Miguel Cotto: In a Dark Manner

By Clarence George on August 21, 2014
Miguel Cotto: In a Dark Manner
The middleweight division was not a mirage, but an oasis. And splendid. And glittering.

WBA king Gennady Golovkin would be the best choice, in my opinion, but Cotto trainer, Freddie Roach, disagrees…

“We see now through a glass in a dark manner.”—1 Corinthians 13:12

Miguel Cotto became the WBC and lineal middleweight champ by retiring Sergio Martinez in the 10th at Madison Square Garden on June 7. He’s scheduled to make his first title defense at the Mecca of Boxing on December 13.

Prospective opponents include unranked Andy Lee, Marco Antonio Rubio, assuming he defeats Gennady Golovkin on October 18 (he won’t), or—get this—welterweight Timothy Bradley at a catch-weight of maybe 155. Why not Edgar Sosa over at fly while we’re at it? Hey, a malted milkshake or two should do the trick. Not under consideration, apparently, are IBF middleweight champ Sam Soliman, former IBF titleholders Felix Sturm or Daniel Geale, WBO champ Peter Quillin, or WBA king Gennady Golovkin. The Kazakh would be the best choice, in my opinion, but Cotto trainer, Freddie Roach, disagrees. Golovkin has yet to prove himself worthy of finding himself in the ring with the Puerto Rican warrior, says Roach.

Let’s pause a moment to define a term, shall we? Bull.shit. Vulgar, but wonderfully useful, slang. When used as a transitive verb: “To attempt to mislead or deceive by talking nonsense”—e.g., “Golovkin has yet to prove himself worthy of finding himself in the ring with the Puerto Rican warrior.”

Step up to the 160-pound plate, Miguel, or turn in that tin WBC badge of yours and head back to junior, where Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is waiting. But he, too, is problematic, isn’t he, Freddie? Not listed on the Social Register? Insufficiently Mexican-looking? You’ll think of something. 

“I can only cry out that I have lost my splendid mirage,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald. “Come back, come back, O glittering and white.” The middleweight division, like boxing itself, was not a mirage, but an oasis. And splendid. And glittering. And white. Stanley Ketchel and Billy Papke. Rocky Graziano and Tony Zale. Sugar Ray Robinson and Carmen Basilio. Miguel Cotto and…

Come back, come back, O glittering and white.

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1909-07-05 Stanley Ketchel vs Billy Papke (ROUNDS 1,9,13,17,20)



1948-6-10 Tony Zale vs Rocky Graziano III



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  1. Clarence George 09:48am, 08/24/2014

    A case you might remember, Beaujack, is that of Richard Colvin Cox.  A West Point cadet, he disappeared in early 1950 in the company of a strange and sinister man who was never identified.  One of the great disappearances…never solved.

  2. Clarence George 06:45am, 08/24/2014

    I’m always happy to add another mystery to my plate, Beaujack.

    I love unsolved disappearances, and Judge Crater is a pip (as is Dorothy Arnold).  I have no idea what happened to him.  There all sorts of theories, but that ain’t the same thing as a definitive answer.  As I think I once mentioned to you, I visited the location where he was last seen—then, a restaurant; now, a parking lot.

  3. beaujack 06:37am, 08/24/2014

    Clarence, thanks for your interest but you already have a mystery of yours
    to solve…Several learned boxing people have tried to help solve my puzzle to no avail…They tell me that Ray Robinson fought a Billy Brown from New England in Brooklyn, Ny but that bout was a few weeks BEFORE the Ray Robinson /Bobby Dykes fight in Chicago on Nov.8,1950 which I saw on our 12” television set. I recall vividly today thinking before that bout I saw in Coney Island that these two SRR and Dykes fought some years before[1950] and this bout was a meaningless and lack lustered affair…Some posters trying to help tell me maybe it wasn’t Bobby Dykes but I know for certain that the announcer said BOBBY DYKES…
    Clarence you have your Dygalov mystery to solve and I my
    Bermuda Triangle to query over…By the way, what happened to Judge Crater ?

  4. Clarence George 06:06am, 08/24/2014

    Exactly right, Beaujack—no theory covers all the bases.  Very frustrating, but I live for this sort of thing.

