Miguel Cotto could be back in the ring on December 1. Who will he face? (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto is reportedly looking at December 1 as the possible date for his return to the ring, but hasn't named any potential opponents, saying that he'll look over any offers that come his way and make a decision when the time comes.
Cotto last fought on May 5, losing to Floyd Mayweather in one of the most satisfying major pay-per-view main events in recent years, as it was not only a good, competitive fight, but there was no controversy with the outcome or anything like that.
Since Cotto isn't going to name names, let's be a bunch of jerks and do it for him. Who could Cotto face on December 1 if that's his return date?
Keep in mind first of all that Cotto (37-3, 30 KO) is in a position where he can fight anyone he wants to. As he's a promotional free agent running under his own banner these days, he can face Top Rank fighters, Golden Boy fighters, or anyone else. And since he's a star fighter who brings in real money himself, he also has a certain level of negotiating power. Outside of Mayweather, Pacquiao, and the Klitschkos, Cotto probably has the most leverage of anyone in the sport these days.
Floyd Mayweather Rematch
The idea has been batted around a bit since the first fight ended. Mayweather is currently in jail, which reportedly isn't going so hot for him, so it would seem unlikely to me that he's going to fight again in 2012, but if he did, December would make the most sense. He should be out of the clink in a month or so, which would give him time to get into shape, get a full camp in, and all of that. I think the fight was competitive enough in the eyes of enough people that a rematch would sell -- I don't think it would do quite as well as the first fight, but they'd do well.
Manny Pacquiao Rematch
Pacquiao is penciled in to return on November 10, so we're talking three weeks before Cotto's supposed target date here. If the money was good enough, it could happen. If they could talk Pacquiao into going up to 154, or talk Cotto into going back down to 147, it could happen. But I wouldn't expect this. I think Bob Arum would love to make this fight, but Pacquiao has a lot on his plate thanks to his last two fights, a controversial win over Juan Manuel Marquez, and a controversial loss to Timothy Bradley. To fight Cotto would make it look like Manny is avoiding both issues, and that's not good.
On the first episode of The Fight Game with Jim Lampley, Lampley told viewers that Richard Schaefer had told him that there was sort of a plan in place for Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KO) to fight again in September, then face Miguel Cotto in December, or at least that was possible and sort of an ideal, best case scenario. Alvarez has a fight scheduled for September 15 still, but there's no opponent. They're working on that, but at this point, there would be no surprise if Golden Boy had to push that back. But if they do run in Vegas on September 15, on Showtime or CBS or PPV or WealthTV or whatever they do, getting him back to face Cotto three months later might be short time, but it's certainly not impossible. This is a money fight.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr or Sergio Martinez
These two are reportedly set to meet on September 15 themselves. Cotto vs Chavez almost happened a couple of years ago, but Cotto turned it down to rest some injuries. We know Martinez wants it, but Cotto has kind of scoffed at the idea in the past, noting that he was making more money last year to rematch Antonio Margarito ($5 million plus PPV, which he didn't think he could get from a Sergio fight). If Sergio beat Julio, then maybe it's good enough to get Cotto that kind of money. Chavez and Cotto could do that, since Chavez beating Martinez would be a huge deal and make him more than just a star. With Chavez, this would depend on Cotto's willingness to go up to 160.
It could be someone else! How about THAT insight? You never really know. Last year, no one expected Victor Ortiz to be a viable Floyd Mayweather opponent, and then he was. Something odd could happen this summer that gives Cotto another possible opponent, but Miguel has made clear he's fighting for money, and Floyd, Manny, Canelo, and the JCC-Sergio winner are the money guys around him.