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Miguel Cotto Rolls the Dice: Announces Hiring of Freddie Roach and Return to Top Rank

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COMMENTARY | Through his official Twitter account, three-division former world champ, Miguel Cotto, blew more than a few minds Saturday afternoon with his big announcement. Not only will he be returning to HBO for his next fight on October 5, but he'll also be reuniting with Top Rank Promotions and working under the guidance of new trainer Freddie Roach.

"I will be back in the ring on Oct 5th on @hboboxing with @trboxing and @freddieroach in my corner." - Miguel Cotto

The announcement blows apart speculation that he may be next in line to face Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, regardless of what happens in the 22-year-old Mexican's bout with Floyd Mayweather on September 14.

A return to HBO and Top Rank puts Cotto, who is 0-2 in his last two fights (against Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout), in a fairly tight spot and will likely prevent him from being able to take most of the big money fights available in a junior middleweight division dominated by Top Rank rival, Golden Boy Promotions.

Other than Alvarez, Golden Boy also has Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, and Cornelius Bundrage in their stable of fighters as well as friendly working arrangements with IBF champ, Ishe Smith (Through Mayweather Promotions) and Austin Trout (Through adviser, Al Haymon).

Top Rank, on the other hand, claims Vanes Martirosyan as the highest-profile junior middleweight currently under contract.

However, this doesn't mean that Cotto will be left without opponents. There are enough non-Golden Boy fighters floating around to keep the Puerto Rican battler busy for the next couple of years - and at 32 years of age with a long, tiring body of work behind him, Cotto may only be looking for a small handful of fights before retirement.

Heavily rumored to be the frontrunner for Cotto's October 5 return is upset specialist, Carlos Molina, who was scheduled to face Ishe Smith for the IBF title on July 19 before a cut forced Smith to pull out of the Showtime-televised world title bout. Molina lacks firepower and the glitz of a bankable draw, but the Mexican spoiler always puts forth an honest effort and delivers compelling performances.

Recent reports, however, have named long-time fringe contender Delvin Rodriguez as Cotto's next opponent.

Down the line, James Kirkland, who was recently granted his release from Golden Boy, could also serve as a legitimate and much deadlier opponent for the former WBA titlist. Factor in Martirosyan as well as any other surprise that may wander through junior middleweight and Cotto should be set for opposition.

"With this in mind," Cotto wrote via Twitter. "I will keep working hard for the best benefits for me my family and my company. [I] Will give more details ahead."

For Cotto, the return to the familiar territory of HBO/Top Rank obviously felt like the best short-term move to make. And while these moves may have an immediate bottom line effect on his bank account and career trajectory, the addition of Freddie Roach could make a significant impact on what he does in the ring.

It's true that, in boxing, you can't teach old dogs new tricks, but even with most of his career behind him Cotto may be able to tighten up some technical defects that have dogged him for his entire professional life. The Boricua champ has always been a world class fighter with a few subtle flaws that have prevented him from being a true elite, pound-for-pound presence. With Roach, a trainer who specializes in an offense-first, high-impact style that could suit him well, Cotto could actually counter the effects of a long, tough career and add a few more years by becoming a more fundamentally sound boxer.

But then again, all of this could be for naught and Cotto could be passing up on the last few major paydays available to him as a fighter precariously close to the end of his run. Obviously, by adding Roach and going back to Top Rank, Cotto is rolling the dice and betting on his own ability to turn things around and claw his way back to the top. Boxing would expect nothing less of a warrior like Miguel Cotto.

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Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.

Sources: Miguel Cotto's Official Twitter Account. Boxingscene

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