The WBC Middleweight Title Hostage Situation

Miguel Cotto stopped Daniel Geale in the 4th round to defend his WBC middleweight title last night at the Barclays center in Brooklyn, NY. This was the first defense of the belt Cotto won with an excellent performance against veteran Sergio Martinez last year. The winner grabbed the trophy and ran for a whole year before he made a “prudent” choice of bypassing the real challenges in favor of fighting a no-threat opponent. His reluctance to face his mandatory GGG has transpired unequivocally and it seems he would rather be stripped than face a middleweight proper. Apparently he and his team will sit on the title and negotiate its release rather than make a a stand for it – those “middies” hit too hard anyway.

Cotto commented: “My weight yesterday was 153.6 pounds; you think I’m a middleweight? I’m not.”

That’s as clear as it gets regarding a GGG showdown. The Puerto Rican champ stated that if people want his fight with Saul Alvarez to happen, it will happen. He must have noticed that more people appear to want him to step up to his obligation and face his WBC mandatory challenger.

If he does not consider himself a middleweight and feels he is out-gunned, he should simply vacate the title rather than hide it in his closet. He is a remarkable boxer but he has bitten off more than he can chew. He was incredibly privileged when he was chosen to fight the ailing war horse Sergio Martinez for his title and he was kicked up from super-welter to middleweight to claim the prize. He took it and squeezed the clock for a year only to simulate a defense against a hand-picked no-hoper. Boxing deserves better than that, fans deserve better than that, this is one of the many insults to the boxing community.

Daniel Geale was desperately over-matched by the smaller man’s superior boxing generalship, yet he still tried to make a fight out of it. The Australian moved and used his height and reach to cover ring space and landed several good shots on the champ. Miguel Cotto looked sharp and adept in his assault; he showcased his exemplary footwork, balance and punching mechanics. Roach has polished his protégé’s act by removing superfluous moves and habits. He essentially has tweaked a high quality weapon without adding anything new but by sanding out hard edges, oiling the action and adjusting the trigger. The problem with the upgraded version is it still retains the same caliber and range. It would still struggle against the higher grade of the same order and it will be blown away by the bigger guns. In other words, I do not expect the “reinvented” Cotto to do better against Mayweather or Pacquiao and he seems terrified of the prospect of facing Golovkin.

By his own admission, the super welterweight (junior middleweight) division might be more hospitable to the WBC middleweight champ although Saul Alvarez and Erislandy Lara would hardly lose any sleep waiting for him. These two and even Austin Trout could put Roach’s crafty work and Cotto’s visible improvement under scrutiny that might turn out too severe.