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Miguel Cotto: Life after Manny Pacquiao

By Stuart Gracey

Miguel Cotto not only reignited his career by defeating previously unbeaten Yuri Foreman via a ninth-round knockout back in June to win the WBA junior middleweight championship, but the Puerto Rican fighter also proved many fans and boxing experts wrong of their opinion that he might be a shot fighter following losses to Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao as well as the perception that he wasn’t the same fighter mentally after taking such beatings in the ring.

The 29-year-old Miguel Cotto, 35-2, 28 KO’s, will also have taken a lot of confidence out of how well he performed under the guidance of his new and legendary trainer Manny Steward. His footwork was very improved and he matched the lateral quickness that Foreman showed him. Cotto boxed beautifully and landed his jab with great regularity. He also ended matters in the ninth with a patented left hook to the body.

The talk after this victory was very much about a potential bout with Julio Cesar Chavez JR.

Julio Cesar Chavez, JR., 41-0-1, 30 KO’s, is the son of legendary Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez. Chavez, JR., most recently defeated John Duddy from Ireland in a persuading unanimous decision for the WBC Silver Middleweight Title.

Many say Julio Cesar Chavez, JR., has been sheltered too much throughout his boxing career and protected from fights that could have resulted in loses for him. He has never fought anyone of Cotto’s caliber and this would be his first true boxing fight.

However I think this fight would not be a very wise choice for Cotto to make at this stage of his career because this would be a lose/lose situation for Cotto, because in fighting Chavez, JR., he has nothing to gain but absolutely everything to lose. A defeat in this fight if it were to happen would surely be the end of the road for Miguel Cotto.

Another option that has been talked about is Cotto facing the winner of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito bout which takes place on November 13th at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Texas.

The clear favorite for this fight is current pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao, which would potentially lead to a rematch of the 2009 bout between the PacMan and Cotto in which they fought for WBO welterweight title.

In that fight, Cotto came out strong and landed some hard punches, but he couldn’t deal with the speed of his opponent. Pacquiao was landing punches in bunches from the get go and Cotto struggled to match Pacquiao. After the knockdown in the fourth, Cotto’s attack was nonexistent as he spent most of the last two thirds of the fight fending off the onslaught.

Cotto may fancy his chances in a rematch at junior middleweight but Bob Arum has stated that after Manny’s next fight with Margarito he will only fight at welterweight, and if Cotto were to drop down to welterweight and have a rematch with Pacquiao would the outcome be any different? I don’t think so.

However, maybe Cotto’s mind is on another big pay day which he would certainly get with Pacquiao as he is believed to have received 12 million dollars for his last bout with Manny. He may fancy his chances of an upset after the confidence he has gained from his last bout, so if the opportunity were to prevent itself he will more than likely jump at it.

Another possibility is a rematch with Antonio Margarito if the Mexican can pull off an upset and defeat Pacquiao in their upcoming bout. That is a statement which seems less and less crazy everyday as we are constantly hearing more stories of how badly Manny’s training camp is going.

With his mind being on his job as a congressman in his home country of the Philippines, we are hearing more and more about how he is not up to his usual standard. Word got out that sparring partner Amir Khan stopped him in sparring and also about how he is missing “his job,” referring to his political role.

These could all be factors leading towards a Margarito victory and a rematch between the Mexican and Miguel Cotto.

This would be a fight I’m sure Miguel Cotto would love to get.

In their first fight on July 26, 2008, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Cotto suffered his first loss as a professional to Antonio Margarito. In this fight Cotto took an early points lead, Margarito was able to turn this around and he started to walk down the smaller man with his pressure, body punches, and uppercuts on the inside.

By the end of the tenth round a hurt Cotto was holding on for dear life. By the 11th round Cotto’s face looked like an absolute mess, and then Margarito closed the show by knocking his opponent down twice and thus forcing the referee to step in and stop the contest.

However, since the hand wrapping scandal that has smeared Margarito’s name after he was found with an illegal substance in his hand wraps (the same material used to make plaster of Paris) many people, including myself believe that his gloves were full of this substance during the Cotto fight also. This, of course, has not and can not be proved.

The state in which Cotto’s face was left kind of gives it away for me though as it was awash with blood and had been completely caved in.

I think Cotto would maybe think the same and would relish a chance for redemption to prove he is the better fighter. This would also likely take place at junior middleweight and that would suit the Puerto Rican better than dropping down to welterweight.

You may have noticed that the three fighters I have mentioned for Cotto’s next possible opponents are all under Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions. I don’t see Cotto fighting anybody unless they are under the same banner because unfortunately that is how Bob Arum and most of the boxing world like to do their business.

Whoever he faces I’m sure we will be in for an exciting fight as always.

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