While it remains to be seen who middleweight champion Miguel Cotto will face when he fights for the first time since signing this week with Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports, one thing his clear: If Cotto wins his proposed June 6 fight (at a venue to be determined in New York), his next bout must be against fearsome Gennady Golovkin if he wants to keep his alphabet belt.
Cotto, the lineal champion, is also the WBC's titleholder and it has mandated that after his optional defense in June, his next fight must be against GGG, who owns another organization's title but became the WBC's interim titleholder -- and, therefore, Cotto's mandatory challenger -- by blowing out Marco Antonio Rubio in two rounds on Oct. 18.
Golovkin thrashed Martin Murray in an 11th-round knockout, his 19th consecutive stoppage and 13th title defense, on Feb. 21 in Monte Carlo and will be back in action May 16 in Southern California.
But Golovkin (32-0, 29 KOs) wants Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) in the worst way and has said it over and over.
K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's promoter, has said repeatedly that they would make a deal to fight Cotto in a heartbeat and give him basically whatever he wants just to get him in the ring.
"We'll make the terms very attractive for Cotto. We would make a lot of concessions to get that fight," Loeffler told ESPN.com after Golovkin's win against Murray.
So if Cotto retains his title in June, will he honor the mandatory and fight Golovkin after that? Cotto would be a huge underdog.
"He has to wait like anybody else," Cotto told ESPN.com. "He can do what ever he wants. My career does not depend on Gennady Golovkin."
But is Cotto interested in such a fight?
"We don't know yet," he said. "Everything I do will be the best for me. That is what I will do. If that is fighting Gennady Golovkin, I will do it. If not, he can take the middleweight title. He can take it."
Gaby Penagaricano, Cotto's lawyer, said it was too soon to say if Cotto would face Golovkin since they both have intervening bouts.
"I don't know yet," Penagaricano said. "We need to talk about the June fight, and after we will sit down with Tom, who's a dear friend of mine, and see if we can make the fight. But as you know by Miguel’s track record, he is not one who ducks opponents."