Monday, May 14, 2012
Imagine Canelo-Cotto at Madison Square Garden
By Michael Woods
New York fight fans who stayed up late to watch the debut of Jim Lampley's "The Fight Game" on HBO on Saturday, at midnight -- or sad sacks like me, who fell asleep before it came on, and watched it off the DVR -- had to be tantalized by the tidbit dropped after Lampley chatted with Golden Boy Promotions' day-to-day chief Richard Schaefer. Lampley said the promoter told him, off air, that he could see the Mexican phenom Canelo Alvarez, who just decisioned Shane Mosley on the May 5 Mayweather-Cotto undercard, fighting Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden in December.
Mouths started to water among those who pondered the showdown between the barely-out-of-his-teens Canelo, age 21, and the 31-year-old Cotto, in a Mexico vs Puerto Rico square-off at MSG. There has been a sad dearth of megafights at MSG in the last decade, and this one surely would blow the roof off.
In 2002, we saw zero fights in the big room; in 2003, the Vitali Klitschko-Kirk Johnson heavyweight clash; in 2004, John Ruiz and Fres Oquendo lit off a stinkbomb that lingered for years; Felix Trinidad had the joint jumping in a TKO win over Ricardo Mayorga; Ruiz rumbled with Andrew Golota on a DKP heavyweight festival; in 2005, James Toney, on a PED, beat Ruiz; and Cotto rode the Puerto Rican Day Parade wave with a win over Muhammad Abdullaev; in 2006, Zab Judah slipped against Carlos Baldomir; Cotto paraded to a win over Paul Malignaggi; Wladimir Klitschko rubbed out Calvin Brock; in 2007, Cotto got a TKO11 win over Judah; Golota stopped Kevin McBride in a heavy heavy card; and Cotto came back to NY to decision Shane Mosley; in 2008, Roy Jones faced Trinidad; Wladimir Klitschko beat Sultan Ibragimov; Joe Calzaghe downed Roy Jones; in 2009, Cotto hammered Michael Jennings in the winter; he came back again to beat Joshua Clottey to coincide with the parade; in 2010, there were no boxing cards in the big room; in 2011, Cotto got his revenge against MargaCheato in December. Thus far in 2012, there hasn't been a boxing card in the big room. (The diminishing promotional presence of Don King has greatly affected fans of fights at MSG.)
So, as you can see, boxing has been under-represented at MSG in the last couple years. A Canelo-Cotto clash would be the biggest buzz jolt from boxing since Cotto-Judah and Cotto-Mosley, and I do believe would surpass both of those for electricity. Correct me if you think I'm wrong, but I feel a Canelo-Cotto scrap would draw the most boxing heat in that building since the Sept. 29, 2001 Bernard Hopkins-Felix Trinidad clash. Readers, do you agree?