About 40 minutes after he had been handled by Austin Trout at Madison Square Garden, Miguel Cotto addressed the media in a postfight media conference. His face looked like it had been run over by a tractor with poison-ivy studded tires.
The 32-year-old Cotto, who previously had gone 7-0 at MSG, saw his streak end Saturday night. Some said, based on his showing and his inability to handle the mobile and sturdy lefty Trout -- who is, by the way, a severely skilled pugilist whose talents and game plan emerged to the extent Saturday that some pundits will insert him in their pound-for-pound top-20 lists -- that it's time for Cotto to walk away.
A pro since 2001, Cotto (37-4, 30 KOs) has now lost two straight. Granted, those two losses came against unbeaten fighters Trout (26-0, 14 KOs) and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Cotto has money in the bank and, according to a source, owns a bunch of gas stations in Puerto Rico, so we can presume that he likely has enough funds to retire on. He looked flat from the get-go at MSG, to my eye, and although I'm pretty certain he can handle the B-plus boxers of the world, I'm afraid he's too worn down to get it done against the top tier. He didn't sound like a man ready to exit the stage, though, after Saturday's fight. Unlike Ricky Hatton, who between the ring and the dressing room and the postfight media blitz decided to retire a week earlier, Cotto sounded like a man unwilling to concede. He protested that the scores -- 119-109, 117-110, 117-110 -- were too much in Trout's favor, and promised to mull his future in the coming weeks.
I asked Paul Malignaggi, who fought Cotto in 2006 and was ringside working Saturday's fight for Showtime, if he thinks Cotto should leave the sphere. "It's a personal decision," said Paulie, who just turned 32. "It's clear he loves his family very much, so he's going to have to take some time and think if it's worth it to be away from his family for such long periods of time if the reward won't be what it used to be. He's earned the right to make the decision himself, though, and that should be respected."
Indeed ... although fight fans and pundits aren't all simply being intrusive know-it-alls when they lobby for a boxer to retire. Much of the time, they respect the entertainment and joy that fighter has given them, and simply want him to exit the game without absorbing punishment that could impact him later. Cotto ate a not-trivial amount of clean, hard shots in losses to Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather and Trout. People who care about him will ask why he should risk more head trauma if he's financially secure. I heard many Cotto rooters on the way out of MSG on Saturday night declare that they think it's time for their fighter to walk away for good.
Readers, do you think Cotto should retire? Give us your take in the comments section.