By James Slater – Dan Rafael of ESPN.com has revealed how promoters Bob Arum (who looks after Miguel Cotto) and Lou DiBella (who promotes middleweight king Sergio Martinez) have been unable to agree a deal that will see Martinez and Cotto collide in what would have been a very interesting fight. According to DiBella, the fight fell through because Arum “doesn’t want to do any kind of co-promotion no matter what the split..”
While Arum said that he’s “not going to tell you what did happen because those things (negotiating a deal) are supposed to be confidential.” Adding that “Lou called and we couldn’t make a deal. Period.”
Whatever the reasons were for the prospective fight falling apart, it is the fans who will miss out. Martinez is red hot right now due to his sizzling KO of Paul Williams, and Cotto is a hugely popular warrior. No matter; the two won’t be meeting in the ring. But now that that fight is officially dead, who will the Argentine and the Puerto Rican get it on with instead?
According to Rafael’s piece, Arum will look to make Cotto-Antonio Margarito II. A return of the fight that saw the subsequently disgraced Mexican (after his loss to Shane Mosley and the now infamous hand-wraps scandal) take away Cotto’s unbeaten record, is a fight Arum has wanted for a while now. And the Top Rank boss is sure the fans will tune in to see if Cotto can get revenge over a fighter who MAY have used loaded gloves against him in the first fight.
“He’ll fight Margarito,” Arum said of Cotto. “Margarito is going to get a physical to determine when he can fight. The earlier we can do it, the better.”
This fight has “box-office gold” written all over it, and whenever and wherever the second fight between the two warriors get sets to take place, the possible outcome will surely attract much debate. Can Cotto get his revenge? Will Margarito have anything left after the beating Manny Pacquiao laid on him?
As for world middleweight ruler Martinez, Rafael writes how DiBella says there are two likely options for the 35-year-old southpaw: mandatory challenger Sebastian Zbik or Emanuel Steward-trained contender Any Lee.
Martinez is expected to fight again in March, and it will likely be against one of the two names mentioned. Unlike Cotto-Margarito II, either of these match-ups would perhaps prove somewhat difficult to sell. Not too many fans have heard of or seen Zbik, while Lee would be a huge underdog against the seasoned Martinez (Lee must also first win his upcoming fight, this Saturday night on the Klitschko-Chisora card).
Maybe, with Martinez being so hot at the moment, fans will pay to see him against either guy. Maybe.
It is a shame, though, that Martinez won’t be getting a fight with Cotto – a fighter he said recently he would “love to face.”
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