Pacman getting checked out by the media at Wildcard. Eyes will be on Cotto, and then Manny the following week...and then we shall get clarity on what we might see in 2013. (Chris Farina)
All of the pieces are in motion following Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero’s emphatic victory last weekend. The road has become clearer to decide which of a small group of fighters proceed to next year’s mega fights.
Standing at the end of the road are both Floyd Mayweather and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez like two glittering pairs of the ancient Golden Fleece. One is ageing and the other still a pup. But millions of dollars await the challenger to either star.
Guerrero staked first claim by defeating Andre Berto last week. Who’s next on the list?
Two more prizefights take place in opposite sides of the country when first Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) challenges WBA junior middleweight titleholder Austin Trout (25-0, 14 KOs) in New York on Saturday Dec. 1. One week later, Manny Pacquiao fights Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas.
These two fights are critical in determining the challenger to Mayweather or Alvarez. And second, a number of younger elite fighters now stand poised to challenge led by the triumphant Guerrero. In a mere two weeks other claimants will be determined to lead boxing into a new era.
Puerto Rico’s Cotto, like a fox, has quietly navigated his own boxing career into a position where he can be a major factor in deciding who fights emerging box office star Mexico’s “Canelo” Alvarez.
Cotto needs a win over Trout this coming Saturday to win the title and be in position to set up a unification bout with WBC junior middleweight titlist Alvarez.
“Everybody who knows Miguel Cotto knows Miguel Cotto doesn't pick easy fights, or easy opponents. Austin was the next in line,” said Cotto. “I’m ready for him and we're just going to see what happen next Saturday.”
If Cotto beats Trout then get ready for Puerto Rican vs. Mexican explosion. A meeting between “Canelo” and Cotto means mega bucks in box office receipts and pay-per-view television.
“Pacman” Pacquiao fights Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time on Dec. 8, in Las Vegas. Both have long seen their better days in the boxing ring, but whenever they meet it’s a combustive event.
For several years Pacquiao has chased Mayweather like an anguished blood hound after a fleet footed squirrel. The recent loss to Indio’s Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley derailed any hope of forcing a Mayweather fight and Top Rank and perhaps Pacquiao too decided to move toward this rematch with Mexico’s Marquez. Despite a rematch clause to fight Bradley again, the decision was made to avoid the Palm Spring’s speedster.
So what’s in store for the winner?
If Marquez wins then who does he fight? If Pacquiao wins who does he fight?
One thing is almost certain it won’t be “Canelo” or Mayweather who both fight under Golden Boy Promotions banner. The most likely to fight the Pacman and Marquez winner is Oxnard’s Brandon “Bam, Bam” Rios, the hard-hitting former lightweight world champion now fighting at junior welterweight. It makes sense because of what Guerrero did in skipping over two weight divisions to handily defeat solid welterweights Selcuk Aydin and Berto.
Rios bludgeoned his way to victory recently over Colorado’s Mike Alvarado in a scintillating fight that had the crowd roaring. Boring fights are not his forte unless you match him against a holding artist like Richard Abril. Not likely with Marquez or Pacquiao. These two do not hold.
The most likely candidates to face Las Vegas golden jeweled Mayweather are Guerrero, Devon Alexander, Paul Malignaggi, Danny Garcia or “Canelo” Alvarez. It’s too early to put Alvarez against Mayweather. More money can be made in a year or more, especially if Alvarez fights Cotto and wins.
Guerrero stands to be the next opponent for Mayweather simply because of his solid win over Berto.
“Money is not the most important thing to me,” said Guerrero. “I just want to fight the best. Floyd Mayweather is the best fighter pound for pound and I want his spot.”
Last Saturday’s win places him right on course with Las Vegas jackpot “Money” Mayweather.
“I don’t have these really flashy shots but I do hit hard,” said Guerrero when discussing a possible Mayweather fight. “I love to fight. It’s what I do…I want to be the best fighter pound for pound.”
Fights on television
Fri. Telemundo, 11:30 p.m., Pablo Munguia (15-3) vs. Antonio Pitalua (53-6-1).
Sat. WealthTV, 1 p.m., Tyson Fury (19-0) vs. Kevin Johnson (28-2-1).
Sat. Showtime, 9 p.m., Austin Trout (25-0) vs. Miguel Cotto (37-3); Daniel Jacobs (23-1) vs. Chris Fitzpatrick (15-2).
Sat. Telefutura, 10 p.m., Manny Avila (10-0) vs. Ricky Lopez (9-1).
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?