Mark E. Ortega

Cotto plans ring return later this year

 

LAS VEGAS – In attendance at Thursday’s press conference for the Showtime-televised WBA lightweight title tilt between Richard Abril and Sharif Bogere on Saturday was three-division titleholder Miguel Cotto.

Cotto was there in support of his two fighters, junior middleweight Jorge Melendez and lightweight Jeffrey Fontanez, who will appear on the Showtime Extreme portion of the Abril-Bogere undercard.

Cotto recently revealed that he plans to fight three more times before calling it a day as a fighter and focusing on his family. RingTV caught up with Cotto as well as his attorney Gaby Penagaricano prior to the press conference to touch on a few subjects.

Cotto lost a clear unanimous decision to undefeated WBA 154-pound title to Austin Trout last December at Madison Square Garden. A win for Cotto was supposed to line him up for a pay-per-view showdown with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, but instead it will be Trout who gets that match as he fights the undefeated Mexican sensation on April 20 in a Showtime-televised bout in San Antonio, Tex.

Cotto said he is unsure what his next move will be. When asked if there is potential to go up to 160 pounds given the right opponent, the Puerto Rican star didn’t seem totally adverse to the idea.

“We have to do the best we can do, and if that includes moving up to middleweight, then that is what we will do,” said Cotto.

No date has been set for Cotto’s return, but he told RingTV.com that he is targeting the later months, somewhere between October and December for his eventual return.

When asked his thoughts on April’s enticing matchup between Alvarez and Trout, Cotto didn’t tip his hand too much.

“If Canelo brings his strength, I could see him winning, but it is going to be a tough, tough fight,” said Cotto.

Also in attendance was Cotto’s attorney Gaby Penagaricano, who oversees some of the day-to-day operations of Miguel Cotto Promotions along with vice president Hector Soto and executive director Brian Perez.

One of the promotional outfit’s most notable fighters at the present time is featherweight Jayson Velez, who stopped an outmatched Salvador Sanchez II on the Cotto-Trout undercard. Velez was in line to fight both Billy Dib and Daniel Ponce de Leon at different times in title challenging opportunities. Instead, Dib fights Evgeny Gradovich on tomorrow’s headlining bout of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights and Ponce de Leon will defend his featherweight title against Abner Mares.

“We co-promote Jayson with Golden Boy and are currently in discussions on how to restructure his return,” offered Penagaricano.

Though the fight with Dib was an opportunity to fight for a world title, the kind of money that accompanies an ESPN2 headlining fight is not on par with what most feel a world title fight should bring. Penagaricano affirmed that this played a role in the fight not happening.

Also discussed was the future of Miguel’s second cousin, Abner Cotto, a 17-0 lightweight who at 25 years old is on the verge of fighting against quality opposition.

“Abner will fight April 6 and this will probably be his breakout year,” voiced Penagaricano. “We hope for him to challenge for a world title early next year or possibly at the end of this year if things go well enough.”

 

 

Photo / Elsa-Getty Images

Mark Ortega is the boxing columnist for the Martinez News-Gazette and is a member of the Boxing Writers Assoc. of America & RING Ratings Advisory Panel. He can be reached via e-mail at markeortega@gmail.comand followed via Twitter @MarkEOrtega.

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