    Your Robinson-Dykes mystery is very intriguing.  I know of the 1950 bout in Chicago, but I have no knowledge of the second.  An exhibition bout, perhaps?  Though that seems unlikely.  I know Dykes fought Clarence Robinson, but that was in the late ‘50s in Fort Lauderdale.  Besides, no way you’d confuse Sugar Ray with the singularly unimpressive (no disrespect) “Cat.”  I’m going to look into this, but we may need someone possessed of truly encyclopedic boxing knowledge.  Maybe Chuck Hasson?

  5. beaujack 04:38am, 08/24/2014

    Yes Clarence,most likely the evidence of the Dyatlov mystery points to a military coverup, but why would the military have need to cut off the tongue of a female member of that ill-fated expedition ?
    Speaking of mystery’s Clarence I have my own quandary that I have posted on another site. In the early 1950’s, I and a now deceased buddy saw in a Coney Island Arena, Ray Robinson decision Welterweight Bobby Dykes from Tampa, Florida. I recalled that night that it was their second fight they engaged in as I saw the first bout from Chicago on TV, Nov. 8,1950…This bout I know I saw, is not listed in any record book, and this puzzle is my Dyatlov mystery. But see it I did.!.

  6. Clarence George 03:39am, 08/24/2014

    Thanks very much indeed, Beaujack, and always a pleasure hearing from you.

    Boxing’s decline is quite notable, isn’t it?  It’s manifest that Golovkin is the best middleweight around.  He should be given the opportunity to unify all these ridiculous titles, and thus be acclaimed undisputed Middleweight Champion of the World.  Ah, but what should be…

    I don’t place active fighters on my top 10 lists, but I’m pretty sure Golovkin will eventually make it (I think I wrote an article on this).  I don’t see him beating Robinson, Greb, and several others, but I think he’d at least have a real shot at taking out Graziano and Hagler, both of whom are among my top 10.

    From what you say, I think I rank Graziano higher than you.  I agree, however, that Zale was his superior.  But I don’t agree that Zale would have beaten Cerdan, even in his prime.  That’s not easy for me to say, because “The Man of Steel” is my favorite middleweight of all time.  Helluva fight, though.  You’re absolutely right that Zale would beat Antuofermo (and rather handily) and Hagler.  He is indeed ridiculously underrated today.

    You’ll be happy to know that I’m continuing my Dyatlov research.  What a puzzler!  But I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the military or the KGB was involved, that the scene of the incident was a set-up or at least tampered with, that the investigation was a cover-up, and the subsequent reports red herrings.  I’m anything but alone in this thinking.  Still, what an amazing, confounding mystery.  The research continues!

  7. beaujack 09:42pm, 08/23/2014

    Clarence, great article as usual…Watching boxing lo these many years,and remembering when the best had to fight the best as champions and contenders, it is not surprising in today’s boxing scene to hear Freddie Roach spouting nonsense to avoid today’s MW assassin GGG. I also enjoyed the video of the 35 year old Tony Zale ko of Rocky Graziano in 1948.. And this was a past prime Tony Zale after a 4 year stint in the Navy in WW2…The pre WW2 Tony Zale would have murdered Graziano and so would have the Freddie Steele, Fred Apostoli, Al Hostak, Solly Krieger group of the late 1930s 160 pounders. I loved Rocky Graziano fights, as I saw him fight in his prelim days.The most exciting fighter I ever saw, not the best, but his early bouts were like watching a street brawl. But the 3 Tony Zale bouts ruined Rocky forever. Took so much out of him. As for Tony Zale, he is so vastly underrated today mainly because of his ko at the hands of Marcel Cerdan in 1948 when he was 35 years old…I watched Marcel Cerdan decision a tough Georgie Abrams at the old MSG in 1946. A rough, tough MW, but prime for prime I think Tony Zale would beat Cerdan IMO. I also think that a prime Tony Zale would give Marvin Hagler hell both in their primes .I cannot see a taker like Vito Antuofermo lasting the limit with a ore WW2 Zale…Saying all this I have a hunch that a GGG has the right stuff to fit in with all the top middleweights not named Harry Greb…

  8. Clarence George 07:55pm, 08/23/2014

    Always a pleasure to hear your views, Raxman.

