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Boxing: Cotto wants Hatton

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posted on Dec, 30 2004 @ 06:53 AM
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Exciting Puerto Rican light-welterweight Miguel Cotto is willing to travel to England to fight Ricky Hatton, according to his promoter Bob Arum. However, Arum revealed he would also like to see his WBO champion take on the division's top dog Kostya Tszyu - whom Hatton is expected to meet in the new year. Cotto, two years Hatton's junior, is seen as a hotter prospect than the 'Hitman' in the United States and reaffirmed his potential with a comfortable sixth-round stoppage of former champion Randall Bailey on the same night as Hatton beat durable Ray Oliveira in London.

"You're going to see Miguel Cotto in some very significant fights immediately in 2005," the head of Top Rank told www.secondsout.com.

"We feel he's served his apprenticeship, and it's now time for the marquee names and to prove that Miguel Cotto is the best junior welterweight in the world.

"I wouldn't hesitate putting him in with the biggest names right now, in his next fight - and that includes Kostya Tszyu, Arturo Gatti, Floyd Mayweather, Ricky Hatton and whoever else."

Gatti and Mayweather look set to meet in what may be the most eagerly-anticipated fight of 2005, leaving Hatton and Tszyu in the equation. Hatton's promoter Frank Warren claims to have agreed a deal to stage Hatton-Tszyu in England next spring - which the Russian's promoter Vlad Wharton has apparently agreed to, despite murmurings to the contrary by the the fighter himself. Should Tszyu wriggle out of a showdown with Hatton, the mandatory challenger for his IBF belt, Cotto may be given a window of opportunity to face the division's main man.

Arum would be happy to put his boy in with either man - in their territory if necessary.

"We will travel for the big fights. A ring is the same, no matter where it is set up," he said.

"It's ludicrous that these fighters won't go to the other guy's hometown. As long as you have neutral officials, what difference does it make?

"Some of my best fighters won their belts abroad - 'Marvellous' Marvin Hagler beat Alan Minter in England. Sure, we had to duck bottles after the fight - but Marvin got the title."

Arum also played down the impression that unbeaten 24-year-old Cotto is not media-friendly in a sport which demands public relations skills.

"He takes this seriously and also he's worried that his English isn't quite good enough yet. I think he speaks great English - but once he feels fully comfortable he'll be giving as many interviews as reporters want. He's a lovely kid."

As the number of 'alphabet titles' which devalue the sport increase, Arum insists belts are not the be-all and end-all in his opinion.

"Titles don't mean anything any more," the promoter said.

"Fans just don't care. Fans look for the matches now, who is fighting who. The title is nothing to do with it.

"There's so many titles they've all become meaningless. For the last few years, the fans just don't care."

But put on the spot about Cotto's WBO belt, he said: "On the way up, titles are important. You've got to have titles to have establish a star - but once they are established the fighters don't need a title." Arum's opinions are borne out by this weekend's light-heavyweight showdown between Roy Jones' conquerors Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, who relinquished their respective WBC and WBA and IBF titles to make the fight the fans wanted.

Sportinglife




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