Miguel Cotto did his part tonight, and now it looks like Canelo Alvarez is next. And Gennady Golovkin even received a little lip service, too. Cotto stopped Daniel Geale in round four tonight at the Barclays Center, retaining his WBC and RING Magazine middleweight championship in a one-sided performance where Geale looked, to the surprise of nobody who saw him at the weigh-in, like he had no energy.
Geale (31-4, 16 KO) got a taste of Cotto's plan immediately, as the Puerto Rican star came out and ripped to the body after the bell. He shook the Aussie challenger a couple of times in the opening round, and continued to have his way in rounds two and three.
Simply put, Geale did not look like he was in shape to compete, and he did not. After weighing in at a gaunt 157 pounds yesterday, he rehydrated to 182 overnight on the HBO unofficial scales, meaning he had tacked on a full 25 pounds. Weight advantage is one thing, but Geale's dramatic gain indicates that he wasn't healthy for the weigh-in -- which he admitted he wasn't -- and wasn't really in shape to take on a good fighter tonight.
Cotto (40-4, 33 KO) dropped Geale less than a minute into round four, then swarmed until he put him down a second time. Geale then told referee Harvey Dock that he'd had enough.
It wasn't really a ferocious performance from Cotto, despite the knockdowns and the strong body attack. It was really quite patient, measured, very focused. There's no doubt that Miguel Cotto is still a very good fighter. But it's tough to take much from his last three wins since training with Freddie Roach. He beat Delvin Rodriguez, a guy even the worst version of Cotto would have handled pretty easily, in a 2013 tune-up fight, then savaged a one-legged Sergio Martinez a year ago. And tonight, he had a weight-drained and weak version of Daniel Geale.
None of that is blaming Cotto for those issues. But it does suggest that the fight with Canelo Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KO), a healthy, young, strong junior middleweight in the prime of his life, is going to be the sort of challenge Cotto hasn't seriously faced since back to back losses to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout in 2012.
As for Golovkin, who was in attendance tonight and got a big ovation from the crowd, Cotto didn't shy away from a question about him.
"Why not? We need to do our fight, Canelo is the next one. After that, if Gennady is available and wants to fight, I'm available, too," Cotto said.
We'll see what happens in the future, but for now, Cotto marches on to Alvarez in the fall. And that's going to be a fight worth getting excited about.