By Keith Idec
Miguel Cotto and Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports have agreed to part ways, according to a report posted by ESPN.com on Thursday.
The contract reportedly was supposed to pay Cotto a total of $50 million for three fights had he completed it. Cotto left Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., his longtime promoter, to sign with Roc Nation Sports in March 2015, but has fought just twice for the company.
The 36-year-old Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) had been preparing at trainer Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club, but reportedly left Hollywood, California, earlier this week because Cotto couldn’t come to an agreement with Roc Nation Sports on date or site for his next fight. Cotto and Roc Nation Sports had been trying to arrange a fight against Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai for June 24 and later for an undisclosed date in July.
Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KOs), who’s represented by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, signed a contract to participate in the fight. Cotto had not signed and seemingly couldn’t come to an agreement with Roc Nation Sports on what he would’ve been paid for a low-profile fight in which there wasn’t much public interest.
Decision-makers for HBO Sports, which had televised many of Cotto’s previous fights, wouldn’t agree to broadcast a Cotto-Kamegai match unless Cotto committed to a more important fight if he defeated Kamegai.
Cotto, Puerto Rico’s first four-division champion, apparently grew tired of waiting. He hasn’t fought since losing a unanimous decision to Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) in November 2015 in Las Vegas.
He was supposed to fight James Kirkland on February 25 in Frisco, Texas, but the fight was canceled because Kirkland reportedly suffered a broken nose during a sparring session. Cotto-Kirkland was supposed to headline an HBO Pay-Per-View card, but rescheduling the ill-fated fight was never even discussed.
Rumors regarding Cotto fights against Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez also have circulated since Alvarez beat him, but neither match materialized. One of boxing’s biggest stars over the past decade, Cotto repeatedly has said that 2017 would be his last year as an active boxer.
Cotto’s loss to Alvarez was the second bout of Cotto’s three-fight contract with Roc Nation Sports.
The company signed Andre Ward and Cotto within a two-month stretch early in 2015, but hasn’t added another star fighter to its stable since then. Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) signed a five-year contract with Roc Nation Sports and according to his co-manager, Josh Dubin, has multiple fights left on his deal following his rematch against Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) on June 17 in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.