Most of us reading and writing on this website have normal, everyday, “average Joe” jobs. For those lucky few who do not, bear with me as I make a common man’s analogy.
Imagine this scenario:
You’re a salesman. Over the last couple months, you’ve been bringing in stellar numbers. As your numbers rise, so too does your boss’s confidence in you. In fact, you’ve done so well lately that he calls you into his office and informs you that you have been chosen as the lead on the next big out-of-town sales call.
Obviously, you’re pumped at his faith in you. You travel that weekend to some big corporation certain that your boss chose the right man for the job.
Only, you screw up. You not only lose the sale—you lose the customer.
Afterwards, your boss does the right thing and forgives you—even the best of men make an error every now and then (just ask Jim Joyce).
A month later, Mr. Boss decides to give you another chance.
But you screw up again. You mess up an even bigger sale this time—and lose your company even more money. You instantly fall into a state of depression, dreading the tongue-lashing waiting for you in your boss’s office.
Yet, curiously, instead of cursing your mother’s decision NOT to send you off to Barnum and Bailey, he gives you a fist-pound as he hands you a first-class ticket to your next big sales job. “Go get ‘em big guy.”
Now, if this happened to you, wouldn’t you be a little surprised? Wouldn’t it seem like you were dreaming?
So, pinch yourself, Miguel Cotto—because this scenario is exactly what’s happening to you.
Three fights ago, Miguel Cotto received an old-school beatdown at the hands of Antonio Margarito. It no doubt was a great fight, one that Max Kellerman appropriately labeled a “modern boxing classic.”
But while Margarito’s corner carried him around the ring (with his gloves off, conspiracy theorists), Cotto hobbled out of the ring looking like the Karate Kid after the punks in skeleton masks jumped him.
After a tune-up, Cotto then squeaked by Joshua Clottey with an equally rose-colored grimace as the judges read off the controversial scorecards.
When Cotto and Manny Pacquiao eventually squared off last November, many estimated that Cotto may have stolen a few rounds from the Filipine sensation. Outside of those few rounds, however, Pacquaio thoroughly schooled the former champion, forcing a stoppage in the 12th and final round.
A knockout is no small thing for non-smalltime boxers. Barring certain Ali-Frazier exceptions, it’s the equivalent of receiving a big time sales call and costing your company money.
You shouldn’t have an opportunity to fight for a title following two knockouts and a controversial victory by decision.
Life just doesn’t work that way—and neither should boxing.
With that being said, this Saturday’s matchup between Miguel Cotto and Yuri Foreman is everything wrong with boxing.
Now, I’m not taking anything away from Foreman. Good for you, Yuri Foreman. You’ve earned a lucrative fight at New York Stadium. But, Miguel Cotto? How greedy can we be?
It’s as if the boxing powers-that-be simply threw a name in there against Foreman that they figured the average fan would recognize. Like we’d be perusing our TV Guide, spot Cotto, and say, “Oh, I recognize him! Turn it to channel 103, honey! I am curious as to what will ensue!”
These belts mean nothing. There’s millions. I’m pretty sure I could make up an acronym, throw a belt in there, and call myself a champion.
Where are the fights that we really want to see? Paul Williams, Andre Berto, Haye, Martinez, Lopez, Dawson—these people should be fighting EVERYONE!
I’m sick of greedy promoters placing moneymakers against real fighters. Juan Diaz gets a rematch against Marquez? Are you kidding me? Margarito fights Pacquiao? I think I’m going to throw up!
Lastly, give the young guys a chance. I’m tired of seeing people beat Luis Collazo, Zab Judah, Edison Miranda, Winky Wright, etc. I want to see some young talent.
It’s like some of these fighters' stock never goes down, no matter how many losses they accrue. Like they’re playing Playstation and have a memory card that enables them to carry on from where they finished without restarting the level.
Many people might say that a loss is just one loss, a minor setback. To this, I would reply—you’re right, it is—in any other sport. But boxing is a completely different monster.
One fight can usher in the next star (think Cotto versus Mosley). But it can also dethrone the latest one (think Calzaghe over Lacy).
For this reason, anyone who gets KO’ed should mandatorily have to work his way back up to the top. He should NOT receive a first-class ticket back there every time someone knocks him down.
Think about how much public interest would be generated by an all-out brawl in which both fighters put all their chips on the table!
Miguel Cotto has another chance to reignite his career tomorrow.
But, when considering what’s good for the sport, does he really deserve it?