23.2.09

Franchise Thoughts: Top Rank Can't Risk Losing Miguel Cotto By Supporting Antonio Margarito

Top Rank's Bob Arum should be smiling.

After all, he just watched two of his top fighters, Kelly Pavlik and Miguel Cotto, bounce back from losses on the same night. When it comes to the latter, though, there's got to be a little bit of nervousness to go with that smile.

That's because for the first time, Cotto doesn't isn't exactly thrilled with his promoter. Seeing said promoter show very vocal support for someone who may have cheated to beat you has a tendency to do that sort of thing.

Not that I expected Arum to immediately distance himself from Antonio Margarito after the former welterweight champion was suspended for a year for the foreign substance found in his hand wraps before he fought Shane Mosley. It was only natural for Arum to imply that trainer Javier Capetillo should shoulder the blame alone, or that his man was the victim of a conspiracy of some sort.

The trouble is that most rational people don't believe that, including Cotto. Though he never said it directly, Cotto's comments in the weeks leading up to his comeback fight made it pretty clear that he felt Margarito should be held responsible for anything found in his own gloves.

It's also true that just because Margarito was caught attempting to cheat against Mosley doesn't mean he did so in the past. But in my years of experience in loss prevention, I've seen many people claim they were breaking the rules for the first time. Most of them turned out to be lying.

None of that would have mattered if Cotto would have continued to stumble. Why worry about insulting a fighter whose career is down in the gutter?

But with Cotto rebounding nicely - and yes, Michael Jennings didn't pose much of a challenge - Arum's public stance regarding Margarito suddenly seems a lot more risky.

Margarito won't be able to fight in the U.S. for at least a year. He can (and probably will) fight in his native Mexico, but he may as well be radioactive, as no contender worth his salt is going to go near him any time soon.

And even without the suspension, I'd argue that Cotto has a brighter future in front of him. He's younger, his style lends itself to slightly less abuse and he's more marketable - he looked like a NASCAR driver coming to the ring against Jennings with all of the sponsors on his robe.

Several media outlets were reporting that Cotto was upset enough to consider leaving Top Rank when his current contract expires, so Arum has to take the possibility seriously. Maybe he sees a way to tap dance around the issue or negotiate something (his background is in law, after all) that keeps both men on board and reasonably happy.

If it comes down to an either-or situation though, it's a no-brainer. Keep Cotto, jettison Margarito.

The alternative doesn't make sense, or dollars, for that matter.

Posted by The Franchise

1 comment:

odds said...

All the Best for Both

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