Miguel Cotto – who’s won 37 of his 40 fights, with 30 KOs – will face Austin Trout on December 1 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Trout has won all of his 25 fights, 14 by knockout. He’s ranked 10th by Ring in the junior middleweight division, while Cotto holds the number two spot.
Cotto is coming off a May loss, by unanimous decision, to Floyd Mayweather. Trout’s most recent fight, which he won by unanimous decision, was in June against Delvin Rodriguez.
The upcoming match is risky for 26-year-old Trout, whose WBA “regular” junior middleweight title is on the line in a bout with one of the finest pound-for-pound fighters of our time. Trout is a tough and worthy opponent, and Cotto, 31, would be a fool to underestimate him. But Cotto’s anything but a fool. He knows full well his upcoming opponent’s appetite for a win, which could very well result in match-ups with Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. That said, Cotto is the better and certainly more experienced fighter. It may be hard-fought, but Cotto will reel in Trout.
There’s an added wrinkle. It’s now certain that Cotto won’t be facing Pacquiao on November 10 or December 1 or 8. The two likeliest opponents are 29-year-old Timothy Bradley – who’s won 29 of his 30 fights (one was no contest), 12 by KO – and 39-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez – who’s lost only six of of his 61 fights (one draw) and has won 39 by knockout. Pacquiao, 33, has a record of 60 fights, 54 wins, 38 KOs, four losses, and two draws.
The conventional wisdom (which is often more conventional than wise, but I think it’s right in this case) has Marquez getting another shot at Pacquiao. The first three encounters resulted in a draw and two split decisions in Pacquiao’s favor. Fourth time a charm? Well, we’ll see on November 10 (or December 1 or 8), but I predict joy for Pacman. A significant factor is age – Marquez is creaking up on 40. With a handful of exceptions – e.g., Jersey Joe Walcott – I tend to be leery of geriatric fighters. Juan Manuel, follow the lead of Jack Dempsey: Retire from the ring while still relatively young, open a bar or restaurant (which Dempsey did when he was 40), live the good life, and avoid the horrors of dementia pugilistica.