By Lem Satterfield
Although Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum still is undecided on where the Dec. 3 rematch between WBA junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico and ex-titlist Antonio Margarito of Mexico will take place, he told BoxingScene.com that New York's Madision Square Garden is ahead in the considerations over the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The battle is the return bout of a 2008 clash that ended with Margarito (38-7, 27 knockouts) handing Cotto (36-2, 29KOs) the first loss of his professional career with an 11th-round stoppage the MGM Grand.
"It looks like New York, but Las Vegas still is in the running," said Arum. "New York is in the lead right it's not done yet."
A former two-time welterweight and one-time junior welterweight champion, the 30-year-old Cotto's fights have been arguably the most popular of any present-day boxer's at Madison Square Garden, where he often has fought in June on the eve of New York's City's annual Puerto Rican Day parade.
Cotto is 8-0, with three knockouts when fighting in New York, and he is 6-0 at Madison Square Garden, where four of those contests have taken place on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade.
"Basically, Miguel prefers New York City," said Cotto's legal adviser, Gaby Penagaricano. "But he's willing to consider Las Vegas if financially it makes a significant change for the event."
Arum had said, however, that New York fights had been cost-prohibitive, particular for an inaugural winter bout featuring Cotto, whose closest bout to that time of year in New York was a November, 2007, unanimous decision victory over Shane Mosley at Madison Square Garden.
"The problems with New York is the expenses with the hotel situation. In the beginning of December, the rates are through the cieling," Arum had told BoxingScene.com on July 6., adding that Madison Square Garden, at the time, was "attempting to get us a really good hotel deal," and that, "Another problem is that the Garden, because of their union, is a very expensive building to operate in."
On Tuesday, however, Arum said New York officials came back with a nice package for the hotels, making MSG a more attractive and likely venue for the 33-year-old Margarito and Cotto to rematch.
Arum also said that he has not yet determined which network, HBO or Showtime, will get to televise either the Cotto-Margarito fight that or the Nov. 12, third bout between eight-division titlist and WBO welterweight king Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) and WBO and WBA light weight titlist Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs).
The two networks are in a bidding war over the two bouts.
"We're expecting Showtime's proposal today or tomorrow," said Arum.