It seems almost certain already that on November 14 of this year, pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao will face Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto in a bout that has Fight of the Year contender written all over it. Here we are in June, just four days removed from Cotto's debated, grueling win over Joshua Clottey, and the fires are already being lit.
Top Rank chief Bob Arum (promoter of both fighters) said it's up to Miguel Cotto now, and that the Pacquiao side has agreed in principle to take the fight. Arum also thinks he may be able to get the two sides to hammer out terms as early as this week, which seems wildly optimistic given the way negotiations can drag and how quickly minds change in boxing.
As for the weight, it won't be a full 147-pound welterweight limit, which it should be, but Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach call the shots. If you want to the money that comes with fighting Pacquiao, you have to bend a little, and Cotto seems willing to do so. Cotto wants to go no lower than 145. Pacquiao wants 144. It is what it is. I'm really sick of catchweight limits, though.
The floating rumor that Floyd Mayweather Jr. pulled out of his July 18 date with Juan Manuel Marquez to instead pursue a fight with Pacquiao has been shot down by Arum, who notes that Mayweather is "obligated to fight Marquez," and that if he pulled out and hoped to deal instead with Pacquiao, "everyone's going to get sued." You can be damn sure that Golden Boy would sue Mayweather and Top Rank if that were to happen, which could kick off a whole new cold war between boxing's two biggest firms.
Speaking of Golden Boy, they're doing their best to try to make Pacquiao-Shane Mosley happen, but it's just not going to. It's too late -- the Pacquiao-Cotto wheels are in motion, and that's a bigger money fight anyway, plus it's one where Arum gets to keep a lot more cash. Oscar de la Hoya says that nobody wants to fight Mosley, and that Cotto would have a harder time coming down in weight than would Shane. I don't know about the latter part -- it would be hell for either of them, and Mosley was asked if he could boil all the way down to 142. Plain and simple, Roach wants nothing to do with Shane Mosley, and I think that's the real sticking point. They don't see Cotto as being quite so dangerous, so they'll give him a couple more pounds.
Richard Schaefer and Bernard Hopkins also think Pacquiao is avoiding Mosley.
Who trains Cotto is another question. With Evangelista Cotto firmly out of the picture, Cotto went with Joe Santiago for the Clottey fight, but everyone knows that isn't a permanent position. Emmanuel Steward contacted Bob Arum about the job, and Arum told Steward to talk to Cotto. I think it's a horrible fit, to be honest, and a large part of that is I just don't think Manny's all that great of a trainer anymore. The absolute best fit for Cotto would be Freddie Roach, in my view, but that's not happening for obvious reasons. There are a lot of better, cheaper trainers than Manny Steward in boxing today, and I'm not bashing the man. He's a Hall of Fame trainer for a reason.