- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Immediately after middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin knocked out former titleholder Daniel Geale in the third round last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York, he called for a fight with the real middleweight champ, Miguel Cotto.
Cotto had claimed the legit title by knocking out Sergio Martinez in the 10th round in the very same arena a month earlier to become the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four weight divisions.
Whether Cotto-Golovkin can be made remains to be seen, although both intend to fight again this year. It would be a big fight, but the conventional wisdom is that Cotto will not face an opponent nearly as dangerous as Golovkin to preserve the chance of an even bigger fight with Canelo Alvarez in the spring.
But if the Golovkin fight is presented to Cotto, trainer Freddie Roach said he certainly would not stand in the way.
"I like the Canelo fight better, but I like a fight with Golovkin second. I'd have no problem taking that fight," Roach said on Friday, over the phone from his Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California.
Roach was ringside for Golovkin-Geale. He had never seen GGG fight and wanted to get a good look at him up close. Roach's fighter, junior middleweight Glen Tapia, was supposed to be on the undercard, but when his bout was canceled at the last minute, Roach decided to remain in New York to watch Golovkin (30-0, 27 KOs).
He came away impressed, but not fearful of Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) facing him.
"He hits very well. I don't think he has the best defense in the world, but he is a very offensive fighter and a strong puncher," Roach said. "If we did fight him I'd like the fight to be closer to 154 [pounds] to make him come down a little bit. He's very strong, but I think we definitely could negotiate that fight for sure.
"Cotto made 155 last time [for the Martinez fight]. He's a little smaller than Golovkin, so I'd like him to come down as far as possible."
If the fight were being negotiated, the weight shouldn't be a factor because Golovkin promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions and trainer Abel Sanchez have said repeatedly that for a major fight Golovkin would come down as low as 154 pounds. Cotto would qualify as a major fight.
"It was the first time in my life I'd seen Golovkin," Roach said. "I was more impressed with his ring generalship than anything. He controls the ring very well. He knows how to cut the ring off. I am more impressed with that than anything because it's something not enough fighters know how to do. He has been taught well. I have Cotto doing that well too.
"Golovkin puts himself in great position to punch. He was very impressive. He took a punch to give a punch. He's very strong. His power is quite impressive, but he's knocking out middle-class guys, not top-level guys. I could definitely get Miguel ready for that fight."