By G. Leon
A little-known junior welterweight named Ricardo Torres has emerged as a late player in the sweepstakes to replace injured Gianluca Branco as the challenger to Miguel Cotto in three weeks. David Diaz appeared to be the frontrunner but the deal has not been closed yet, perhaps because Diaz, who turned pro in 1996 doesn't feel up for the challenge. Torres, rated #1 by the WBO, recently fought outside of his native Colombia for the first time, and that was in Puerto Rico, so it was assumed Torres was being groomed to face Cotto in a homecoming bout for the Boricua Cotto. The September 24, 2005 date will be in Atlantic City. A number of other more familiar fighters, such as Jeff Resto and Kendall Holt, have also made it known they are interested in facing Cotto on short notice, but Top Rank and HBO will have the final say on whether to accept Torres in an HBO fight.