Despite taking an L to Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto is still a hot commodity and will use his New York base as a return to the ring. Cotto doesn’t have an opponent yet, but his return is being planned.
The former four-division champion, who lost his middleweight title to Canelo Alvarez in November, will reportedly return June 18 to headline his own HBO Pay-Per-View show, according to a person familiar with Cotto and Roc Nation.
A hold has been placed on Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., the site of Cotto’s June 2015 victory over Daniel Geale. The New York State Athletic Commission was also notified Cotto will fight on that date. That would mean consecutive fight weeks in New York, with Top Rank set to stage Felix Verdejo’s next fight on June 11 at Madison Square Garden.
Messages to both Cotto’s advisor Gaby Penagaricano, and David Itskowitch of Roc Nation Sports (Cotto’s promoter) were not returned.
Now, the question is, whom will the Puerto Rican star face? With the middleweight title off his waist, Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) can return to the junior middleweight division, a weight class full of good fighters.
Cotto wants and needs to be on pay-per-view to satisfy the huge guarantee Roc Nation owes him as part of the deal he signed last year, and here are a few ideal opponents for the Puerto Rican legend.
Al Haymon and Jay Z don’t business because of some issues involving music and Beyonce allegedly, so the huge list of fighters that include 14 leading contenders at or around the 147-pound classification can’t be included.
1. Argentinian welterweight Diego Chaves (23-2-1, 19 KOs) is possible opponent, with the 29-year-old probably needing a tune up, since he hasn’t fought since 2014. Chaves is a good puncher, and could give Cotto some problems.
2. Andy Lee (34-3-1, 25 KOs) has practically volunteered for the gig, and at 6-foot-2, he would have a seven-=inch height and a four-inch reach advantage over Cotto. A true middleweight, Lee would be attempting to pull off an Austin Trout-sized upset.
3. Ruslan Provodnikov fights as a welterweight, but has the chin and rugged style that would allow him to survive Cotto, while making the fight interesting. Roc Nation Sports is being sued by Provodnikov’s promoter Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions, so the bout is unlikely.