Miguel Cotto will be back in the ring this fall, and it looks like he could return smack in the middle of a huge run for boxing, as Golden Boy is holding a September 28 date at the Barclays Center for his return, ESPN.com reports via Richard Schaefer.
Schaefer says there is nothing set, just a held date. Usually, this does lead to a fight, and the talk from Cotto's camp the last few months has been that he planned to return later in the year and fight once in 2013.
Cotto (37-4, 30 KO) has lost two straight convincing decisions, first to Floyd Mayweather and then to Austin Trout in December. The Trout fight was an upset (by betting odds -- I know a lot of people thought Trout would win), and seemed to show us Miguel's limits at 154 pounds, where it figures that he'll struggle against true junior middleweights, particularly those who are younger, which most of the top guys are.
That said, there are vulnerable top 10 guys at 154, including IBF titlist Ishe Smith, who will face Carlos Molina on July 19, WBO titlist Zaurbek Baysangurov, who will face Demetrius Andrade on July 6.
The winners of those two fights could be targeted by Cotto if he wants to jump right back into a title fight, with the Smith-Molina winner probably the more likely of the two, if either could be made.
Meanwhile, BoxRec are already listing Cornelius "K9" Bundrage as Cotto's opponent. Bundrage lost the IBF belt to Smith on February 23 in Detroit.
The move to Barclays is somewhat significant, but not a surprise. Cotto's win streak at MSG was snapped by Trout, so any superstition about fighting there is gone, I would expect, and furthermore, MSG just wasn't exactly rocking for Cotto's last two fights there against Trout and Antonio Margarito. It was fine, and Miguel still drew good crowds, but as far as pure quality of venue -- not taking into account history and all that jazz -- there's no denying that Barclays is the hotter venue right now, the more modern, the fresher and newer. That's just a fact, and it's also been an early friend to boxing, with Golden Boy regularly promoting cards there and hoping to essentially rebuild what had become a rather stale New York City fight scene.