After reportedly having come to terms to rematch Manny Pacquiao on June 9, and then denying those reports last night, Miguel Cotto is now supposedly going to make a decision on his next fight this week, and the choices are Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Here's what Cotto's legal adviser Gabriel Peñagaricano said:
"I know [Mayweather adviser Leonard Ellerbe] and I have an excellent relationship with him. But it is still premature to say anything. We have to wait and see what happens. Honestly, the doors are open. Miguel, in terms of the date [May 5] has no problem. [And there is] no problem with June either [for Pacquiao]. Those choices are there. And this week should clarify things."
In the reactions to the Pacquiao vs Cotto rematch yesterday, a fair number of people said they'd prefer to see Miguel face Mayweather. I don't know if that's because there's an idea that he'd be more competitive against Mayweather, or just because they haven't seen that particular sportsbook mismatch before.
Cotto, as we've said before, is in an enviable position for a fighter. A free agent, he's enough of a draw on his own to not need to chase any fights. He wants big money, though -- and with his ability to draw, Miguel Cotto is now in a spot where he can call more shots than anyone but Floyd or Manny, and since he isn't tied to a promoter, Cotto may be calling more shots than Pacquiao actually does anymore.
I think what it will come down to, assuming this isn't all a bluff and that Pacquiao vs Cotto II isn't basically the done deal it was said to be yesterday morning, is payment. In recent fights, it's no secret that Manny Pacquiao's opponents get more money than Floyd Mayweather's opponents do. Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez both had $5 million guarantees against Pacquiao last year. Victor Ortiz, on the other hand, made a fairly pitiful $2 million to face Mayweather in a major event fight.
The $2 million that Mayweather's last opponent was paid was less than Cotto received for his December rematch with Antonio Margarito, and it's actually less than Margarito made in that fight, too. Cotto vs Margarito II was a big fight, the fourth-biggest of 2011 in America, and by far the third-biggest. But it wasn't one of the "MEGA EVENT SUPER SHOWS" or anything.
From the Mayweather and Golden Boy side -- again, assuming this isn't all just a bluff to keep a Pacquiao rematch announcement as "surprising" as possible -- this could also come down to desperation. Floyd has to fight someone on May 5, or that judge that gave him five months to delay his jail time is going to be pretty pissed off. Canelo Alvarez has come up, but Golden Boy really might prefer to not rush him into this fight. At 21, he'll still be there later this year or next year to fight Mayweather. Robert Guerrero is ruled out.
They just don't have anybody else, really. If Mayweather and Golden Boy can give Cotto a better deal than Top Rank and Pacquiao will, then of course I would expect Miguel Cotto to fight Mayweather, and even if it made Bob Arum mad, so what? It's business.