According to a recent report by RingTV, former four division world champion Miguel Cotto is expected to fight middleweight contender David Lemieux on December 2nd in New York – if he defeats Yoshihiro Kamegai on HBO, August 26th for the vacant WBO World junior middleweight title. However, the talk of Cotto-Lemieux is not just disrespectful, but it is also unrealistic.
First and foremost, Cotto (40-5, 33 KO’s) has to beat Kamegai (27-3-2, 24 KO’s) to get Lemieux (38-3, 33 KO’s). – at least that is what it appears to be. However, that also implies the 34-year-old Japanese slugger is a “tune-up.”
Although Cotto’s resume is far more decorated than his future adversary, Kamegai was in a hellacious battle with the now-retired Robert Guerrero in 2014, he comes to fight, and packs a punch. He is no tune-up. Anything can happen in boxing, and that was clearly exemplified by July's fight between Manny Pacquiao and Jeff Horn. At 36 years of age, how much more punishment can Cotto take, and how much will nearly 24 months out of the ring impact him come fight night?
Lemieux is one of the hardest punchers in the sport and Cotto has been stopped by the likes of former world champions Antonio Margarito and Manny Pacquiao, respectively. To be fair, Kamegai also hasn’t fought in nearly a year, and at 34 years of age, he's not exactly a spring chicken, either.
As far as Cotto-Lemieux being a realistic matchup, it raises many questions. Would the fight be at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds? The Puerto Rican has fought in three bouts in the middleweight division, and two of them were catch-weights, including a fourth-round TKO of Daniel Geale, and a unanimous decision loss to Canelo Alvarez. Cotto did stop Sergio Martinez in 10 rounds. However, the now-retired Argentinian was the champion at the time, and thus was the A-side of negotiations.
Although Cotto-Lemieux would generate some attention, it seems hard to believe that Cotto would be interested in fighting at 160 pounds. Furthermore, it seems even more infeasible that Lemieux would be willing to agree to a catch-weight – if that were to be a part of the deal.
Lemieux is on a four-fight win streak since getting stopped by world middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KO’s) in 2015, which includes wins against Glen Tapia, and a brutal knockout of Curtis Stevens. He’s clearly trying to get another shot at a world title.
A victory over Cotto would do absolutely nothing, and a loss would be catastrophic. In other words, it is a high risk/low reward situation for both fighters.