Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Miguel Cotto Factor

A month ago, people couldn't get enough of them. Now, everyone wants them to just go away. Yup, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao can't retire quickly enough for boxing fans (okay, they may tolerate one more fight for Floyd). It's time, it seems, for some new blood, for the page to turn, for a fresh spring to bloom. We live in shallow times, after all, and the masses want something new and shiny.

Yet, in a sense, people are right to wish to move forward. Since there truly is a season for everything it's only natural to assume that the endless Mayweather-Pacquiao season is finally wrapping up. Just like Hagler-Leonard truly gave way to the Tyson era, Mayweather-Pacquiao will organically give way to another era. The question, now, however, is who this new era will belong to.

Obvious names come to mind: Bud Crawford, Vasyl Lomanchenko, Sergey Kovalev. Perhaps most of all, however, people are expecting Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez to be the sport's next golden boys (no pun intended). It's easy to see why.

Both represent something refreshing - a willingness to face new challenges. That's still an odd thing in the Haymon era. Sadly, it seems, fighters such as Leo Santa Cruz and Adonis Stevenson are more in keeping with the times. Until proven otherwise, these are two true representatives of the Kardashian age - people who put business before achievement.

No one in their right minds will accuse Golovkin and Canelo of being of the money first variety. This is especially true in the case of Canelo, who fought the slick and skilled Erislandy Lara rather than take the easy way out. As for Golovkin - hey, he's waiting for someone really good to step in the ring with him.

It's easy to see, then, why these two are front and center in line for the position of "next superstar."

Yet someone is standing in their way. A relic from the past, if you will. A multi-division titlist who now holds the middleweight crown even though he's not really a middleweight. I'm writing, of course, about Miguel Cotto, lineal and WBC middleweight title holder.

All you have to do is hop on Twitter to see that Cotto isn't just a major possible opponent for Canelo and Golovkin, he's an enormous roadblock, the guardian who won't let these faces of the future pass into a new era. The fact that the man also seems about as fun as a dead bass outside the ring at times doesn't help Cotto in the PR department either.

Here's something people need to keep in mind, however:

Cotto is a legendary fighter. What's more, his victory over Sergio Martinez last year wasn't a fluke. People can say he crushed an injured old man all they want - the fact is that Cotto looked amazing that night. Like him or not, trainer Freddie Roach has given the dude a second chance at boxing life and Cotto appears to be making the most of it.

So...will Cotto go the route of so many greats by eventually being trampled well pas this prime by an up-and-comer? Or will he take part in another new era - one started by a Mr. Bernard Hopkins, an era which says this season's old man ain't like last season's old man?

It will be interesting to find out.

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