By James Oddy
Miguel Cotto is the lineal middleweight champion of the world. That alone seems vaguely ridiculous to say. The Puerto Rican is 34 and started life as a light-welter, and received some horrendous beatings from Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito. He was also out boxed by Floyd Mayweather (easily done) and the relatively unheralded Austin Trout.
Yet the most ridiculous aspect of all this is that Cotto has never once weighed in at the Middleweight limit, and in his defense of the lineal title against Geale made the challenger come in under the middle weight limit.
Cotto’s defense is that he isn’t a middleweight. He is also one of the biggest draws in boxing, almost always the ‘A’ side, and he can dictate when and how he fights largely according to his own prerogative.
This explains why he seems fairly open about the fact he doesn’t want to fight WBA champion Gennady Golovkin, the middleweight Mike Tyson who has dismantled who’s who of middleweight contenders. There also seems to be little talk of Cotto fighting WBO champion Andy Lee or David Lemieux for the IBF title. Not to mention the myriad ‘interim’ and ‘regular’ champions which litter the sport.
But whilst this is damaging the lineal middleweight title, Cotto’s use of catch weights may ultimately end up benefiting the fans. All roads for Cotto now seem to lead to Canelo Alvarez. The Mexican is in his early twenties but already seems set to have a ‘Hall of fame’ worthy career. His fantastic fight with James Kirkland, which ended with a spectacular knockout for Alvarez, only added to the growing clamor for a new chapter added to the storied history of Puerto Rico vs Mexico feuds.
An ideal scenario would involve Golovkin cleaning p the rest of the middleweight division, then fighting the winner of Cotto vs Alvarez. And if we are talking ideal scenarios, then Golovkin, win or lose, moves up to super middle to take on Andre Ward.
But catch weights aren’t all bad. One fight that could be saved by the use of catch weights is Vasyl Lomachenko vs Nicolas Walters. Lomachenko won a world title in his third pro fight- the decorated amateur is a beautiful boxer and at 26, he has the world at his feet. Walters, the Jamaican banger, is reminiscent of a smaller Julian Jackson, his power bludgeoning Nonito Donaire. They both campaigned at featherweight, but Walters lost his WBA title on the scales before his last fight, and seems likely to move up.
Lomachenko seems to be comfortable at the weight with no urge to move up, but the two could hopefully agree on a mutually beneficial arrangement and give the fans a super fight in the lighter weights.