    It’s true that Cotto-Golovkin wouldn’t be the biggest money-maker, but it would do a lot better than Cotto-Lee, which I think is very likely for December.  While Cotto-Mayweather is a possibility for May, I think Floyd is likelier to face Khan or Brook.  Cotto-Alvarez is another possibility, but Roach isn’t eager for it, and neither is Cotto himself (that said, I think that fight is well-nigh inevitable at some point next year).  Assuming for the sake of argument that what you say of Bradley is correct, the fight would nevertheless not take place at 160, and that’s the only weight Cotto should be fighting as long as he remains a middleweight and holder of the WBC.  Cotto has every reason to be proud of becoming middleweight champ (well, one of them), but his remaining at 160 just isn’t tenable.  Let’s not forget that he was only 155, one pound above junior, when he beat Martinez.  What he should do, and sooner rather than later, is beat a dignified retreat back to 154.

  9. raxman 06:53pm, 08/23/2014

    Clarence - its not that Cotto vs Golovkin wouldn’t make money. it would; but it would all be coming from Cotto’s fan base as GGG just doesn’t have those sorts of fan numbers, yet. I think the obvious thing is Cotto taking a non ppv fight vs an opponent he will certainly beat and then rematch Floyd next May, should Floyd not be upset by Maidana.
    and then, no doubt, Cotto takes his pension pay out fight vs Canelo
    as for the cotto vs Bradley thing, I think the size difference wouldn’t be as stand out obvious as you think - cotto is only an inch taller, and Bradley is a tank who could easily carry the extra weight - the problem would be fighting with the increased weight for the first time against a talent like cotto

  10. Clarence George 01:57pm, 08/22/2014

    It seems to be generally accepted that Cotto-Golovkin wouldn’t be a money-maker, but I ain’t buying that.  I do think, however, that Cotto-Bradley would generate far more horselaughs than coin.  The big bad middleweight beating up an itty-bitty welter…c’mon.

  11. Pete The Sneak 05:05am, 08/22/2014

    “And secondly GGG is a full sized middleweight who not only gives cotto no chance of winning but also brings zero to the table as far as $ go.

    I think raxman nailed it with the above quote. Cotto (Like FMJ) is only looking for big money fights with opponents to which he will have a chance to both win and clean up $... Such is boxing today, and Cotto is no different…As for Roach, heck, his job is to protect his fighter. It’s a lot easier for Freddie to say ” “Golovkin has yet to prove himself worthy of finding himself in the ring with the Puerto Rican warrior” than saying “I will not allow my fighter to commit suicide.”...Say what you want, but if the Bradley challenge does not come to fruition, I guarantee you Cotto/Canelo will be the next big upcoming fight at some BS catchweight….Bank on it…Peace.

  12. Clarence George 02:24am, 08/22/2014

    I agree, Glenn, but he’s got to step up the opposition.

  13. GlennR 08:44pm, 08/21/2014

    Tell you who i do like the look of Clarence, that’s Daniel Jacobs.
    Looks a well rounded fighter with fairly good power

  14. Clarence George 07:23pm, 08/21/2014

    Sorry, guys, but I was watching “Venom.”  Speaking of which, Sarah Myles drinks a cup of her own urine every day.  Disgusting, but at least now we know where Marquez got the idea from.

    Glenn:  Martinez has been finished since Chavez, Jr.  Good reasons for Cotto-Alvarez, but where does that leave Cotto not only as a middleweight, but also as that division’s lineal champion?  Is he going to fight at 160 or is he going to return to 154?  My thinking is that he can’t keep up this masquerade much longer.  My opinion, Glenn, is that there’s no one at middleweight who can beat Golovkin.

    Irish:  Zale is my favorite middleweight of all time.  I’m also a big fan of Graziano, whose reputation has been somewhat diminished in recent years.  Indefensibly, in my opinion.  Roach’s remark about Golovkin is manifestly ridiculous, but what’s he gonna say?  He knows Cotto can’t beat the Kazakh.  Hell, he knows he’s got no future at middleweight.

