Everyone knows that Manny Pacquiao will fight Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8 of this year. Similarly, everyone knows that he decided on Marquez after a long deliberation period during which he considered potential bouts against Miguel Cotto and Timothy Bradley. The latter option was ultimately ruled out because of Bradley's inability to draw enough PPV interest to make the fight worth it; the former, however, didn't happen because Cotto inexplicably took his own name out of the running about a week before Pacquiao made his final decision.
What nobody knows at this point is why Cotto did what he did. You will recall, about a week or so ago, Cotto did an interview with ESPN’s Dan Rafael in which he insisted that he did want to fight Pacquiao, but that Arum’s refusal to pay him what he was due got in the way. Some (read: we) weren't sold, noting that if Cotto had really wanted to make that fight happen, he would have made it happen.
Here is exactly what was said:
"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."
The problem with that whole thing is that Cotto’s Dec. 1. bout against Austin Trout, inevitably, will net him less than he could have gotten fighting Pacquiao. So if this was really a money thing – he still would have gone with the first option, regardless of what Arum did or didn’t offer him.
But that may actually be moot because, according to Arum, Cotto was in fact offered $13ish million.
"No. 1, I never once talked to Cotto about the fight with Pacquiao," Arum said. "I talked to [Cotto attorney and adviser] Gaby [Penagaricano] and he was supposed to relay everything to Miguel. So now the first thing I establish was is Miguel amenable to 150 pounds? And the word came back that if we could agree on the [financial] numbers, he would agree to 150.
"Then we started talking about a proposal and, in essence, I offered him a deal based on the last fight that he had done with Pacquiao, where he wound up making like $12 million after all of the pay-per-view money. And then we further negotiated that he would make another million dollars more, so we loaded up a deal where I guaranteed $9 million plus an upside that would have gotten him to $13 million if the fight had done the same [PPV] number as the first fight [which was about 1.15 million buys]. And then we figured out that if we were able to raise that number by a couple of hundred thousand homes, which was not out of the question, that he would then make about $15 million."
So, who is telling the truth? It’s impossible to say. Arum’s ability to twist facts is a matter of public record. Along the lines – attorneys/boxing advisors aren’t exactly known for being beacons of truth and righteousness, so who knows what Gaby Penagaricano did or did not pass along.
That said, no matter who you believe, one fact remains unchanged: when you want something to happen, it happens. If you want to fight a particular person, you find a way to fight that person. Cotto, at one point, was the odds-on favorite to meet Pacquiao this December for a reason. He had the ability to make that bout happen – he opted not to. It’s fine that he didn’t, by the way. He is a veteran in the sport, he can do as he pleases.
But in the end, the decision started and ended with him. No matter what messages were passed along. No matter what sum of money was offered – Cotto had the final say.
And he wound up saying no.
End of story.