What's Next for Miguel Cotto?

Manny Pacquiao was clearly the better man tonight, but that doesn't need to mean that it's the last we see of Miguel Cotto. via Associated Press

We're less than a couple hours removed from Manny Pacquiao's demolition of Miguel Cotto, and there are already calls for his retirement.  While he certainly took a lot of damage in this fight, Cotto still has many good options out there.  Retirement isn't out of the question, but it may not be ideal either.  Conventional wisdom would put Cotto smack in the middle of his prime, and he's still a world-class fighter.  Here are a few of my recommendations.

Take a little time off.  Not only to heal your wounds and your psyche, but to enjoy life for a little while.  You have a lovely wife and three beautiful children, and it's obvious that you all love each other very much.  Taking a little time away from boxing and spending some time with the family may help you get grounded, and figure out whether your heart is still in the sport.  If it is, there are plenty of directions you could go.

If you still want to compete at the top, then by all means, go for it.  You'll need to build back up your reputation anyway, and that should give you some time to recover.  A year from now, a Mosley rematch is still probably a great fight.  A Berto match is probably a great fight.  And even if it's unlikely that you'd beat Mayweather, it's also unlikely that you'd take too much sustained damage in that fight.

If you don't, that's fine as well.  Welterweight isn't the deepest division in the world, but Bob Arum has made a great living selling mismatches as smaller pay per views.  You would still be a heavy favorite over Kermit Cintron, which would be a big fight in Puerto Rico.  Same for Luis Collazo.  And people have to be kidding themselves if they think the next tier of welterweights, the Selcuk Aydins and the Isaac Hlatswayos of the world, would even have a chance of beating you.  You can probably make a solid living facing these guys for the next few years, and build up enough of a bankroll to not only pay for your own retirement, but for your children's retirement.

However, whichever direction you decide to take, one thing is clear: Joe Santiago should not be your head trainer.  There were many reports that in camp, you were essentially training yourself, and it was clear that Joe just didn't know how to help you make adjustments during the big fight.  This doesn't mean you need to dump your loyal friend; rather, keep him as your second man, someone you trust, and find an established and knowledgeable trainer who's able to guide you and help you make adjustments.  Not only will it help you as a fighter, but it will help your career, preventing you from taking prolonged punishment like you did tonight.

Cotto's never been someone to back down from a challenge.  That tendency scares me a little bit, but he can still take on some challenges.  And even if he doesn't, it's not the end of the world.  Many great fighters have made a very good living taking the safe fights.  Considering Cotto's legacy up to this point, I don't think anyone can fault him if he decides to take that route from this point forward.

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