Could Miguel Cotto face Andy Lee?

After destroying Sergio Martinez in June, Miguel Cotto, left, is ready for a December return. Chris Farina/Top Rank

Many of us would love to see middleweight champion Miguel Cotto have his next fight against titleholder Gennady Golovkin or junior middleweight star Canelo Alvarez.

Neither is going to happen, however. At least not next. I know none of us like that. Just accept it.

It seems doubtful a Golovkin fight will ever happen, and an Alvarez showdown -- for my money, the biggest fight in boxing outside of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao fight -- probably would not take place until the spring of 2015, if it can even be made.

But Cotto plans to fight again this year, which is a good thing. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says the date is Dec. 13 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which is essentially the Puerto Rican star’s home arena.

Arum has also said that he would like for Cotto’s next fight to be on regular HBO, as opposed to HBO PPV, mainly because his June fight with Sergio Martinez was a huge disappointment in terms of the pay-per-view sales. But even if Arum wants it on HBO, it is still likely to be on HBO PPV because I’m told Cotto wants to be on pay-per-view and that HBO likely won’t be able to afford the level of license fee to have him on the network.

So whom can Cotto fight that would A) make for a good fight; B) draw a big crowd at MSG (although not necessarily a big PPV audience) and C) be a fight in which the challenger has a reasonable chance to win but a fight in which Cotto will be the favorite so as not to put Cotto-Alvarez into too much jeopardy.

Hello, Andy Lee!

He is a possible opponent for Cotto.

Top Rank and Cotto’s camp still need to go over the particulars of what Cotto wants for the December fight. But Top Rank has Lee on its short list for Cotto and Lou DiBella, Lee’s promoter, said he and Arum have spoken and that the fight is a possibility.

Frankly, if Cotto isn’t fighting Golovkin or Alvarez, Cotto-Lee makes a lot of sense.

Remember, Lee, who has been on HBO a few times, was supposed to fight Golovkin in April on the network, but the fight was canceled after Golovkin’s father died. He is a legitimate contender and it probably would be a crowd-pleasing fight.

When the Golovkin fight was canceled, Lee wound up winning a small-time fight in Denmark on April 12 and then fought John Jackson on the June 7 Cotto-Martinez pay-per-view undercard, surviving a hard knockdown in the first round to rally for a highlight-reel fifth-round knockout victory. That means that Lee and Cotto are on the same schedule.

Lee is also Irish, and the Irish fans in New York have always supported their fighters by gobbling up tickets.

“Bob knows we won’t price ourselves out. He knows we want the fight and knows Andy sells a lot of tickets,” DiBella said. “I really believe you’ll have a similar crowd to what Cotto-Martinez drew, and Andy really wants the fight. Bob and I have worked together on fights before. I’m sure HBO would like Andy as an opponent, and I know the Garden loves the fight. Bob and I talked about it, and he knows we want the fight.

“Andy has wanted the opportunity to fight a legend. If you’re a fighter and you don’t want to fight a future Hall of Famer and the middleweight champion of the world, you’re not a real fighter. Andy Lee is a real fighter. It’s a tremendous fight. Say what you want, but Andy can crack and he showed he can overcome adversity against Jackson.”

Arum and DiBella have made plenty of fights together over the years, including some that were more complicated than a Cotto-Lee match would be, such as the Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. pay-per-view in 2012.

“All my dealing with Top Rank have been good. We have always worked well together, and when there is a fight that we have tried to make, there’s never been a fight we couldn’t get done,” DiBella said. “If Bob and Cotto want to make this deal, we’ll make it very easily. We could do it in one phone call.”

Lee (33-2, 23 KOs) challenged then-titleholder Chavez for his world title in June 2012 and was stopped in the seventh round of a competitive fight. Lee, a 30-year-old southpaw, has won five fights in a row since.

By stopping Martinez in the 10th round, Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs), 33, became the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four weight classes, further enhancing his Hall of Fame credentials.