Miguel Cotto’s chances against Sergio Martinez are probably slim. Martinez is likely too big and too skilled for Cotto, who never really shined at any point during his campaign north of 147. Cotto has had an exceptional boxing career and is surely a first ballot future HOF’er, but he is clearly on the downside and Martinez has the type of style that will befuddle Cotto. The boxing pride of Puerto Rico is biting off more than he can chew. If Martinez’s stamina is even close to what we are accustomed to seeing from him, this fight could be an absolute nightmare for Cotto where he endures a prolonged beating and may not even survive to see the final bell.
But who knows? This is boxing and one punch can change a fight, right? Maybe Martinez will show his age. Perhaps his long career has taken its toll and recent injuries will impact his performance. Or maybe Freddie Roach will have a magical ace up his sleeve, or perhaps Cotto will even have something left in the tank for a change over the last few rounds should he make it that far. There is even the possibility of a freak accident, a bad/controversial decision, or a botched call by the referee. Anything can happen in boxing, so maybe we shouldn’t be too quick to write Cotto off just yet.
So although I don’t feel a Cotto victory is a probable outcome, I can’t help but wonder whether Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will be watching this fight with special interest. Because it’s obvious Mayweather and Pacquiao will do whatever it takes to ensure that they never actually have to face each other. But if someone they both already dominated were to become a recognized champion in the prestigious middleweight division, it seems logical that Mayweather and Pacquiao would both be salivating at the chance to target a boxer they both commandingly outclassed before. And why not? It would be an easy money-maker and legacy-enhancer for whoever got the chance to beat Cotto again. Because a Cotto victory over Martinez would get his hype train rolling as if he was the same Cotto we knew prior to his being brutalized by Antonio Margarito.
This is one of the sad things in boxing these days. It’s one thing to embrace a “what have you done for me lately” attitude. It’s another entirely to ignore past trends and results altogether. For example I have seen Adonis Stevenson receive a lot of heat lately for his sub par performance against the very tough and determined Andrzej Fonfara. This was a fight that Stevenson won only after digging down deep and showing guts and heart to overcome adversity and hold on for a victory against a guy with a never-say-die attitude who walked through pugilistic hell to even stay in the fight. Flavor of the month critics now peg Hopkins and Kovalev to destroy Stevenson in a mismatch, completely dismissing his courageous efforts in victory. And forget what he did previously to the likes of Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud, and Tony Bellow. They apparently no longer count! Nor does his tremendous power and athleticism.
But on the flip side, and more directly related to what might happen should Cotto win, think back to the hype surrounding the supposedly rejuvenated Shane Mosley after he put on an exhibition of speed, power, and accuracy when he systematically broke down the feared and dangerous aforementioned Margarito, who had beaten Cotto from pillar to post leaving him a bruised and bloody mess. People immediately dismissed Mosley’s struggled showing with Ricardo Mayorga, the prior loss to Cotto, and his hot and cold inconsistencies that precede the big win with Margarito. Heck, even Margarito himself had gained a certain unwarranted aura of hype after beating Cotto, when he had not long before looked ordinary against Paul Williams. It happens in boxing, and no sooner did Mosley get taken to school by Mayweather, and he had gone complete circle in the span of 3 fights.
A Cotto victory, as unlikely as I deem it, will most probably command the same type of unwarranted aura of hype Mosley experienced where Cotto’s worth will be skyrocketed by the perception that “what have you done for me lately” seems to register these days. That will likely provide a huge opportunity for Pacquiao and Mayweather to battle each other in a quest to one up the other in yet another collection of fabricated obstacles that illustrates just how much these two really don’t want to fight each other. Boxing fans be damned! Let’s both go after some guy whose butt we already kicked and continue our childish posturing of avoidance. In fact if Cotto does win, I would bet we are more likely to see Cotto rematch both Pacquiao and Mayweather than we are to see these 2 P4P con artists finally face each other.
Fortunately it probably won’t come to this, because Sergio shouldn’t have too many problems with Cotto at this juncture. This will prevent Mayweather or Pacquiao from getting an easy money-maker and legacy-enhancer that a rematch with Cotto would lucratively provide either star. But it is doubtful that Pacquiao or Mayweather would actually want to face Sergio. Way too much risk for those 2, and besides, Martinez should really be gunning for GGG anyway. That’s the only opponent who should matter for him. So then Mayweather and Pacquiao can continue avoiding the only opponent who matters for either of them, and they will be left to find new ways to agree on avoiding the fight the world long wished and still wishes to see.