Earlier this year, negotiations for a May fight between Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto, one of the biggest money fights the sport can offer in 2015, fell apart when Alvarez decided that Cotto was taking too long, moving on and quickly signing for a May 9 bout with James Kirkland instead.
With the recent announcement that Cotto will be facing Daniel Geale on June 6, ESPN.com reported this week that a fight between Cotto and Canelo is a "done deal," according to unnamed sources, as HBO was only willing to put on the Cotto-Geale fight if it were then given a major fight for Cotto in the fall.
The 34-year-old Cotto (39-4, 32 KO) will be fighting for the first time since his June 2014 win over a hobbled Sergio Martinez, a dominant win that didn't move the needle on pay-per-view as much as had been anticipated. That win also made Cotto the world middleweight champion, as well as the WBC titleholder. His fight with Geale will be at a 157-pound catchweight.
Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KO) hasn't fought since July, taking a longer break than he's ever had in his career. The 24-year-old Mexican was last seen beating Erislandy Lara in another PPV event, that one from Showtime, and Alvarez's last fight with the network, where he fought from 2012-14. He returned to HBO by signing an exclusive contract with the network last fall, and the bout with the dangerous Kirkland will be his first on the network since 2011, and his first fight under the HBO banner since May 2012.
But the key, of course, is both guys have to win, and though they will be favored heavily to get through these fights, anything can happen. Kirkland is a lethal puncher, especially early in fights, and has the sort of power to beat anyone he faces, even if he's otherwise fairly limited and pretty inconsistent. And Geale, a legitimate middleweight, is still a solid contender, even after being wiped out last year by Gennady Golovkin.
Don't forget, either, that the last time that Cotto had a "win this one and move on to the big fight with Canelo" outing, he was upset by Austin Trout in December 2012, and it was then Trout who went on to face Alvarez in 2013. Cotto also passed up a $6 million payday for a rematch with Manny Pacquiao and chose to fight Trout instead for $2 million, and the whole thing turned out to be a pretty big error on Cotto's side.
He's bounced back successfully since then, fighting once in 2013 and once in 2014, beating Delvin Rodriguez and Martinez, both hand-picked opponents, which Trout was, too, and which Geale is going into that fight. But this is certainly a situation where on both sides, Canelo's and Cotto's, the chickens can't be counted before they hatch. Wilder things have happened than one of them losing their upcoming fights.