By Rick Reeno
As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, former three division world champion Miguel Cotto (37-4, 30KOs) will officially return to the ring on October 5th. Cotto will return to HBO for the first time since the May 2012 decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. Cotto's last fight, a decision loss to Austin Trout, was televised by Showtime.
According to several sources, the frontrunner to fight Cotto is junior middleweight contender Delvin Rodriguez (28-6-3, 16KOs) in a venue located in Florida.
Gaby Peñagarícano, Cotto's attorney and adviser, confirmed to BoxingScene.com that Rodriguez was under serious consideration, but nothing was signed. He also downed the widely circulated rumor that Cotto was going to face Carlos Molina. The fight is likely heading to Florida, in either Miami or Orlando, says Peñagarícano. Making his return in New York City was not a possibility because Madison Square Garden is closed on October 5th and Barclays Center has an exclusive deal with Golden Boy Promotions.
"Delvin is a possibility, he is in consideration. We are working on various opponents and Delvin is one of them. Nothing has been agreed to with anyone yet, but we are working on it. We are working on Florida, which is why we didn't announce anything officially [for the venue]. We are trying to close it in Florida...Miami is one place and Orlando is the other. The Garden is closed on October 5th, so New York is a little bit difficult and Brooklyn is obviously not a possibility. Florida is the most viable option," Peñagarícano said to BoxingScene.com.
For his next fight, Cotto will reunite with Top Rank. The Puerto Rican star was promoted by Top Rank for nearly his entire career. After his contract expired on December 31st of 2011, he made a decision to become a free agent. His last two fights, Mayweather and Trout, were co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
Peñagarícano made it very clear that Cotto is working with Top Rank, and HBO, on a fight by fight basis - as he did with Golden Boy and Showtime. And also indicates there is no tension or bad feelings that influenced Cotto and his team to walk across the street.
"Miguel is free agent and he will remain a free agent, both promotional wise and network wise. He is and will continue to be a free agent, Peñagarícano said. "We have always had an excellent relationship with Top Rank, but there are no options, no agreements, no commitments of any kind. We have always had an excellent relationship and look forward to working with them for this fight as we were for the other fights with Golden Boy."
"We have absolutely nothing negative to say about Golden Boy, Showtime or the two fights we did together. We have an absolutely excellent relationship with them. Nothing that we're doing has anything to do with any type of problems with them. To the contrary, we remain very good friends and have an excellent relationship with [Golden Boy CEO] Richard [Schaefer], [Golden Boy President] Oscar [De La Hoya] and [Showtime VP] Stephen [Espinoza]. Everything is positive."
There are several rumors going around about potential future opponents for Cotto, including a catch-weight bout with WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez - but Cotto is not looking past his next fight.
"The promoters may have their plans, but Miguel does not have any plans beyond October the 5th. Miguel is focused on October the 5th, let's get that win. I think there are going to be many opportunities after October the 5th. We are not thinking about Martinez or anybody else after October the 5th. Let's get the win and see what the opportunities after that. Miguel will decide what's best for him as he did with this fight," Peñagarícano said.
And other big item for Cotto's return, is the addition of veteran trainer Freddie Roach, who handles Manny Pacquiao, Ruslan Provodnikov, Frankie Gomez, Vanes Martirosyan and many others. Cotto is parting ways with Cuban coach Pedro Diaz, but the two of them left off on very good terms. Roach Manny Pacquiao for his fight with Cotto in 2009 - which saw the Filipino eight division champion stop Cotto in the twelfth round.
Roach advised Cotto and his team that he wouldn't have a problem traveling over to Orlando for training camp. Cotto has trained in Orlando for several of his recent fights. However, Cotto will also try his best to accommodate Roach by potentially coming out to Los Angeles to train at the Wild Card Gym.
"I tell everyone, in my opinion Pedro is one of the best trainers in the world. I like him and I would recommend him to any fighter. He is excellent. Miguel was coming off a loss with Trout. We've know Freddie for many years - even before the Pacquiao fight. We have an excellent relationship. We met and it just clicked. Miguel wants to try that in probably the last leg of his career. We've got nothing negative to say about Pedro. This is about opportunities. Freddie wanted to do it as well. He was honored to do it. It's something new and fresh, coming off a loss, and it just clicked," says Peñagarícano.
"In our meeting, Freddie was completely clear that it was an honor to train Miguel and he was 100% committed from the beginning of August until the fight, to going to Orlando, where Miguel has a house and trained for his last two or three fights - and Freddie had told us that he was 100% committed to have a camp in Orlando with Miguel. That is no problem at all. Freddie might have a few things in LA, so Miguel might accommodate Freddie - if he can - in training in LA. That might happen...it hasn't been sorted out yet, but it might happen."