By Ryan Burton
Leading up to Manny Pacquiao's demolishing of Miguel Cotto, a lot was written about Miguel Cotto's trainer Joe Santiago, and his lack of experience. An experienced corner and quick reflexes were thought to be Pacquiao's biggest advantages. All of those advantages were proven to be true on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Cotto started out strong in the first round but he didn't and/or couldn't make the adjustments necessary to win the fight and a lot of that has to fall on Santiago. In reality a different trainer wouldn't have changed the final outcome but the fight may have been more competitive.
On the other hand, Pacquiao tasted Cotto's power and knew right away that he could take the punches. With the help of his corner, he was able to adjust and dominate the fight.
During the post fight press conference in Las Vegas, Bob Arum was asked if Cotto could still compete at the championship. Arum says he could.
"Cotto can compete with any of the top welterweights in the world just not with that super human Manny Pacquiao," Arum said.
While that statement may probaby ring true, let's examine a couple of facts:
1. Cotto has taken a beating in three out of his last four fights.
2. Cotto has regressed under Joe Santiago's tutelage. Most believe that Cotto is training himself and Santiago is the trainer in name only.
Cotto needs a trainer that isn't his friend. He needs a trainer who can crack the whip and make the necessary adjustments to sculp Cotto into an elite fighter again. Wholesale changes aren't necessary but a few minor adjustments can get him back to being the thoroughbred he was.
The trainer he needs is Nacho Beristain.
It really makes perfect sense from a boxing standpoint. Miguel Cotto is a great counter puncher like Juan Manuel Marquez. Cotto's loss further illustrates the greatness of Juan Manuel Marquez and Nacho Beristain. Marquez was too small for Mayweather but has fought the only competitive fights with Manny Pacquiao in recent years and Beristain has to be given a lot of credit for that. Besides the fights with Pacquiao, Marquez's victories over Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz after moving up to lightweight at an advanced age further illustrate the greatness of Beristain.
Admittedly, it is difficult to picture Miguel Cotto running in the mountains outside of Mexico City training for a fight and it is also hard to imagine Nacho Beristain going to Puerto Rico to train Cotto.
What is possible though is Beristain training Cotto in Florida. I don't think Cotto wants to make any excuses for losing his latest fight and firing his trainer could be perceived as an excuse. In reality Cotto doesn't need to fight anymore. He could easily retire but that doesn't seem likely. After the pay-per-view buys are tallied, his purse will easily top the 10 million dollar mark. At the age of 29 he isn't old and he may still be in his prime provided this latest beating didn't leave him like Erik Morales at the same age.
Cotto hiring Beristain is the first move that should be made along with a well needed vacation. During that time, Bob Arum should look at getting Cotto a fight with Ricky Hatton. As reported by BoxingScene.com's Terence Dooley, Hatton told The Sun he was interested in fighting Cotto - if Cotto were to defeat Pacquiao. Actually this fight makes more sense with both men coming off losses to Pacquiao.
A fight like this in Las Vegas brings a lot of money to both fighters and a win puts the winner back in the mix for another mega fight. Hatton hasn't looked good at 147 pounds and if they met at 145 pounds - Cotto would be a significant favorite.
Hatton is a great comeback fight for the Puerto Rican star and during this frame Antonio Margarito will be looking at possibly having his suspension lifted. If Margarito gets reinstated and wins a tuneup or two, and Cotto beats Hatton, it sets up an interesting backdrop, Margarito versus Cotto II. Their first fight did close to 500,000 pay per views and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was close to a full house.
Obviously this time around Margarito's hand wraps would be checked and re-checked more times than Santa Claus checks his Christmas list. A fight with Margarito is a chance at redemption for Cotto. Even though Cotto has said that he won't fight Margarito again, Bob Arum has a way of persuading his fighters to make the fights he wants. Cotto versus Margarito II is a big money maker for Top Rank and both fighters.
A big purse plus a chance to basically erase the controversial loss in the first fight may be enough to entice Cotto. A win over Margarito is far from certain but if he is able to emerge victorious in that fight, and couple it with the win over Hatton, and Cotto is back in position for another super fight.
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