Former three-division titleholder Miguel Cotto has a big decision to make -- pursue a fight there for the taking against middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in June on HBO PPV or take an eight-figure offer to fight fellow former junior middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez on Showtime PPV March 8.
That is what Cotto must decide after he and his team met with Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer on Tuesday in Los Angles.
“I met with Miguel and his team, and we had a very good meeting and I made him an offer in the eight figures, well over $10 million, to fight Canelo in March,” Schaefer told ESPN.com. “We had a really nice meeting and talked about a bunch of different things. We also talked about the fighters that our companies promote together.”
Cotto, one of boxing’s biggest stars, is in the enviable position of being a free agent with no ties to a promoter or network, meaning he can weigh offers for both fights. After he knocked out Delvin Rodriguez in the third round Oct. 5 to rebound from his loss last year to Floyd Mayweather Jr., the fight that immediately came up was an attractive showdown with Martinez. Cotto would like to try to become the first Puerto Rican to win a world title in four weight classes.
Cotto went with Top Rank and HBO for the fight against Rodriguez. He has fought most of his career on HBO and with Top Rank, and he has a close relationship with Top Rank president Todd duBoef.
But Cotto also has fought on Showtime and has a good relationship with Golden Boy, which promoted two of his last three fights.
If he wants to go for purely money, the Alvarez fight is almost certainly Cotto’s best bet. But given how many tens of millions Cotto has earned, it would not be a shock to see such a proud warrior leave some money on the table for the opportunity to win the real middleweight title against Martinez, who says he wants the fight with Cotto.
As for the prospects of a Cotto fight with Alvarez -- who is coming off a loss to Mayweather in September in the all-time highest grossing pay-per-view event -- Schaefer said he has a deal in place with Alvarez.
“Canelo and I have worked out a deal structure for the fight. He’s on board,” Schaefer said. “His No. 1 priority is to get a deal done with Cotto. So that’s why we sat down and made a very aggressive and attractive offer to Miguel for the fight. We’d be happy to do it as a one-fight deal with no strings attached, no options, or we’re happy to do a longer-range plan that could lead to Miguel facing the other guys we have. It’s totally up to Miguel.
"But I know one other fight that Miguel is interested in, a potential rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. I haven’t discussed it with Floyd, but I am sure Floyd would be up for that as well if Miguel beat Canelo.”
Cotto lost a competitive decision to Mayweather in an exciting fight, which did a huge 1.5 million buys on pay-per-view.
Gaby Penagaricano, Cotto’s attorney and close adviser, who was at the meeting with Schaefer, could not be reached for comment.
Schaefer said Cotto was interested in his proposal.
“He realizes that, from a financial point of view, a fight with Canelo is clearly the biggest fight on the table,” Schaefer said. “I don’t take anything away from Sergio Martinez, who is a great champion. But if you ask anyone what’s a bigger fight, a Puerto Rican star against an Argentine star or a Puerto Rican against a Mexican star, we would all agree that Canelo against Cotto is a much bigger fight. There’s also a certain risk attached to the Martinez fight because he is injured now [coming off knee surgery], so who knows if he will be ready to fight [in June]?”
Schaefer said if Cotto wanted to fight some other fighter who works with Golden Boy, that would be OK too.
“If Miguel would prefer to fight a [junior middleweight titlist] Carlos Molina, who we have options on, or the Erislandy Lara-Austin Trout winner, or Alfredo Angulo or [middleweight titlist] Peter Quillin, we could do those too,” Schaefer said. “There are so many different options out there.
“They said they’ll get back to me. It’s not like we have to make a decision this week, but it was a very good meeting.”