With a potential fight between Miguel Cotto and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. seeming less likely to be made, a rumored backup plan has emerged. Rick Reeno reports at BoxingScene.com that Top Rank is considering a double-header with the two fighters for the same date, moving from Madison Square Garden to Atlantic City. Cotto would defend his 154-pound trinket against countryman Kermit Cintron, while Chavez would take on Pawel Wolak.
If you're wondering about the possible conflict between this card and a Tomasz Adamek-Vinny Maddalone fight on Dec. 4 which was also being looked at in Atlantic City or Newark, that will work itself out. Main Events is waiting to finalize that date, and it could wind up on Thursday, December 9 instead, if a Cotto card conflicts with the date.
Cotto-Cintron is a somewhat long-awaited fight going back to the two of them as top welterweights. Now both campaigning at 154, the Puerto Rican stars still make for an intriguing matchup. Cotto (5'7", 67" reach) is smaller but more skilled than Cintron (5'11", 74" reach), who has over the years garnered a reputation for not responding well to adversity. Cotto's (35-2, 28 KO) comeback campaign began in June with a win over Yuri Foreman, and he is trained by Emanuel Steward now, Cintron's former trainer. Cintron (32-3-1, 28 KO) has looked at times like a reborn fighter under Ronnie Shields, but also at times like the same old good-but-not-great, oddly unpredictable fighter he's always been.
Cintron has been out of the ring since a bizarre loss to Paul Williams in May, where in the fourth round he flew out of the ring and lay motionless at ringside. Once he was placed on a stretcher, he began raising a ruckus about wanting to continue. By California rules, the four rounds were scored, and Williams left with an unsatisfying technical decision victory. Many felt that Cintron was fighting very well and indeed winning the bout at the time of stoppage, but it was such a weird ending that his short success in the ring that night is secondary to the ending.
Chavez (41-0-1, 30 KO) was set to face Pawel Wolak (27-1, 17 KO) in September before plans started to form to have him face Cotto in a big year-end fight instead. But now with Chavez refusing to travel to the Philippines to train with Freddie Roach during Manny Pacquiao's camp, we might be back at square one. Wolak was in talks to face Vanes Martirosyan, another Roach fighter, on the 12/4 undercard if the whole thing came together as imagined.
Wolak is no pushover. He's certainly not the best fighter out there, and he's a bit undersized for a junior middleweight, but in that regard, he would actually be a really good test for Chavez to see if Chavez should fight Miguel Cotto sometime in the near future. Chavez has had trouble cutting to 154 in the recent past, which might be a concern easier dealt with if he could fight Wolak with an agreed-to max weight of 156 or so, if that's the route they wanted to go. Wolak is a fighter who brings good energy and has a good motor, but he's not the most skilled guy out there, and isn't a huge puncher. As far as matchmaking goes, Wolak is a good choice to gauge Chavez for a Cotto fight down the line, and he presents enough risk for Junior Chavez that it's not just a tune-up.
I actually prefer this card to going right into a Cotto-Chavez fight, personally. If they both win, it'll still be there in 2011, and could even be a darkhorse contender for the first Saturday in May PPV, which is a traditional big boxing weekend.