Miguel Cotto was one of three opponents Manny Pacquiao considered fighting this December before he ultimately settled on Juan Manuel Marquez. Cotto made Manny’s decision a little easier when, randomly, he took himself out of the running by selecting Austin Trout as his next foe before the Filipino champ could make his choice.
There were a lot of reasons cited for why Pacquiao versus Cotto part deux never materialized. Some blamed weight disputes. (This has admittedly been an issue in the past.) Others blamed disparities as far as what everyone thought the purse split should be. And a select few, the folks who could see this matter for what it was, blamed the most likely cause for this match not coming together: fear.
Cotto was quite obviously afraid of fighting Pacquiao for a second time – plain and simple. In their first showdown, Pacquiao landed more total punches at a better percentage, more total power punches at a better percentage, and he did both in all but one round (they tied in that round). It wasn’t even close.
Quite clearly, Cotto didn’t want to take that sort of beating for a second time – especially not at this point in his career. That’s fine. He is a respected veteran. He has earned the right to pass on certain matches in favor of others. It’s all good.
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What isn’t all good, however, is using flimsy excuses to justify passing on matches that one clearly passed on because of fear. And that’s exactly what Cotto did during a recent interview ESPN’s Dan Rafael. (Bold is ours, not Rafael’s.)
"The only offer Top Rank ever made us was the same money as in 2009," Cotto said of Bob Arum’s insistence that he offered him $13 million plus another two or so. "[Arum] made the same offer he made in 2009, and we found it kind of funny. That was the reason we decided not to face Pacquiao. That, and they also wanted me to go down to 150 pounds and give him the same advantage that they gave Pacquiao in 2009, a catchweight."
"Bob said he offered us $13 million, but he never came to us with that offer," Cotto said. "He always offered us the same guarantee he offered us in 2009, with the same benefits, and that's not fair. He offered the exact same amount of money. Of course it's a business, but all we want is fair business. You can say to Bob to tell me he made that offer to me to my face, and you will see his reaction.
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So was money the main reason, or was it weight? Cotto essentially contradicted himself in the span of two sentences. If money “was the reason,” then why even bring up the weight part of negotiations? The fact of the matter is, weight concerns would be a very reasonable excuse to hold out. Expecting Cotto to drop down and weaken himself to fight a superior boxer for less money is in fact a little unreasonable at this point.
And let’s be clear here – nobody is suggesting that Arum is so noble, he wouldn’t lie over how much he offered Cotto. He isn’t. He very well might have lied about that $13 million plus two figure. That said, Cotto isn’t a rookie. He knows how to handle negotiations. He could have aired the money thing out and turned it into a public issue, if he really wanted this fight. He clearly didn’t. He could have made weight a public issue, if he really wanted this fight. He clearly didn’t.
Cotto could have found a way to make Pacquiao-Cotto II happen if he wanted to. He chose not to. That’s fine. But he shouldn’t pretend like he did. It's a PR tactic that is beneath him, frankly.