    Raxman:  Have to disagree with you on Cotto-Bradley.  Regardless of what weight Cotto originally came from, as long as he’s the lineal middleweight champ he has no business fighting a welter, or at any weight other than 160.

    Koolz:  I don’t think Cotto will ever fight Golovkin…he’ll vacate.

  15. Koolz 05:53pm, 08/21/2014

    Roach can’t keep up the illusion forever.  Sooner or later he is going to have to admit that Cotto isn’t a true middleweight.  Sooner or later his BS replies are not going to save his fighter.

    my favorite one was when he said he never seen Golovkin fight till the Geale fight!  WHAT!  he was right there when Chavez Jr was Sparring with Golovkin as this gym!

    “you can run but you can’t hide”

    GGG train will be stopping by in 2015!

  16. raxman 05:08pm, 08/21/2014

    As most of you say the problem is two fold -one cotto isn’t a true 160pounder. he was able to get in the ring with Martinez for the reasons that Sergio also was at the smaller end of the 160 pound scale and because $ wise it made sense given Martinez’s profile in the sport.
    And secondly GGG is a full sized middleweight who not only gives cotto no chance of winning but also brings zero to the table as far as $ go.
    I think its pointless beyond the fun of nostalgia to compare todays fighters and their fights with those of zale, rocky g etc. if those guys of yesterday were fighting under todays system of promoters and ppv they would be giving us exactly the same as what cotto and roach are serving up BS and hyperbole
    I quite like the idea of cotto v Bradley - they both come from 140pounds - the size difference wont be so great. also I like the canelo fight but for cotto that fight can happen anytime, with or without the title, so can wait until he gets his mayweather pt 2 pay day using the 160pound title as his leverage

  17. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:32pm, 08/21/2014

    Clarence George-Parkinsons is a bugger…..outward appearances tell a different story…..but Roach is still sharp as a tack and not just about all things boxing…..he’s still feisty and ready to go at the drop of a hat and I think he has a chip on his shoulder about the whole damn thing.

  18. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:14pm, 08/21/2014

    Clarence George-Zale worked that right to the body left hook to the head combo over and over in their third go round shown above…...Rocky was already in LaLa Land when Tony landed the final doozy! Man could Jerry Dunphy do blow by blow…..not one punch missed or called wrong.

  19. GlennR 03:08pm, 08/21/2014

    Yep, Sergio got that wrong. His knees didnt want to play.

    Personally, i think Cotto-Canelo is the ONLY fight that makes sense for Cotto.  Theres money in it, it should be a good fight, and he gets to avoid GGG.
    Three good reasons!

    By the way, an current MW’s you see bothering GGG at all?

  20. Clarence George 03:01pm, 08/21/2014

    No, he didn’t deserve the fight, but Martinez thought he could take him.  As did I.

    The only problem with your suggestion, Glenn, is that Freddie is anything but hot on the idea of his boy going up against Alvarez.  I’m not sure who’d win (have to give it some thought), but it’d probably be a good fight.  And one that makes sense.  What doesn’t make sense is Cotto at middleweight.

  21. GlennR 02:50pm, 08/21/2014

    Good reference Clarence.
    I guess its just another example of whats wrong with boxing today.
    He didn’t deserve the fight in the 1st place, credit for his great win though, and now he is in a division of guys, well, just a lot bigger than him.

    I think it time for a dignified retreat back to JMW for Mr Cotto, and Canelo is his obvious stepping stone to get there

  22. Clarence George 02:39pm, 08/21/2014

    Cotto’s in more of a pickle than most, Glenn.  I’m reminded of that scene in “The Candidate,” where the Robert Redford character unexpectedly wins the election, turns to his campaign manager, and asks, “What do we do now?” 

    Cotto took out Martinez and is now the WBC champ.  Now what?  He’s not a real middleweight.  He might be able to handle someone from the second-tier, but that’s about it.  Golovkin?  Cotto wouldn’t have a chance, knows it, and that’s why he’ll never fight him.

  23. GlennR 02:27pm, 08/21/2014

    Yep, its a load of crap isnt it.
    If i hear one more “Champion” talking about a catch weight fight i think ill lose my lunch.

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