RING middleweight champion Miguel Cotto will return to Madison Square Garden on Dec. 13 against an opponent to be determined, marking his 10th appearance at the venue, and his 12th overall in New York.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum also confirmed reports that former middleweight title challenger Andy Lee (33-2, 23 KOs) is a consideration to be Cotto’s opponent.
In his last fight at The Garden in June, Cotto (39-4, 32 knockouts) scored three first-round knockdowns on the way to a 10th round stoppage that dethroned Sergio Martinez for the RING and WBC championships.
Cotto’s 160-pound debut made him the first Puerto Rican fighter to become a four-division titlewinner. In addition, Cotto, who turns 34 in October, improved to 8-1 with five stoppages at the Garden, and to 10-1 with six knockouts in New York.
A protege of the late trainer Emanuel Steward, Lee has won five straight fights, three of them by stoppage, since, himself, being knocked out in the seventh round by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June 2012.
Lee, who turned 30 in June, was last in action for a fifth-round knockout of John Jackson, rising from a first-round knockdown in a clash that happened on the Cotto-Martinez undercard.
Although Lee has been mentioned, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said the final decision will be made following discussions between Cotto, his legal advisor, Gaby Penagaricano and Top Rank President Todd duBoef.
“Lou DiBella did call me about Andy Lee, and I said, ‘Yeah, that would be a good fight.’ But, again, the ball is in Cotto’s court. It’s Cotto’s date, and he’ll decide what he wants to do,” said Arum, referring to Lee’s promoter, Lou DiBella.
“I love Andy Lee. To me, he’s a terrific fighter and a great attraction and a nice young man. I have known him since he was with Emanuel. But I can’t say what Cotto is going to do. There are a lot of other fighters that he could fight. So, certainly it will be worked out with Todd and Cotto and Gaby.”
Not only does Lee share the same promoter as Martinez in DiBella, but he is also a lefthander, as is Martinez. Lee also shares a common opponent to Martinez in Chavez.
Lee was ahead in a dogfight before being stopped by Chavez. Chavez also trailed throughout his next bout against Martinez, who rose from a 12th-round knockdown to dethrone Chavez for the WBC belt by unanimous decision in September 2012.
Given the results, does Lee have any more of a shot at defeating Cotto than did Martinez?
“Well, it’s going to be a rumble if it happens. I mean, they’re going to mix it up. Andy’s not a hard guy to find, and he likes to engage, so it would be a good fight. I just hope that Cotto gives Andy the opportunity. We want the fight, and we’re waiting on the verdict of Cotto to let us know if he wants the fight,” said DiBella.
“Generally, we know that Miguel Cotto’s going to fight at The Garden on Dec. 13, and Andy would love the opportunity to be the opponent. But I don’t want to jinx anything. Obviously, Miguel Cotto’s the champion, and he’s a Hall of Famer, and he’s an exciting fighter and it would be an exciting fight.”
MIGUEL COTTO’S FIGHTS IN NEW YORK
Waklimi Young, UD 4, Hammerstein Ballroom, April 28, 2001
Muhammad Abdullaev, TKO 9, Madison Square Garden, June 11, 2005
Paulie Malignaggi, UD 12, Madison Square Garden, June 10, 2006
Zab Judah, TKO 11, Madison Square Garden, June 9, 2007
Shane Mosley, UD 12, Madison Square Garden, November 10, 2007
Michael Jennings, TKO 5, Madison Square Garden, February 21, 2009
Joshua Clottey, SD 12, Madison Square Garden, June 13, 2009
Yuri Foreman, TKO 9, Yankee Stadium, June 5, 2010
Antonio Margarito, TKO 9, Madison Square Garden, December 3, 2011
Austin Trout, L UD 12, Madison Square Garden, December 1, 2012
Sergio Martinez TKO 10 Madison Square Garden, June 7, 2014