Heading into this week, Manny Pacquiao had three potential opponents to choose from for his end of the year fight. As had been reported for months now, the Filipino champion was contemplating squaring off against Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez or Miguel Cotto.
One of those fighters is no longer an option.
Late Friday, Cotto officially took himself out of the Manny Pacquiao Sweepstakes when he and his camp made the decision to fight Austin Trout on Dec. 1 in New York. In opting for a non-PPV match against a guy who most of boxing’s mainstream fans don’t even know, Cotto willingly decided to forego a massive payday for the safety, security and headache-free nature that comes standard with minor league showdowns.
In an interview BoxingScene, Gaby Peñagarícano (Cotto’s advisor) gave fans an inside look into the thought process behind this decision.
"There were still some open issues about some of the terms of the fight in which we could not reach an agreement. Plus, I think the most important thing is Miguel is in a position where he's willing to say 'no' to these big fights if the terms are not 100% acceptable to him," Peñagarícano said.
"In other words, most of these opponents simply accept the big fights because there is a lot of money in them. Miguel is not in that position. He doesn't need the money. Contrary to most of the guys who will fight Manny, Miguel will not concede anything. He's in a position where he can comfortably not take the fight,"
Translation: he didn’t want to risk getting beat down at this stage of his career.
The fact of the matter is, based on how well he performed versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. this past May, there is nothing in Cotto’s recent past that indicates he would have gotten wrecked by Pacquiao. But it’s tough interpret his choosing to fight Trout over the best or second best pound-for-pounder in the world as anything but a blatant admission that he didn’t want to risk having his career ended by a worthy adversary.
That’s fine. Cotto is a veteran. If anyone has earned the right to pick an easy fight over a tough one – it’s him.
The far more interesting question is: what does this mean for Pacquiao? Well, with one of his three potential opponents off the table, the choice narrows to Bradley and Marquez. Bradley would be easier to beat; Marquez generates higher PPV totals.
Presumably a decision will come this week. Then again, we said that last week, the week before that, and the week before that, too.