By Rick Reeno
As BoxingScene.com reported on Friday, former three division world champion Miguel Cotto will challenge undefeated WBA "regular" champion Austin Trout on December 1st at New York's Madison Square Garden. Cotto (37-3, 30KOs) vs. Trout (25-0, 14KOs) will not be a pay-per-view event, according to Cotto's longtime adviser Gaby Peñagarícano.
The announcement came as a surprise to many - because Cotto was one of three boxers being seriously considered for Manny Pacquiao's return on December 8th. Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley are the other two options being discussed by Pacquiao and his promoter, Top Rank.
Earlier this year, there were negotiations to make a Pacquiao-Cotto rematch. The two sides were unable to reach an agreement on the terms, and Cotto instead accepted an offer to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 5th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Although Cotto lost a twelve round unanimous decision, he performed much better than many people had expected.
According to Peñagarícano, Cotto's decision to ultimately select Trout over Pacquiao was made on Friday. When they negotiated earlier this year, the two fighters were unable to agree on the weight. This time around the situation was the same. Peñagarícano would not discuss the exact details of the weight issue, but he does confirm the two sides were unable to agree on the weight, among other terms related to the fight.
Sources with knowledge of the discussions told BoxingScene that Pacquiao was willing to go as high as 150-pounds, while Cotto wanted to fight at the full junior middleweight limit.
Cotto has done what few fighters have the ability to do, and he did it twice, as he turned down the opportunity to fight Pacquiao and elected to take another direction.
Peñagarícano points out to BoxingScene that Cotto is sitting in a far different position than most other fighters who are offered the opportunity to face Pacquiao. Cotto has the financial stability and the drawing power to make his own decisions without the influence of money, says Peñagarícano. When it comes to boxing, Cotto is recognized as the third highest draw on pay-per-view. While Cotto was very interested in attempting to avenge a 2009 TKO loss to Pacquiao, the Puerto Rican star was not happy with the terms being offered.
"There were still some open issues about some of the terms of the fight in which we could not reach an agreement. Plus, I think the most important thing is Miguel is in a position where he's willing to say 'no' to these big fights if the terms are not 100% acceptable to him. In other words, most of these opponents simply accept the big fights because there is a lot of money in them. Miguel is not in that position. He doesn't need the money. Contrary to most of the guys who will fight Manny, Miguel will not concede anything. He's in a position where he can comfortably not take the fight," Peñagarícano told BoxingScene.com.
After Cotto and Peñagarícano realized they were not going to reach an agreement for a Pacquiao rematch, they finalized the fight with Trout, who Cotto felt was the best available option.
"There were several options, but you know how Miguel is. From the options available he always goes for the toughest challenge. Trout is undefeated and he's a world champion," Peñagarícano said.
Cotto's promotional company, Cotto Promotions, will be the lead promoter on December 1st, with Golden Boy Promotions assisting them as the co-promoter of the event. Several fighters who are promoted by Cotto's company will appear on the undercard. Both HBO and Showtime are reportedly interested in picking up the fight. In the coming weeks a decision will be announced regarding the network.