Cotto faces Alvarez in big middleweight showdown
LAS VEGAS >> The grand plan for Canelo Alvarez is to win Saturday night, then set up his pay-per-view franchise on the same Mexican holiday weekends that Floyd Mayweather Jr. always made his millions.
The plan for Miguel Cotto isn't nearly as ambitious, though it could be almost as lucrative. After reinventing himself with famed trainer Freddie Roach, Cotto will be in the mix for even more big money fights should he upset Alvarez in their 155-pound fight.
Unlike Alvarez, Cotto will have to do it without a title after being stripped of his piece of the middleweight crown this week for refusing to pay a $300,000 sanctioning fee to the WBC.
"I don't need a title," Cotto said. "This fight speaks for itself."
Promoters hope it is speaking loudly as they try to sell the bout from the Mandalay Bay resort for $69.95 on pay-per-view. Cotto and Alvarez could potentially be a fight of the year candidate, but could also be a tough sell for those disillusioned with Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s win over Manny Pacquiao in May.
They're counting on big Hispanic interest in a fight matching traditional rivals from Mexico and Puerto Rico.
"For Latinos all over the world, this is our Super Bowl," said Oscar De La Hoya, who promotes Alvarez. "This is an event that not one Hispanic, not one Latino is going to miss. That is how important this event is to us."
Alvarez is a 3-1 favorite in a fight that will be closely watched by others in or near the middleweight division. Title holder Gennady Golovkin will be at ringside, and could face the winner sometime next year in a megafight that would rival some of the retired Mayweather's promotions.
It's a fight that could do a lot for both boxers. It's also a fight Alvarez needs badly if he is to become the superstar De La Hoya believes he will be and be a part of big fights in May and September next year.
"We understand obviously the magnitude of this fight," Alvarez said through an interpreter. "We must win the fight."
The fight was going to be for Cotto's middleweight title, but that went out the window this week when he refused to pay the sanctioning fee to the WBC. Alvarez would be declared the WBC champion if he wins the bout, but the title would be vacant if Cotto wins.
Not that Cotto is terribly concerned with the gaudy green belt. After paying Golovkin $800,000 to step aside so he could fight Alvarez, he wasn't going to dig any deeper into his wallet despite his $10 million payday for the bout.
"With $1.1 million, I can buy any belt I want," Cotto said. "I can be champion of whatever I want in my own house."
Cotto has rebounded under Roach after nearly ending his career following back-to-back losses to Mayweather and Austin Trout in 2012. He was getting hit too much and went to Los Angeles to see if Roach could help lead a resurgence in the ring.
The two clicked, and Cotto has stopped all three of his opponents under Roach.
"I wanted to make sure I still had something," Cotto said. "Possibly I would have retired from boxing three years ago if Freddie didn't think I had something left."
Alvarez, whose only loss came to Mayweather in their 2013 fight, has won his three fights since. He's already a huge draw in his native Mexico and has shown he can sell pay-per-views, although a win over Cotto could take him to a new level.
Alvarez likes to walk down his opponents and is more than willing to trade punches. Cotto has in the past gotten into exchanges he later regretted. But at age 35, he wants to box more against an opponent who is a decade younger.
"I know I can punch, and I can hit hard," Cotto said. "But now at this moment I'm looking for the perfect occasion, and I'm creating the perfect opportunity just to hit my opponent. Now I understand that I have 36 minutes to finish my opponent, and I use every second of it."
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