Although Cotto will only be 33 when he fights again in November or early December, he's arguably an "old 33" having been in multiple wars through the years.
A loser of his last two bouts to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout, Cotto insists he's looking to fight just three more times before hangin' em up late next year.Given that Miguel Cotto has been a consistent mainstream attraction and cash cow for the better part of the last 7 or 8 years, don't expect the Puerto Rican legend to settle with regards his opponents or purses in those bouts.
The boxing legend's career is winding down and, as a result, he'll want to engage in bouts that are either very meaningful or very lucrative, or preferably both.
And although Austin Trout was virtually unknown to casual fans when Cotto fought him in December, Austin was a young lion with an impressive resume and, more importantly, a world title.
Who Will be Next for Miguel Cotto?
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez or Austin Trout?
Will Cotto fight the winner of the Alavrez vs Trout?
It appears Mayweather will most certainly fight Canelo provided the young Mexican is victorious in April against Trout. Given Canelo wins and opts to fight Floyd, would Cotto vs a title-less Trout appeal to the masses?
Probably not - especially since Trout's style gives Cotto fits. Fighting a beaten, title-less Austin Trout would seemingly be too much risk for the reward.
But what about a beaten, title-less Canelo?
Even if Alvarez loses next month, Canelo vs Cotto is still a very marketable event given the Mexican's popularity and the 'old pro vs young star' theme.
But would Golden Boy risk putting their defeated 22 year old against a thoroughbred like Miguel Cotto?
Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao?
Unless Cotto defeats a big-name, such as Canelo or Trout, we probably won't see him in the the ring with 'Money May' or PacMan partially because both fighters have beaten him.
And sure, given Pacquiao and Cotto have lost their last two bouts Pacquiao vs Cotto II would be an interesting affair but Manny's team would probably want to fight at a catchweight that would leave Miguel drained and weak. PacMan vs Cotto won;y happen unless there is no catchweight.
And lastly, Mayweather and Pacquaio already have two big fights on the horizon with Robert Guerrero and Juan Manel Marquez, respectively.
Sergio Martinez or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr?
Since Cotto is not interested in moving up to middleweight, neither guy is an immediate prospect. However, if Cotto becomes a champion again at Jr Middleweight a Martinez vs Cotto bout is not unlikely because Sergio has very few big-name options at 160 lbs and can easily make the jr middleweight limit of 154 lbs.
So if not Alvarez, Trout, Mayweather, Pacquiao, Martinez or Chavez Jr, then who'll be next?
Given he's lost his last two bouts and his WBA Jr Middleweight Title, perhaps Miguel will have face an opponent whose marquee value is solid, but quite a bit lower than his?
Here are a few names...
Winner of Devon Alexander vs Kell Brook?
The above fighters will meet in an IBF Welterweight Title bout in May and the winner will obviously be in-line for bigger opportunities going forward. But will the winner of this bout bring enough to the table and be bold enough to be Cotto's next oponent at 154?
Andre Berto or Victor Ortiz?
The above fighters are relatively big names and Cotto versus either man would generate high interest... But would they be ready for a fighter of Cotto's pedigree having suffered semi-brutal loses in their most recent bouts?
Also, would they be comfortable moving up to 154 lbs?
Since Ortiz walked into the ring at 164 lbs against Mayweather in 2011 and was scheduled to fight Canelo at jr middleweight before his loss to Josesito Lopez, a move to 154 is certainly not inconceivable for him.
After summer tune-ups, I'd consider both, Berto and Ortiz, as possible opponents for Cotto in November or early December.
Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KO)
Current WBO Welterweight Champion
If Bradley performs well against Ruslan Provodnikov later this month, he might be darring enough to temporarily jaunt to 154lbs to fight Cotto. A world title wouln't be at stake for Cotto vs Bradley in November but far more fans are familiar with Tim Bradley than they were of Austin Trout when Miguel Cotto fought him last December.
Ishe Smith (25-5, 11 KO)
IBF Jr Middleweight Champion
Smith defeated K9 Bundrage a few weeks ago to win the IBF Jr Middleweight Title. He lacks the name recognition among casual fans that a few other fighters at welterweight and jr middleweight enjoy and, despite his title-taking endeavor, is not as accomplished... But, he has a major world title Cotto could use as leverage when looking for potential superfights post November.
Robert Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KO)
If Guerrero loses in a competitive fight against Mayweather in May, the former should be added to the list. However, he's already moved up several weight classes in a short time so fighting at 154 lbs might be a stretch for him in the immediate future. Nevertheless, he certainly has the size to do so and probably will one day.
Erislandy Lara, Vanes Martirosyan or Zaurbek Baysangurov
Cotto vs any of the afforementioned jr middleweights would be intriguing but, at this moment, all are probably a bit too much risk for the reward.
Miguel Cotto needs:
- a relatively high-profile/lucrative bout with a 'name' fighter or world champion and
- to get back on the winning track, having lost two straight
Athough they appeal to the hardcore fans, Lara, Martirosyan and Baysangurov won't generate as much interest among the masses yet are just as dangerous if not more of a threat than a few of the previous names mentioned.