by Cliff Rold
Miguel Cotto pointed to his official weight, 153.6 lbs., and said he’s not a Middleweight. Regardless, he remains history’s Middleweight Champion and his next defense will be huge.
Whether it is the expected showdown with Mexico’s Saul Alvarez, or perhaps even an unexpected rematch with Floyd Mayweather, Cotto’s next defense will be the richest fight in the division since Bernard Hopkins-Oscar De La Hoya in 2004.
The former might surpass it. The latter would likely blow it away.
All the best Middleweight in the world, Gennady Golovkin, can do is wait and watch.
Let’s go the report card.
Pre-Fight: Speed – Cotto B; Geale B+/Post: B+; B+
Pre-Fight: Power – Cotto B+; Geale C+/Post: A-; C+
Pre-Fight: Defense – Cotto B-; Geale B/Post: B+; C
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Cotto A; Geale A/Post: A; B-
After much discussion about the 157 lb. catchweight for Saturday’s fight, it was hard to say whether it had genuine affect in the ring. The hook Cotto put Geale down with, landing with that force and flush contact, likely drills Geale in any condition. Early on, Geale appeared to have some bounce in his legs and landed enough right hands to mark up the eye of Cotto.
Never a big puncher, it did little to deter a Cotto who is fighting with better form than he has in years. Defensively, Cotto looks more responsible under Roach than he was against foes like Joshua Clottey and Austin Trout. He’s working off the jab and going to the body with effective efficiency.
How long will this roll last? The opponents are about to get tougher and we’ll soon find out. Golovkin is the clear choice for best fighter in class, no matter who else has belts. He deserves his shot at the names in the division.
Canelo and Mayweather are the two fighters who are acceptable choices if Golovkin is to wait longer. Let’s be frank: if either man was posed as a foe for Golovkin, he might take them over Cotto. Mayweather has already beaten Cotto in one of the biggest pay-per-view fights of all time. A rematch would potentially be bigger.
Cotto-Alvarez is the fight the most people would pay to see in all of boxing that doesn’t involve Mayweather.
Both options are also real fights. Geale looked like he had a chance to be but wasn’t. Alvarez and Mayweather would be and there wouldn’t be any wonder about that before the opening bell. Let’s assume we get the more likely Cotto-Alvarez fight.
Does Alvarez’s countering ability nullify the in-and-out attack Cotto employed versus Geale? Can Canelo take a shot as hard as what Cotto landed on Geale? Will they go to a place like Cowboys Stadium where the fight might draw a Froch-Groves II sort of audience?
Would the NFL season allow for that? Put September aside. If Mayweather is fighting, no one else is running a pay-per-view that month. There are two notable gaps in the Cowboys schedule. They have a bye week followed by a road game between October 11 and November 1. They are also on the road for two games between November 8 and 22.
Would Cotto go to the Lone Star state? That’s a different issue.
In the meantime, we wait to see if Golovkin can get a big fight with former Super Middleweight titlist Carl Froch. If he can’t, maybe a unification bout with the winner of Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam-David Lemieux is possible.
Then, in 2016, maybe we will finally see the best Middleweight fight the best star left standing.
Report Card and Staff Picks 2015: 43-10
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]