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Canelo vs Cotto purses: Should Alvarez be on par?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Not unlike negotiations for Miguel Cotto versus Sergio Martinez last year, current discussions for a potential May 2nd superfight between Cotto and Canelo Alvarez are tedious and challenging.

(Cool image courtesy of DeLaCalleBoxing)

According to sources, the teams are still relatively far apart on purse splits.

A future first ballot hall of famer and the current WBC and RING Magazine/lineal middleweight champion,Cotto is apparently looking to gobble the lion's share of the money.

"The question is, 'How much of the lion's share?" That one guy should get. So that's it," Gaby Penagaricano, Cotto's manager, recently told RingTV.com.

Is Cotto looking for more than a 60-40 payout split? If so, he may not get it, unless he acquiesces in other areas, such ring size, type of gloves to be used and a bunch of other concessions.

Question: Does Miguel Cotto deserve a greater purse split because he is the more accomplished fighter? After all, he's a 14 year veteran who has won world titles in four weight classes.

Answer: Yes and No

A fighter's purse is usually reflective of a his:

1) drawing power; the ability to generate interest/revenue (by far, most important)
2) overall stock; one's standing in the sport (secondary importance), and
3) title status; whose belt will be at-stake on fight night (least importance)

1. Drawing Power (Most Important)
The bottom line is revenue and the fighter who generates the most interest will almost always receive the more lucrative purse, regardless of his opponent's overall standing in boxing and whose title is at-stake.

In a mythical fight between Miguel Cotto and Justin Bieber, the Biebs, despite never having won a title, or a pro bout for that matter, would probably receive the same or an even greater percentage of the payout.

How can this be?

Very easily. If that hypothetical match-up generated 4 million buys, rest-assured the Biebs will have been responsible for at least 2.5 to 3 million purchases, and should be compensated satisfactorily for what he brought to the table, regardless of his level of craft or achievements in boxing.

Miguel Cotto is a popular fighter who has been a big name for many years and is a solid, can't-miss draw. But Canelo, in terms of drawing power, is in the same league despite his lack of longevity as a bonified star. Keep in mind, Canelo's fight with Mayweather in 2013 was far bigger than Cotto's the previous year.

Advantage: No one. The fighters are relatively equal.

2. Overall Stock and Position in Boxing
A distant second to raw drawing power, Cotto's overall position in boxing is difficult to ignore. He's a legend of the game.

He has what Canelo wants, pure and simple. 

One fighter can retire tomorrow a legend, the other cannot. Miguel Cotto is a national hero and first ballot hall of famer, and those things can be used as leverage if his opponent doesn't have the aforementioned traits but wants them.

Advantage: Cotto

3. World Title(s)
To some degree, owning a major world title can give a fighter a little more leverage, too.

Similar to overall stock, one fighter wants what his opponent already has thus giving the fighter in possession a bit more bargaining power.

Should it come to fruition, Cotto vs Canelo will be contested for the former's WBC and lineal middleweight titles so Miguel can flex his muscles here a bit as well.

Advantage: Cotto

Overall split
Miguel seemingly has more leverage and has certanly been exercising it. Nonetheless, the fighters are relative equals in what matters most, drawing power. As a result a 55/45 (Cotto/Canelo) split would seem fair while 60/40 might be a stretch.

If Team Cotto is putting too much emphasis on their fighter's career accomplishments and status as the middleweight champion and not enough on what matters most, drawing power, Cotto vs Canelo may not happen.

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