It’s unreal how brazenly boxing promoters and managers acknowledge by their words and actions that fans will buy any proposed match-up. It was reported yesterday by Maria Quinto of the latinpost.com that superstars Juan Manuel Marquez 56-7-1 (40) and Miguel Cotto 40-5 (33) may face each other later this year. Something that was further endorsed by Cotto's trainer Freddie Roach and Marquez's trainer Nacho Beristain.
“I was thinking of opponents for Miguel Cotto down the line and I think Marquez would be a perfect opponent,” Roach said via Boxing Scene. “That would be a great fight. When a Puerto Rican and a Mexican get together, it's always great.”
Roach continued that he doesn't think Beristain is much interested in seeing his star fighter meet Manny Pacquiao for a fifth time. Which is interesting since the last time Marquez and Pacquiao touched gloves, Pacquiao was counted out face down in the sixth round and didn't move for more than a minute. Since knocking out Pacquiao, Marquez has gone 1-1, losing a split decision to Timothy Bradley in October of 2013 and then taking Mike Alvarado to school, winning a unanimous 12-round decision in May of 2014.
For the Alvarado bout, Marquez weighed in at 141 ¾, more than five pounds below the welterweight limit. According to Roach, Cotto, who was 153 3/4 when he lost his middleweight title to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in his last fight, could get down to 147 to face Marquez. So if the fight were to happen, weight would not be an issue. And it seems that Nacho Beristain is on board with the fight at being contested at 147 since he told ESPN Deportes he believes Marquez is open to meeting Cotto if he decides to fight again.
“I do not rule out this version of Marquez being capable of fighting against Cotto,” Beristain said via Boxing Scene. “If [Marquez] returns to the ring, I don't think it is unreasonable to do it with an opponent of that level. It would be a good fight, given their styles.”
For the record, negotiations haven't yet begun, but knowing Cotto and Roach, I can see them really pushing for the fight because even at 147, it's the perfect comeback fight for Cotto after losing to Alvarez last year. As I've said numerous times, after Floyd Mayweather, Cotto is the second or third best fighter-manager and biggest diva in boxing. Miguel is terrific at finding the right opponent, and when he's the underdog, he makes sure he is always paid handsomely.
In Marquez, he'd be facing a fighter with a big name and a loyal following. I have no doubt that a clash between them would be a financial success. There's always interest when you match a Mexican star fighter against a Puerto Rican star fighter. That would be the case here even though Marquez will be 43-years-old (he turns 43 on May 29) and Cotto will be thirty-five.
The problem I have with the matchup is that the result is a foregone conclusion. If you break it down, aside from experience fighting HOF fighters, and even that’s pretty close, Cotto holds all the advantages. He's physically bigger and stronger and the harder puncher with both hands. Against Marquez, Cotto will force the fight and make Marquez use up what's left of his 43-year old-legs. No, I'm not discounting Marquez's punch placement and ability to counter, but I don't believe he has big enough guns to give Cotto the least bit of trepidation. And if Marquez can't gain Cotto's respect, he can forget about winning.
In Cotto's last bout, he was beaten somewhat conclusively by Canelo, but he was never in real trouble or shook to the point that you sensed he might not make it through the round. Conversely, how do you think Marquez would've fared against Alvarez that night? I know what I think; I believe Nacho Beristain would've been arrested at ringside for allowing Marquez to swap punches with Alvarez. At this stage of the game, the 25-year-old Alvarez is faster, busier, hits harder, and is stronger and hungrier than Beristain’s aging warrior.
So I ask, other than seeing their names paired together, why would anyone want to pay a good sum of money to see Marquez and Cotto face each other in 2016? I have the utmost respect for both fighters and wish them all the money they can make. And if they do meet, I'll watch it and write about it. However, it's another bout in which the size, youth and physicality of one fighter, Cotto, makes it impossible for the older, smaller and more shop- worn fighter, Marquez, to win.
Then again, the fight makes sense for both guys financially. For Cotto, it represents another big name on his ledger and an easy payday against a smaller and older fighter. And regardless of how he looks, as long as he wins he will remain relevant. As for Marquez, his legacy is so strong that it can’t be tarnished. His goal will be first, not to get hurt, and second, once he senses he cannot win, to keep it as close as possible and earn a few more deserved millions. And if by chance he wins, he's in a great position to earn more millions.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com