This weekend at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn the third biggest attraction in boxing will return to the ring after a one year lay off. Miguel Cotto, who’s only behind Mayweather and Pacquiao in the last seven years when it comes to being the biggest star in the sport, makes his RocNation debut as he takes on Danny Geale on HBO. Cotto is a boxing superstar who has built a fanbase across the world.
So it’s a question of complications, that when Miguel Cotto squares off against Danny Geale this weekend, that the boxing world, and even his fans, are cringing at the thought of him. Ticket sales aren’t selling nearly as well as they have in recent years at Madison Square Garden. Although that could be a point of demographics. Cotto usually has the support of the Puerto Ricans in NYC, and if you are from NY, you understand that Brooklyn is out of the barrio.
Ticket sales aren’t the only problem that Miguel Cotto faces. Cotto has been barraged with questions all week about catch weights and avoiding Gennady Golovkin. He’s been accused of holding the middleweight title hostage, and having never actually fought at the 160 weight limit. Danny Geale has hardly been mentioned outside of the issue of him having to make 157. The fight itself isn't keen to the eyes of fans. Miguel Cotto fans are blasting him for two things that they aren’t used to seeing from the Puerto Rican star. One, making an opponent drain down to a disadvantage, and two, avoiding a fighter.
If there was one thing you could say about Miguel Cotto growing up as his fan you could say that he was willing to face anyone at anytime. There was no path he wouldn't cross, as long as it was reasonable. He fought the best at their best. That has changed in the last two years mainly with Cotto taking the middleweight title from Sergio Martinez. Cotto has become what many call a “diva” when it comes to negotiating. Cotto has made it known that he known he is the big seller in all of his fights and therefore it’s his right to make demands that fit what he wants. He refers to Manny Pacquiao draining him to 145 making him weak and unable to perform at his best. And maybe that is where all of this started.
Miguel Cotto was never one to make absurd demands of his opponents. In two fights in his career though he was treated as though he was a nobody. He was taken advantage of, and he saw something. He saw that it was something he maybe should have been doing all along. There were advantages in what his two superstar foes, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, were able to expose in their opponents and in him when they faced him. Cotto thought if they could do it, then why not him?
So, in his last two fights Cotto has done something that has made things favorable for him and not for his foes. Unfortunately his fans have not been on board with his antics. He was mocked for making Martinez come to 159 and needing his name of come first, and now he is being mocked for making Geale come to 157. He refused to make a fight against Gennady Golovkin at 160, who in February of this year was available to fight Cotto this week but instead Cotto’s team ignored the calls and decided to face Geale. The fans know this and they are not pleased. He’s being accused of the “Catchweight champion” that is avoiding Gennady Golovkin and holding the middleweight belt hostage. Cotto is out of the norm. A fighter that has been praised every single time he steps into the ring for giving it his all and being an exciting fighter is now getting backlash that he has never had to deal with before.
They say that you are only as good as your last fight. The same thing can be said about popularity. After Miguel Cotto defeated Sergio Martinez he was being praised. Freddie Roach was a genius and Miguel Cotto was rejuvenated. But bad negotiations with Saul Canelo Alvarez, picking Geale over Golovkin, and making Geale fight at 157 has turned everyone against him. There is a positive for Miguel Cotto. After Saturday night if he takes care of business, he can face Canelo next and he will be considered back in favor with the fans. For now he may just have to take the heat and focus on victory Saturday night. Better days should be on the way.