Miguel Cotto has been a consistent revenue driver for the sport of boxing since at least 2006.
He could be counted on to pack Madison Square Garden every year, in concert with the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, and he could bring a few hundred thousand PPV buyers to the table as a "B side" when gloving up against the Mayweathers and Pacquiaos.
But he's 32, has lost his past two bouts, and fans who have appreciated his willingness to butt heads with the best -- and generally be a low-maintenance sort who simply shows up, gives his all, then rinses and repeats -- are cognizant of the possibility that the end is near. Yes, one of the sport's most consistent performers and cash cows can see the finish line, and it isn't far off.
He's given signals, ramping up his promotional business. But Cotto, who is putting on a fight card June 7 in Verona, N.Y., insists that boxing is still present in every vein and that he's still a top-tier player.
Word on the grapevine is that he's going to come back to the ring in late September, against Cornelius Bundrage at Barclays Center. I asked him to confirm that rumor.
"I don't know yet. It's speculation," Cotto told NYFightblog.
Cotto is never one to indulge in a lengthy soliloquy about his hopes, dreams and plans. So I delved deeper with his best buddy, Bryan Perez, who helps run Miguel Cotto Promotions.
Perez said no foe or specific timetable has been set for Cotto's in-ring return. "We're working on some different options, and in the next couple weeks there will be an official announcement," Perez said. "Miguel will be in the ring by the end of 2013."
Perez wouldn't hazard a guess on how many fights Cotto has left in him. "He will tell us when he wants to stop fighting," he said. "He feels healthy, still has the hunger, and still wants to be a world champion. He's the boss."
Would it be fair to say that Cotto will first see how it plays out in negotiations between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez, the Mexican phenom, as they might square off on Sept. 14?
"No, Miguel Cotto doesn't need to wait on anybody," Perez said. "He's his own promoter."
And speaking as Bryan Perez the fan, would you like to see a Cotto-Canelo fight?
"A Cotto-Canelo fight is a great fight for boxing," he said. "It is a possibility, yeah."