Miguel Cotto Vs. Canelo Alvarez: Why The Potential Fight Makes Sense For Both Boxers

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Canelo Alvarez
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, right, could infuse boxing's recently poor pay-per-view numbers with a super-fight against Miguel Cotto later this year.

Both fighters have won their last two matches. Both are arguably among the best boxer in their division, and both are looking for their next opponent.

But more importantly, WBC middleweight crown holder Miguel Cotto and former WBA and Ring light middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez are in need of a mega pay-per-view bout to remind fans and the boxing world just how big a draw they, and boxing, can be.

The most logical solution? Face each other and unite two of the sport's biggest fan bases, Puerto Rico for Cotto and Mexico for Alvarez, in what could be a career pay-per-view draw for both fighters.

There are rumblings around the boxing community that a super-fight between Cotto and Alvarez may very well happen this year or next, but nothing has been made official.

“We have not yet begun to discuss options for next fight,” Cotto’s legal adviser Gabriel Penagaricano was quoted as saying by Boxing Scene. “Canelo could be in the equation, but as we have said, we have not discussed anything yet.”

That’s certainly a positive sign, and the possible bout could help Cotto forget the underachieving PPV buys from his victory over Sergio Martinez last month. Rather than the predicted or expected 475,000 subscriptions, Cotto-Martinez only generated 350,000 buys, according to ESPN.

The numbers for Alvarez’s latest win over Cuba’s Erislandy Lara, however narrow it was, haven’t been released yet. Still the bout was the fifth PPV main event over the last five months, and the numbers likely won’t be good with some believing fans resent the sport after so many expensive premium fights in a relatively short period of time.

"The numbers were not great," Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said to ESPN about Cotto-Martinez. "All the numbers boxing has been getting on pay-per-view have been terrible. It's not disappointing; it just is what it is. There are too many (pay-per-view cards).

"Pay-per-view was always designed, as was closed circuit back in the day, for true super fights, not just very good fights. There have been pay-per-views every month and people resent the fact that they're asked to pay extra for anything halfway decent. Boxing pay-per-view numbers are down. Look at the (recent) numbers for the (Floyd) Mayweather and (Manny) Pacquiao fights. The UFC pay-per-view numbers are also down."

Despite the underwhelming draw, Cotto isn’t exactly hurting monetarily. He was guaranteed to rake in $7 million in the matchup against Martinez, as reported by Bad Left Hook, but a match versus Alvarez could generate an even bigger purse, and put both fighters’, and boxing’s, pay-per-view numbers back on track.

There has also been some speculation, fueled by Golden Boy Promotions owner Oscar De La Hoya’s recent comments that a Cotto-Alvarez fight could be on the horizon. But the former champ turned promoter did spice things up with another rising name.

 

Playing to both Alvarez’s and the public’s desire for a highly competitive, and maybe unpredictable bout against the 33-year-old Kazakh Golovkin, De La Hoya is certainly stoking the fire of speculation, while possibly trying to test the waters to see just how big of a draw the pair might generate before making any real public assurances.

Golovkin could certainly raise his profile by remaining undefeated with a victory over Australia’s Daniel Geal on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, and follow that up later this year against Alvarez. However that strategy would better serve Golovkin than Alvarez overall, and it’s unlikely those PPV sales would be better than a Cotto-Alvarez pairing.

A fight against Cotto better serves as Alvarez’s best route back to his peak PPV draw when he faced Floyd Mayweather last year. While he showed flashes of potential, Alvarez was overwhelmed by Mayweather in the unanimous decision. But the build up to the fight afforded the 24-year-old a reasonable chance of being the first to dethrone the superstar and as a result it drew 2.2 million PPV buys and pulled in $150 million in revenue, according to Boxing Scene.

Clearly, Mayweather was the primary reason why that fight made so much money, but by Arum’s words a Cotto-Alvarez fight would give the audience a true superbout and reason enough to shell out $60 a pop.

At first glance, Cotto appears to be the favorite but Alvarez has enough skill and desire that could make it a Fight of the Year candidate. Cotto is a reigning champion with far more experience over Alvarez, with stunning victories over Shane Mosley, and Antonio Margarito only three years ago, and he almost went the distance against an in-his-prime Manny Pacquiao.

His unimpressive performance against Mayweather aside, Alvarez has demonstrated enough punching power with 31 of his 44 wins coming via knockout and also outlasted American Austin Trout for a unanimous decision, an opponent Cotto failed to topple.

These are all considerations that Cotto and Alvarez’s respective camps will consider before selecting their next opponents. It seems likely that a fight between the two boxing stars will eventually happen, but a date may not be around the corner if the financials don't add up for both sides. 

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