Before you read what you're about to read below, please bear in mind that this was immediately after I watched "GGG" dispatch an over-matched Daniel Geale last summer. It was before the New England Patriots or Seattle Seahawks began their 2014 seasons, and well before Golovkin would go on to chop down Marco Antonio Rubio last October. After both of those contests, HBO commentator Max Kellerman asked Golovkin who he wanted to face next. Each time his was answer, unequivocally, Miguel Cotto. So last week, after a methodical and punishing 11th round submission of a game Martin Murray, Max had to go there again.
"I want to fight Miguel Cotto. I want a unification bout." dead-panned Golovkin. He got right to the point and gave us the bottom line.
When I wrote what you'll read below, it was with the utmost respect for a fighter in Cotto who I'd never known to avoid anyone in the sport. He became the middleweight division's lineal champion courtesy of the WBC belt he snatched from a man who was flat out scared of Golovkin in Sergio Martinez.
I'm personally tired of all the talk about who Golovkin hasn't faced, or among some circles, that he still hasn't fought anyone. That is absolutely ridiculous. He's now fought 3 times since Cotto beat Martinez last June, and has CALLED-HIM-OUT after each victory. Cotto played games with Saul Canelo Alvarez at the negotiating table, before apparently deciding that fight wasn't a good idea.
Now, my partners over at Real Combat Media, shared with me today that the WBC has issued an edict that his mandatory defense be against Golovkin. This after, he of course as champion, can choose a "voluntary" before being subject to their mandatory.
“No organization owns my career. I will do what is best for me and what I want to do.” says Cotto.
But defending your lineal championship against "K9" Bundrage, in June @MSG, is a punk-ass move when Triple G is staring you in the face on the heels of Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. WBC champs go out on their shield, they don't hide behind them.
And for the record, I've updated my prediction below of a "GGG"/Cotto fight, to tell you just why Miguel doesn't want to face what he apparently thinks is the scariest "007" James Bond villain of all-time.
Um... That's not good.
See, the thing that was most impressive about Golovkin's one-punch decimation of Geale (we'll ignore the left-handed slap on the back of Geale's head on his way down), is that it came after he was struck by a full impact shot from Geale, and while he was delivering the knockout punch.
Geale's mind went into another zipcode, and his legs instantly turned into al dente pasta from a less than full impact flush right hand. Only someone truly great can do this to a world-class fighter. This is like Tom Brady completing a deep throw touchdown pass while being nailed by a Seattle Seahawk (alright I'm a Patriots fan I couldn't resist).
But you get my point.
When I offered the forecast of Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martinez right before it happened (you can see that here if you like, I was like... really accurate) I offered that sometimes life's a bitch and then it decides to have puppies.
I was metaphorically referring to Sergio Martinez, who barked about his bite right up until he was bitten into retreat by a real dog in Cotto. No disrespect to Martinez, but I never felt he was a top 10 pound for pound best fighter in the world - ever - and that Cotto would be a stylistic nightmare for him.
Why he decided to continue with his career is anyone's guess, all he's going to have is more bad dreams.
I don't think Cotto would toss n' turn over Golovkin, but that doesn't make him any less of a nightmare. He is - and always has been, a very proud and supremely confident fighter who works very hard in one of the most demanding trades in the world. His has been the story of a renaissance, for he was all but considered dead after extending Floyd Mayweather in a tough decision loss (while wearing the gloves Marcos Maidana was not allowed to use I might add); then serving as almost cannon fodder in single-handedly marking the arrival of Austin Trout.
In his two fights "back" under Freddie Roach, Cotto has looked like the monster he was at 140lbs in destroying Delvin Rodriguez at 154, and then of course his sadistic dismissal of Martinez to capture the RING and WBC lineal middleweight titles in June. But how would all of this translate in a fight with Golovkin, who isn't anything like Rodriguez or Martinez, or really anything he's ever seen before. Cotto has never been one to back down from a challenge and arguably boasts the most impressive resume in all of boxing. But is he willing to accept Golovkin's challenge?
Or the better question might be, should he?
GENNADY "GGG" GOLOVKIN VS. MIGUEL COTTO
Cotto is stalling this fight, and the process, he's proving to be a gutless WBC middleweight champion. For a fighter who knows a thing or two about a big fight, Miguel Cottto fighting Gennady "GGG" Golovkin is the biggest fight he can make north of a fight with Canelo - which he blew because he's a diva.
Both fight on HBO, and from a promotional stand point its a fight that's friendly to make. Cotto has always been a sensation and box office bonanza at Madison Square Garden, so pairing him with Golovkin at MSG (where the Kazakhstan terror has been a success in his own right) on or near Puerto Rican Day is this close to a no-brainer.
After beating the hell out of Daniel Geale, Golovkin made a direct declaration of war right in front of Cotto's trainer Freddie Roach, who sat ringside to scout "GGG" himself. Golovkin did it again after bludgeoning Marco Antonio Rubio, then of course, just this past week after pounding Martin Murray in 11 sadistic rounds.
I don't yet know how Freddie has assessed what he's seen, but given Miguel's obvious apprehension and lack of a definitive response, it can't be good.
Roach has been able to do successfully remind Cotto of who he was at his best. He's rid him of the over-thinking tendency he developed and got him to close space while operating behind a textbook blend of skills.
His best punch, the left hook, is once again one of boxing's most feared weapons, and his debilitating body attack has been fully restored. Given what I saw this past week from Golovkin, Cotto would be very competitive with the Kazakhstani menace. He is a much better fighter than Geale or Rubio, and can do some of the things Murray did to offer Golovkin much more resistance.
Geale, with his side-to-side, in and out frenzied nature - found out that going "in" on Golovkin gets you out of a fight rather quickly. Cotto, with more advanced footwork and more polished ring movement; to go along with his high guard, compact shoulders and better overall game, would advance Golovkin with the best offensive arsenal that he's probably ever seen.
Cotto would believe in himself right up to the point where he started being effected by what I think is Golovkin's most punishing weapon of them all: his thunderous jab.
Golovkin turns, relaxes his right shoulder, and thrusts his entire body weight into the jab with his feet firmly planted.
It alone would start immediately rearranging Miguel's features, make him fallback, and get him to start fighting in retreat. A fairly competitive bout for maybe 2 or 3 rounds would start turning into a comprehensive beating of sorts. Everything Golovkin throws is heavy- whether inside at close range or from a distance. Cotto would be rendered cut, swollen, bruised, battered, and basically beaten the hell out of.
The best version of Miguel Cotto I've ever seen was against Manny Pacquiao in 2009. The 2nd best version was against Martinez. Pacquiao overwhelmed Cotto with his blinding speed and variety. Golovkin would run roughshod over him with an almost bionic aggression, subjecting him to the ugliest beating he's never dreamed of.
Miguel is near the zenith of his career and he knows it. That is why he's currently milking the championship, but I just heard the cow yell "MOOOOOOOOOOOO-VE!" and he has to stop squeezing sh*t.
With the Saul Canelo Alvarez superfight in the toilet, he can't put HBO in there too, because the network has been beyond fair to him. But I understand if he's trying to be fair with his health, and there's better things to do if that's the case - like retire.
But the bottom line is this... Freddie Roach, white towels and all, would jump into the ring and tackle Gennady "GGG" Golovkin in the 7th round, to stop him from damn near killing a very brave Miguel Cotto, as he'd become the "true" lineal middleweight champion of the world.