Cotto locked in, with or without Martinez
January, 14, 2014
By Alfredo Berrios | ESPNDeportes.com
LOS ANGELES -- Miguel Cotto wants a shot at middleweight champ Sergio Martinez and an elusive fourth title belt, but no matter the opponent, he said Monday, he will fight on June 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
"We still do not have an extra name besides Sergio," Cotto told ESPNDeportes.com of his potential opponents, "but we will find them."
Still, Cotto, 33, said that many of the sticking points between his and Martinez's sides were apparently hammered out during a meeting the camps held two weeks ago in New York. Cotto declined to specify those details.
"We are still negotiating, trying to figure everything out for the event," Cotto said. "After we agree, then we can say we have a fight.
"It's closer than it was two weeks ago, so we can say it's more close than far apart."
Martinez has said he would like to fight Cotto, and even has been quoted as saying that only the contracts need to be signed, but the fight isn't yet a done deal.
Sources within both camps have said that decisions about who would enter the ring first and which name would appear first in promotional materials still need to be worked out.
"I would like to fight Cotto, but he's showing signs that he doesn't want to [fight me], comes out with complicated conditions," Martinez recently told Argentina-based news agency DYN. "He doesn't respect boxing, he doesn't respect history."
In December, Cotto said he would reject a $10 million offer from Golden Boy Promotions to fight Canelo Alvarez in order to seek a middleweight title. If he beats Martinez, Cotto would be the first Puerto Rican fighter to win world titles in four divisions.
Cotto's choosing to fight Martinez first, however, doesn't mean that Alvarez is out of the picture for the future.
"After June, we have six more months and at any moment in those six months we can have a fight with Canelo," said Cotto, who is essentially a promotional free agent who has no hang-ups negotiating an agreement with Top Rank (which likely would promote a Martinez fight) or its rival Golden Boy (which represents Alvarez).
Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs), who most recently fought in October -- a TKO victory over former junior welterweight contender Delvin Rodriguez -- went so far as to say he would be willing to serve as an intermediary between promoters to facilitate the process.
"I'm willing to help the sport that has given me all I have today," Cotto said. "If in any way I can mediate, take a message from here to there, from there to here, I'm available."
Golden Boy founder Oscar De La Hoya has sent out feelers through his Twitter account, suggesting the possibility of a thaw between his company and its rival. Although Top Rank's Bob Arum has seemed willing to listen, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer hasn't been as receptive to the idea.
Cotto has been a harsh critic of the so-called cold war, arguing that the rift affects both boxers and fans. Golden Boy is affiliated with Showtime Sports, while Top Rank airs major cards on HBO, which last year announced that it would no longer air Golden Boy cards.
"The fact that each promoter is identified with a network definitely affects boxing," Cotto said. "A fighter from this promoter can't fight with fighters from the other promoter. At the end of the road, only the boxing business is the one that it has hurt."