Klitschko and Cotto: What’s next for two of Boxing’s Biggest Stars?
By Jeremy O’Connell
Wladimir Klitschko retained his Heavyweight Championship at the weekend, with a dominant, if foul-filled, beatdown of longtime top contender Alexander Povetkin. It was his 15th title defence (the 3rd most all time), and he continues his stint as the second longest reigning titleholder in Heavyweight history.
Where does he go from here, and does the 37 year old Ukrainian have 11 more defences in him to surpass Joe Louis’ all-division record of 25? Despite his dominance, there will be no shortage of challengers looking to grasp the brass ring (and big payday).
There is talk of a December fight, and WBO number 1 contender Denis Boytsov could be a possibility. The IBF mandatory, Kubrat Pulev, looms for some time in 2014, and that is now the most significant fight that can be made in the division.
I would not rule out a David Haye rematch at some distant point in the future, and fights with the likes of Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury will always be big business. Bryant Jennings, Tomasz Adamek and Odlanier Solis also seem plausible future opponents, although the contest that could bring Wladimir back to America at some point would be a mega-fight with the untested puncher Deontay Wilder.
Miguel Cotto, coming off successive defeats to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Austin Trout, (and armed with a new trainer in Freddie Roach) returned to prominence with a 3 round destruction of respected fringe contender Delvin Rodriguez. Virtually no one had predicted a blowout, but Cotto’s combination of aggressiveness and a renewed emphasis on left-hooks and body punching, overwhelmed Rodriguez.
The future is now bright for a man who, because he isn’t contractually tied to either Top Rank or Golden Boy, can straddle the promotional cold war divide.
His two most attractive options would be a showdown with Mexican Jr. Middleweight star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, or a move up to Middleweight to face lineal champion Sergio Martinez.
The latter seems more likely, because of Cotto’s stated desire to see out his career with Top Rank (whose top-tier fights air exclusively on HBO, the network with which Sergio Martinez is also aligned), as well as the latest rumblings from members of Cotto’s team.
It is also the fight which I would prefer, because of the historical significance of Cotto looking to become the first Puerto Rican to win a title in 4 divisions, as well as the fact that I, at least right now, would personally favour Cotto to score the upset over the fading Martinez.
Whatever path he chooses, Cotto is back, and there a dollar signs in his eyes.
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