Miguel Cotto, the 34-year-old future Hall of Famer, announced that he would be joining Roc Nation's boxing department on ESPN's First Take program on Thursday morning. The move shows that the Jay Z crew is dead serious about being a mega-player in the boxing space, if their signing of Andre Ward didn't already show that.
Cotto then took questions at an intimate lunch in NYC, at the tony 21 Club on 52nd St. and told media that he will fight June 6, in NYC, venue and TV and foe TBA.
The fighter said that he aligned with Roc because they showed him the “respect” that others didn't, and he was referring to his long time partners at Top Rank. His stern face spoke volumes and he declined to delve in deeper that that relationship.
Cotto was joined by Roc Sports president Juan Perez, and Michael Yormark, the president of Roc Nation, which handles sports and music, were present, along with David Itskowitch, the COO of Roc Nation Sports boxing.
Yormark said that the offer to Cotto, which he termed a multifight, multi-year deal, but didn't disclose terms, made sense to the fighter because it will serve him after his fighting days end. (A source told me that the rumored $10 million signing bonus is just that, a rumor.) The fighter said he doesn't know how long he will fight, but promised the Roc execs that he will work hard, and make them happy.
He said that Amir Khan is in the mix to be his June 6 foe, and word is that K9 Bundrage has the inside track. Cotto holds a middleweight title, but said he isn't sure if he will fight at 160 next, or anytime soon. He will do, he said, what is best for his family.
So, will Cotto fight on HBO next or Showtime..or with someone else? An HBO source said that they have an alliance with Top Rank, and will they be inclined to partner up with Roc, after Roc snared Cotto? TBD. Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza told me that he'd be open to having Cotto on Sho, depending on the foe he faces.
Cotto said also that he's open to fighting Canelo Alvarez, maybe this year, so that could give you a hint about who will be working with Roc.
Cotto made it clear that a philanthropy element loomed large for him in choosing the Roc deal, and there will be Cotto Promotions fighters on Roc/Cotto cards, six of them, in Puerto Rico within the year. (Cotto is keen on fighting child-hooh obesity.) There will be a musical side to the deal as well. Cotto smiled, yes he smiled, when I asked if like Oscar and Manny, he would be singing. No, he said, “I know my limits.”
Someone asked about Gennady Golovkin, and Cotto didn't close the door on that. That would be a “big fight,” he allowed; but he's about doing the best for his family, he stated.
The Roc gang said they will be doing a Fox Sports 1 show end of April, and this Cotto show June 6, and will announce TV “platforms” in the coming weeks. Also, their other top gun Andre Ward will fight in “late spring,” said Itskowitch.
All in all, it was an all business Cotto in NYC. I made him smile, twice!, once when he admitted he didn't dig the cold at all. He struck me when he told the execs that they would be happy with this signing. We can assume their investment in him was not miniscule, so folks will be watching to see how they recoup their monies. I'm guessing, from reading the lay of the land, that a Cotto-Golovkin fight could indeed be part of that.
Talk to me, readers, what do you make of this event, another big bang in a most interesting year in boxing 2015 to this point.
Follow Woods on Twitter. https://twitter.com/Woodsy1069