Faced with the prospect of a fight that didn't really get his juices flowing, junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto will sit out the rest of 2010 and return next year, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com.
Arum had been trying to put together a Dec. 4 pay-per-view fight between Cotto -- who would have been making the first defense of the 154-pound belt that he won by knocking out Yuri Foreman in June at Yankee Stadium -- and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
However, when Chavez Jr. decided not accompany trainer Freddie Roach to the Philippines, where he is training Manny Pacquiao for his Nov. 13 fight with Antonio Margarito, the writing was on the wall that Chavez would not be fighting an A-level opponent this year.
Cotto did not find the possible alternatives -- Kermit Cintron or Vanes Martirosyan -- all that appealing. Cotto also had shoulder surgery in August, so the time just seemed right for him to take a break, Arum said.
"So Cotto is not fighting the rest of the year and will just wait until next year to fight," Arum said.
Arum said he spoke to Gabriel Penagaricano, Cotto's attorney, "and he told me last week that he thought that Cotto, unless it was a really big fight, wasn't prepared to fight again this year. So I told him to think about it over the weekend. On Monday, he called me and said Cotto isn't going to fight but he'd be ready to go next year for a big fight. And if there isn't a big fight, he'd fight a guy like Cintron. We're looking at March. That's what HBO is hoping for."
Arum, however, still intends to have a Top Rank PPV card on Dec. 4, probably from The Pond in Anaheim.
Chavez Jr. is penciled in to headline the show, probably against Alfonso Gomez, the former first-season star of "The Contender" and a former welterweight title challenger, whom Cotto stopped.
It's a fight Gomez wants badly, manager Gary Gittelsohn told ESPN.com.
"I've been pushing for this. I brought Alfonso over to Top Rank in pursuit of Chavez Jr.," he said. "But Alfonso stayed at 147 and Chavez kept growing out of the weight class and was up at middleweight. We got discouraged. But with Chavez now developing a better training regimen and declaring that he is going to stay at 154, Alfonso said he would go to 154 for the opportunity. And so Alfonso is very anxious, and has been very anxious, to make this challenge for a long time.
"We're handicapping Alfonso in this fight because it's not his natural weight but he wants it very badly and he directed me to make the fight under just about any reasonable circumstances. We have told Top Rank we want it, we want it, we want it. I know the economic limitations. We won't price ourselves out, but we haven't sat down and talked turkey. We are waiting for confirmation from the Chavez side that they will accept the fight."
Top Rank PPV undercard
Top Rank is planning the rest of the Dec. 4 card as well as trying to finalize Chavez-Gomez. The co-feature in the works is former flyweight titlist Nonito Donaire moving up to bantamweight to face former titlist Wladimir Sidorenko.
There are several other bouts Top Rank is kicking around for the card. Among the possible fights: Brandon Rios in his mandatory shot against lightweight titlist Miguel Acosta; lightweight titlist Humberto Soto defending against Urbano Antillon; and junior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan against Pawel Wolak, who had been in the running to face Chavez.
"Those are among the fights we're trying to do," Top Rank's Carl Moretti said. "But it's not fantasy boxing. You have to deal with budgets, so it's going to take a couple of more days to work everything out. Theoretically, these fights sound great, but this ain't physics."
Donaire manager Cameron Dunkin told ESPN.com their side has accepted the fight with Sidorenko.
"We're waiting for Top Rank to get us a contract, but we're fine with the match," Dunkin said. "Nonito is willing to fight these guys and Sidorenko is a good name, a good fighter and a former world champion. That brings out the best in Nonito."
Dunkin also manages Rios, who scored a huge win Sept. 11 on HBO, a dominant seventh-round disqualification win against Anthony Peterson in a title eliminator.
"We're OK with the fight against Acosta. That's the fight Brandon wants," Dunkin said. "We want to get Brandon a title as soon as possible. He wants to be a world champion. We're going to try to get it done."
Arum said although he has options on Acosta, Don King is his promoter and he would call King to work out a deal. "I'll call King to make it," he said. "Who the hell needs litigation?"
• Unified bantamweight titlist Fernando Montiel, being moved by Top Rank toward a showdown with Nonito Donaire in early 2011, will defend Oct. 30 against an opponent to be named in the main event of a card taking place in conjunction with the WBO's annual convention, which this year will be in Cartagena, Colombia. The fight will air in the United States on "Top Rank Live" (FS en Espanol), Top Rank's Carl Moretti told ESPN.com. Arum said he still plans to match Montiel and Donaire if they win their upcoming bouts. "We expect to do the fight in the first quarter [of 2011]," said Arum, who added that HBO and Showtime had both professed interest in the match. He said his decision to keep Montiel and Donaire out of Showtime's upcoming 118-pound tournament was not an issue with the network possibly buying the match. "Certainly Showtime is very interested. There's no animosity there," Arum said. "We just don't believe in a six-man tournament. Eight or four, single elimination, that's different. We want to match them in the first quarter and we will even commit to the winner fighting whoever wins their tournament."
