25th live on HBO PPV as the future hall of famer Miguel Cotto looks to impose his A level boxing pedigree on the twice beaten but dangerous James Kirkland who will be partnering up with Ann Wolfe as he looks to spoil Miguel Cotto’s retirement run.
Follow Cotto vs Kirkland by using #cottokirkland