Although thus far only one of Manny Pacquiao’s six final opponents has been finalized, speculation among fans is rife over who the other five opponents might be, especially in the case of recently absent pound for pound stalwart Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum though appears to have at least some of the potential opponents already planned ahead, and according to recent statements, that could well include a rematch between Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.
Speaking to Rey Colon of Boxingscene yesterday, Arum said:
“Cotto is going to have a chance of a rematch with Margarito, and Julio Jr. could fight for the WBC middleweight title in Mexico. And the end could be the opportunity of a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, the super champion congressman who will fight for another three years. It’s a very important time for Cotto”
The big question is whether anything will have changed between now and then to assume that a rematch between Cotto and Pacquiao will be any more competitive. And the way things look at the moment, the answer to that question will probably be no.
When Cotto fought Pacquiao in 2009, he was already considered by many to be past his best, and as expected aside from the first few rounds the fight was rather one sided in Pacquiao’s favor. Since then Cotto has risen in weight, beaten a somewhat lightly regarded but unbeaten champion in Yuri Foreman and captured the WBA light middleweight title.
Pacquiao meanwhile has fought two former Cotto opponents and is set to take on a third later this year in Shane Mosley, captured a junior middleweight title of his own from Antonio Margarito, and has looked nothing short of dominant on each occasion.
After the Mosley fight in May, the possibilities for Pacquiao are numerous, but early favorites as next opponents depending on what they do between now and then could be unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto and lightweight king Juan Manuel Marquez. After that, Miguel Cotto could be the next target on Pacquiao’s radar once again.
The only difference seemingly between the first fight and a rematch a year or so from now would be that the second fight would perhaps be contested at either junior middleweight (with Cotto’s WBA strap on the line) or a catchweight between there and middleweight, meaning that he would have a slightly bigger weight and size advantage than he did when they first met.
With Pacquiao’s last fight having been at junior middleweight anyway though, it isn’t as if there is much interest over the issue of whether or not he can make the climb up in weight once more. Against all of his recent opponents, Pacquiao has shown time and again that he simply doesn’t have any problems with facing bigger and stronger fighters and winning.
Against a determined but outgunned Antonio Margarito in his last outing Pacquiao looked as good as ever, and there isn’t any reason at this stage to think that any amount of extra weight advantage will do Cotto any good.
Fast forward to the end of this year and Cotto will also potentially have been in another two tough fights against Ricardo Mayorga and his old nemesis Antonio Margarito. Many fans and scribes alike attribute the beginning of a decline in Cotto’s abilities to his first fight against Margarito, which seemingly took a lot out of both men, and a second fight could potentially be just as closely contested.
Of course, there isn’t any guarantee that Cotto will even get past both Ricardo Mayorga and summer opponent Antonio Margarito, who beat the Puerto Rican the first time they fought. Although both will be underdogs, Mayorga has at least a punchers chance and Margarito will go into the second fight knowing that he has beaten Cotto once before.
Also should Cotto then take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at middleweight or close to it he could find that the size difference is too big for him to overcome, especially if Chavez Jr. continues to improve as he has been recently under the tutelage of Freddie Roach.
Should Cotto get through all three potentially difficult battles though perhaps Arum’s ultimate plan is to have Pacquiao try for his ninth title, with Cotto holding the belt when he does. Which competitive or not is something that Arum knows people will want to see.
Albert Brecht, Pitt: “JCC would be too big for Manny but Cotto at middleweight would be an interesting one. I think Cotto would outbox Chavez easily too”
Ralph Majors, Philly: “All this stuff he’s doin is just to get Floyd to fight him and he need to realize Floyd don’t want to fight period. He ain’t ever going to get back in the ring and Pac needs to forget about him”
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