Miguel Cotto ultimately turned down millions of dollars to lose to Austin Trout.
The only thing that stood between Cotto and a rematch with Manny Pacquiao was pride. The Puerto Rican fighter let it get the best of him, and, as a result, he just lost to the least prestigious competitor of his career.
Dan Rafael of ESPN reported in early October that not Juan Manuel Marquez, but Cotto was Pacquiao’s first choice to fight this upcoming Saturday. Cotto-Pacquiao II didn’t happen, though, because Junito felt disrespected by Bob Arum’s proposal.
According to Rafael, Arum claimed to have offered Cotto $13 million to fight Pacquiao—a number that the fighter denied. Cotto argued that Arum never planned to pay him any more than what he received from his bout with PacMan in 2009. And on top of the money, Arum allegedly asked him drop down to 150 pounds. Per ESPN, Cotto said:
If he wants a big name and wants to fight the best, no catchweight. Making catchweights is easy for them. They make the other guy have trouble making weight and they take advantage of that. I wasn't going to do that again. I am 154 pounds. I am not going to fight at a catchweight and make myself weak.
Now, don’t get it twisted—Trout proved that he was a worthy opponent winning by unanimous decision. But that doesn’t change the fact that, in hindsight, Cotto should’ve definitely just fought Pacquiao.
Sure, he would’ve had to lose weight. Did Cotto really opt for much better, though? Instead of being slightly weakened against Pacquiao, he chose to compete against a fighter in Trout whose reach is five inches longer and is five years younger.
The logic isn’t there.
And so what if he would’ve lost to Pacquiao too? It wouldn’t have hurt his legacy as much as a loss to Trout, who, prior to Saturday night’s fight, was only ranked No. 8 on ESPN’s list of the top junior middleweights.
Cotto got less dough to suffer a greater letdown. It’s safe to say that he’d love a mulligan.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.