COMMENTARY I Saturday night's fight was a mere formality. The search for bigger and better things for Miguel Cotto had likely begun shortly before Delvin Rodriguez had entered the picture as a possible opponent for the former three-division Puerto Rican world champ.
Despite a half-hearted attempt at selling Rodriguez as a viable opponent, everybody who knew boxing knew that this was designed to be a one-sided romp.
Miguel Cotto can look superhuman when lined up against a second or third tier opponent. The real and damning defects he has are masked well by a superior offensive skill set that is absolute poison for the average pug.
Rodriguez, a solid ESPN2-level fighter, realized the true disparity in talent very early on in their bout at Orlando, Florida's Amway Center. Almost from the opening bell, the Domican-born native of Danbury, Connecticut, looked like a kid running from a swarm of bees, showing the same frantic sense of impending doom that Michael Jennings and Yuri Foreman displayed when matched against a comeback-minded Cotto in the past.
The TKO 3 defeat of Rodriguez was no surprise, nor was the hit list of big names rolled out after the victory. It was the same list of names being tossed about while Team Cotto was trying to sell Cotto-Rodriguez.
If talking points are to be believed, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Sergio Martinez are on the short list of possible Cotto opponents. Many others surely want a crack at Cotto as well because not only does he bring a large and loyal Puerto Rican fan base with him when he fights, but he's also an infinitely vulnerable fighter-even with new trainer, Freddie Roach at his side.
When it comes to Cotto's future, though, a lot depends on the decisions he makes right now. After two fights as a promotional free agent, Cotto rejoined forces with Top Rank for the Rodriguez bout-a shrewd move on the part of Cotto, who capitalized on HBO's desperation to lure Cotto over to their airwaves by offering a huge $2 million payday for such a low-risk bout.
Now, though, Cotto has to choose whether he wants to align himself with Top Rank, Golden Boy, or remain a free agent. His decision will impact his ability to follow through with the rest of his career.
In the post-fight press conference Saturday night, the native of Caguas, Puerto Rico may have inadvertently revealed his future plans when asked about the possibility of a bout with Saul Alvarez.
"For that fight to occur, Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions would have to sit down and talk about it," Cotto told the assembled media. "It's not closing doors, but we need to talk about it."
Reading between the lines, Cotto sees himself more aligned with Top Rank than not and that could mean that the most coveted fights, from a fan perspective, may be long shots to ever happen. An allegiance to Bob Arum's Top Rank means that anything involving a Golden Boy fighter (Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, etc.) would be a virtual impossibility. It also means that anything that comes along may have to be in-house, Top Rank-friendly opposition. So, even a Sergio Martinez clash may be hard to make.
Despite his dominant destruction of Delvin Rodriguez on Saturday, everybody is quite aware of the fact that Miguel Cotto is in the very final stages of his career. Cotto will have to decide whether his last days in the sport will be spent chasing after easy money and paper belts or in search of legacy-defining career-closers.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. 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.
Source: Boxingscene, ESPN
- Sports & Recreation
- Miguel Cotto
- Delvin Rodriguez
- Sergio Martinez