Miguel Cotto and Jermain Taylor or two young superstars that believe it or not, boxing is waiting to be carried by. Forget the heavyweights - Sam Peter included. People want to see meaningful fights and youthful combatants challenged for more than a round or two a fight. Lou DiBella, love him or hate him, has a good set of brass in his pants. First he challenges Bernard Hopkins in court and wins and then follows that up by putting his company’s best representative, Jermain Taylor, in the ring with Hopkins, who prior to his close loss a couple weeks ago hadn’t seen an L on his record since Roy Jones Jr. was a middleweight.
DiBella and company could have laid the road work down for Jermain Taylor so that their prize could build up his record to something like 35-0 facing mostly third and fourth tier fighters. Taylor is only 26 years old after all and has only been getting paid to punch for just over 5 years. By today’s standards he’s moving too fast.
Instead DiBella and Taylor took the chance against Hopkins and pulled it off. Taylor is now the legit undisputed middleweight champion of the world and he’s still only 26 years old with not even 25 professional fights.
So the question has to be asked as to why Miguel Cotto has decided to take a giant leap - not a step - back to fight Gianluca Branco, whose biggest accomplishment is going the distance against Arturo Gatti a few years ago.
Top Rank obviously doesn’t want to take a chance of putting Cotto in with anyone who has a pulse so that way Bob Arum can build up to the kid to something around 40-0 with intentions of then facing Floyd Mayweather in a big pay-per view event.
At the rate Cotto is going Arum will get a Mayweather that is pushing 35.
But perhaps that’s the way it has to go. We certainly aren’t being shown any other way.
It’s easy to remember when Cotto was beginning his rise in the professional ranks. We can go back to the Olympic games where people were proclaiming this kid to be the next best thing. He wasn’t just going to be any fighter out of Puerto Rico. He was going to be the next Felix Trinidad.
Even greater than Tito, maybe.
Ironically at 19-0 Trinidad was despatching of Maurice Blocker to win his first world title. He then went from there to face fighters like Hector Camacho, Oba Carr and Yory Boy Campas. Take away Camacho and that is hardly a list of first ballot hall-of-famers. But Trinidad was young and learning so it is not to be expected that he’s in there with ring legends.
There is plenty negative that you can say about Trinidad and his competition early on. But what you can’t say is that Trinidad was fighting guys on the level of Branco .
Miguel Cotto made somewhat improved strides by fighting DeMarcus Corley but after being out on his feet from a temple shot by Corley and getting the benefit of the doubt by a Puerto Rican referee he went after Mohammad Abdulaev. Abdulaev may have beaten the much younger Cotto in the Olympics but Cotto already proved that the big leagues of boxing are much different than the Olympics by beating Kelson Pinto the year before.
Cotto is a very talented fighter. He is mature beyond his years and patient now more than ever. He has a bright future a head of him, but if he’s not willing to take chances as a young pro than perhaps it is time for Bob Arum to stop giving the boxing world the impression that Miguel Cotto is the brightest young star in boxing.
That belongs to Jermain Taylor until proven otherwise.
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