Even with all the action taking place in the world of sports this weekend, it’d be hard to argue that Saturday night’s expected action inside the ring between Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez isn’t at the top of the list. Expected by many to bring the action, Cotto-Canelo could very well go down as the second biggest boxing pay-per-view in 2015.
But there are several questions surrounding this fight. Today’s Knockout gathers its boxing writers to analyze one of the most important questions leading up to the fight, and quite possibly the most popular question on everybody’s mind once the bout ends.
Cotto was stripped of the WBC middleweight title just days before his fight with Canelo. Is that a formality or does it change the way you view this fight?
Levi Nile: It’s a formality, sad to say. In these days, it seems like something must be given up in order to make the fights the fans want to see and this is a fans fight, without question. Once upon a time in the sport of boxing, the belts used to be a standard of excellence, but now, with so many titles floating around, that’s no longer the case.
Additionally, this is the WBC title we’re talking about, so the standard isn’t set all that high when you consider how whimsical they have been about recognizing fighters of worth in the past.
Cotto being stripped of the WBC title is the same as Cotto giving it up, and in doing so, he is able to help give us what we want.
Frank Shala: While the timing of this was really weird to me, it doesn’t change the magnitude of the fight for me at all. Each weight class has multiple champions by multiple governing bodies and titles are stripped and/or forfeited all the time. We all know that Cotto is the lineal champion, and that the matchup is bigger than the titles because we already recognize and know that both Cotto and Canelo are legitimate champions and the winner, be it Cotto, will not be marred by not being able to win the title. The other point is that with the winner potentially meeting Gennady Golovkin next, the stripping doesn’t really matter because that fight would totally unify all the middleweight titles regardless.
Dave Hogg: I don’t care about the WBC title, and I’m happy that Cotto told them to go take a long walk off a short pier when it came to sanctioning fees. Miguel Cotto is the middleweight champion because he beat Sergio Martinez, who beat Kelly Pavlik, who beat Bernard Hopkins. The WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO had nothing to do with that, and the faster that all of those alphabet organizations vanish from the face of the planet, the better the sport will be. Boxing desperately needs one worldwide organizing body, something like the IAAF, IOC or FIFA, but hopefully a little less corrupt. I do have a problem with a middleweight championship fight being at 155 pounds – that’s only one pound over the junior-middleweight limit – but that’s Cotto’s call.
Joseph Hammond: Not having a belt doesn’t change much tactically. This is boxing’s greatest rivalry, Puerto Rico vs. Mexico, and not having the title doesn’t do much for fan interest. Cotto’s main problem lies in the fact that he is facing a bigger opponent. I don’t just mean Saul Alvarez is physically bigger (which he is), I mean Canelo is the fighter the boxing public and establishment wants to win in this one.
Frances Cruz: The stripping of the title doesn’t change how the public views the fight. I’d argue there isn’t a single person out there that will decide not to purchase the pay-per-view simply because Cotto was stripped of the WBC middleweight title. The WBC got greedy, and Cotto called them on it. The sanctioning fee for Mayweather-Pacquiao, which was regarded as the “fight of the century,” was $200,000. A $300,000 sanctioning fee, on top of an $800,000 step-aside payment to Golovkin, seems exorbitant. Regardless of whether the title is on the line, Cotto-Canelo is a highly anticipated fight. It features the biggest star in Mexico taking on the biggest star from Puerto Rico. With two boxing icons and national pride on the line, it has all the makings for an exciting and epic fight.
Cotto-Canelo feels like the second biggest fight in recent memory behind Mayweather-Pacquiao, but where would a potential Cotto-Golovkin or Canelo-Golovkin stack up?
LN: That’s hard to say given that Cotto-Canelo has the potential to be a true barn burner. If pressed, I would say that any of the three bouts have the potential to be fantastic. Both Cotto-Golovkin and Canelo-Golovkin will benefit the audience that Cotto-Canelo will provide and thus they could draw the larger crowd, but that doesn’t mean they will provide better fights.
Cotto-Canelo is a dandy and we should be happy to see it.
FS: While Mayweather-Pacquiao in name and hype was the biggest fight in recent memory, Cotto-Canelo truly will be fight of the year for me. The storylines are perfect — Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, a future Hall-of-Famer in Cotto who is looking to cement his legacy against a younger, not-even-quite-in-his-prime-yet Canelo who with a win will truly jump into super stardom. The thought of projecting Cotto-Golovkin or Canelo-Golovkin is also very exciting. Canelo-Golovkin to me has huge upside because of the thought of two huge punchers squaring off. I also hope there is not a gap in between fights and that they make it happen in the early part of next year.
DH: Is there anyone who doesn’t want to see Canelo-Golovkin? If Cotto beats Canelo, he and GGG would be a big fight, but Alvarez-GGG is the biggest PPV that boxing has in the near future. If it happens, Pacquiao-Khan will be big, and either one of them against Terence Crawford would be huge, but the only fight that could come close to Canelo-Golovkin would be Mayweather-GGG, and I don’t think Floyd wants any part of that.
JH: If Cotto wins he is still the lineal middleweight champion so a Cotto vs. GGG fight would likely take place next year in New York. Cotto has fought at Yankee Stadium and I’d expect a big venue for that fight. Golovkin vs. Canelo would be a bigger money fight because it taps into a bigger fan base. Golovkin was recently in Dallas looking at the stadium used by the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys for his next fight.
FC: In terms of pay-per-view numbers, potential bouts between Cotto-Golovkin or Canelo-Golovkin would take position behind Mayweather-Pacquiao and Cotto-Canelo. Golovkin is a beast, but his last fight with Lemieux didn’t generate as many PPV buys as people were expecting. With a perfect record of 34 wins and a 21-fight knockout streak, Golovkin is on his way to becoming a star. However, while Golovkin’s popularity is on the rise, he hasn’t quite reached a level of worldwide stardom just yet. In terms of excitement and explosiveness, a bout between Canelo-Golovkin would precede any of the above mentioned bouts. Golovkin is exciting to watch and rolls through his opponents so a showdown with Canelo would be every boxing fan’s dream. Canelo-Golovkin would be an action-packed war between two heavy handed opponents loading up on killer punch combinations and power shots until the very end. Cotto-Golovkin would also be amazing but seems unlikely to actually happen if Cotto defeats Canelo.