• Although there is no HBO replay, the last three of the bouts from last week's HBO PPV card at Staples Center in Los Angeles will be replayed Saturday night on HBO Latino (10 ET/PT), the network's Spanish-language platform. Mario Solis and lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez will have the call for the Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora main event along with two of the undercard bouts: Saul "Canelo" Alvarez-Carlos Baldomir and Victor Ortiz-Vivian Harris. It will be available in HD.
• Sauerland Event announced that middleweight titlist Sebastian Sylvester (33-3, 16 KOs) will make his third defense against German countryman Mahir Oral (28-2, 11 KOs) in Rostock, Germany, on Oct. 30. Oral has won three fights in a row since a competitive performance in a 10th-round knockout loss to then-titlist Arthur Abraham. "Mahir Oral did very well against Arthur Abraham when they met in June 2009," Sauerland Event general manager Chris Meyer said. "I am sure he will be highly motivated to take the title from Sebastian. I expect a tough bout with the better ending for the 'Hurricane.'" Said Sylvester, "He is a strong opponent. Against a big hitter like Arthur Abraham he showed his class last year, especially in the early rounds. I know he will fight until the very end so I will be prepared for a spectacular battle." Heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin is slated to fight on the undercard against an opponent to be determined.
• Former junior lightweight titlist Jorge Barrios (49-4-1, 35 KOs) returns in his native Argentina on Oct. 1 (Telefutura) to face Colombia's Humberto Martinez (17-4-1, 13 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round lightweight bout, Golden Boy announced. Barrios has won two fights in a row since his gruesome TKO loss to Rocky Juarez in September 2008, a fight called off in the 11th round because of a horrific cut to Barrios' mouth/cheek area. It will also be Barrios' first fight since his involvement in a fatal car accident in which a pregnant woman was killed.
• Top Rank announced that San Antonio's Raul Martinez (27-1, 16 KOs) will face Mexico's Rodrigo Guerrero (14-2-1, 9 KOs) in a junior bantamweight eliminator at the WinStar Casino in Thackerville, Okla., on Nov. 20 (FS en Espanol). The winner becomes the mandatory challenger for titlist Juan Alberto Rosas' 115-pound belt. Martinez and Guerrero have both fallen short in their only title shots. Martinez was stopped by then-flyweight titlist Nonito Donaire in the fourth round in April 2009. Martinez has won three in a row since moving up in weight. Guerrero went the distance, but got pounded, in a lopsided loss to junior bantamweight titlist Vic Darchinyan in March. Guerrero bounced back for a win in July.
• Exciting featherweight prospect Jorge Diaz (14-0, 9 KOs) of New Brunswick, N.J., will face former title challenger Emmanuel Lucero (24-5-1, 14 KOs) of Mexico on Oct. 30 at Bally's Atlantic City. "I'm looking forward to this opportunity to shine in the main event," said the 22-year-old Diaz. "Lucero is a good step up in competition for me and I know he will bring out the best in me. He's fought a better level of opponents than I have so I know he'll be a tough fight." Lucero has faced such notable opponents as Manny Pacquiao and Daniel Ponce De Leon. Also on the card will be 20-year-old Passaic, N.J., junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia (7-0, 5 KOs), who is training for the fight by serving as one of Pacquiao's chief sparring partners in his camp in the Philippines as Pacquiao prepares to face Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13.
"One more time, there will be two great professionals fighting each other. No one wants to fight Paul Williams and no one wants to fight 'Maravilla' Martinez, so we fight each other. And everyone that doesn't want to fight us has a good reason not to want to. There is a good reason for us to fight again -- it is a fight that everyone wants to see. We will try to do again what we did before." -- middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, on his Nov. 20 (HBO) rematch with Williams at Thursday's kickoff news conference in New York
"He's got something I want. He's got those belts on the table. I want those belts on the table. It's my job to go out there and get them. You are going to see a whole lot of explosives this time. I know he is going to bring it and I am going to bring it. There is going to be a lot of action and I can't wait to get in the ring to do it again. Bangin' with him will be bad for me but it will be good for the fans." -- Williams, at the news conference announcing his rematch with Martinez, which will take place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.