Middleweight champion Miguel Cotto will finally fight Mexican icon Saul “Canelo” Alvarez sometime in the fall, promoters for both fighters say. And while that fight has the ready-made marketing hook of the Puerto Rican hero Cotto against Mexico’s finest in Alvarez, the fight that hardcore fans want to see — Cotto against Kazakhstan knockout sensation Gennady Golovkin — seems unlikely to materialize.
The 33-year-old “Triple G” Golovkin, a devastating puncher currently riding a streak of 20 knockouts in his last 20 fights — holds two middleweight championship belts. But Cotto, the World Boxing Council champion, is also considered the “lineal,” true middleweight champ.
The last unified middleweight champ was Bernard Hopkins, who lost his titles to Jermaine Taylor — who in turn was defeated by Kelly Pavlik. Cotto beat Sergio Martinez, who won his title from Pavlik, making Cotto the “true” middleweight champ.
And yet Golovkin is widely considered at least Cotto’s equal as a boxer, and a fight between the two would again unify the middleweight championship. But that’s not going to happen any time soon.
Shortly before Cotto, 34, fought and knocked out unheralded Daniel Geale in an HBO Boxing event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center Saturday night, Cotto’s trainer said that the decision to skip a fan-pleasing unification bout with Golovkin was based on one factor — money. Or the lack of it.
Golovkin, though a favorite of die-hard boxing fans, simply doesn’t have the name recognition outside the small core of boxing purists to make a big-money pay-per-view fight with Cotto worthwhile, said Freddie Roach.
In fact, Roach said, Golovkin is so obscure that Roach’s other star pupil, Manny Pacquiao, didn’t know who he was.
“When Manny Pacquiao walked by and didn’t know who he was, I was surprised because most fighters know other fighters and Manny Pacquiao had no idea who he was,” Roach said. “If Manny Pacquiao doesn’t know who one of the best fighters pound-for-pound in the world is, there’s a lot of people who don’t know.”
Cotto himself appeared to say that despite an undefeated record in 33 fights — Cotto himself is 40-4, though against superior opposition — and his imposing knockout streak, Golovkin simply hasn’t earned his shot.
“Golovkin is a guy who never faced, in my opinion, a Class A opponent, and people still asking for those kinds of fights,” said Cotto, who often speaks of himself in the third person. “Miguel Cotto has been here for 14 years, facing everybody.”
But promoters for both Cotto and Alvarez are excited to strike a deal to make the Puerto Rico vs. Mexico pay-per-view fight happen.
“It’s the biggest fight since Pacquiao-Mayweather,” said former champ Oscar De La Hoya, who promotes Alvarez. “The difference is you’re guaranteed action.”
“It’s the fight everybody wants to see,” said Cotto’s promoter Michael Yormark of the Jay-Z-run promotional firm, Roc Nation. “It’s the fight we’re going to make.”
Whether Miguel Cotto would fight the fearsome Gennady Golovkin at any time after he fights Alvarez is a question that won’t be answered, at least for several more months.
[Images: Ed Mulholland, Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]