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Miguel Cotto threatens to vacate title: "145lbs is not a category!"

“The weight of 145 pounds is not a category."
- Miguel Cotto (who weighed 146lbs in his title defense against Joshua Clottey last month).


Mental games have already begun this past week, as pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao has requested that WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto put his title on the line when they meet in their highly anticipated welterweight contest scheduled for November 14th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. The 12 round fight will be fought at a catch weight of 145lbs, but there are still questions as to whether or not it will be a title fight. Cotto has recently insisted that he is willing to risk his title against the Philippine superstar – only if the fight takes place at the weight limit of 147lbs. In the event that Pacquiao refuses to comply with Cotto's request to meet him at the 147lbs pound limit, Cotto has threatened to vacate his title.

According to an interview with Puerto Rico’s newspaper Primerahora, Cotto adamantly claimed, “The weight of 145 pounds is not a category." With no intentions of mocking Mr. Cotto, I would be quick to point out that any fighter who is competing over the weight limit of 140lbs is officially considered a welterweight in the sport of boxing. Therefore, I believe Cotto's title absolutely should be on the line in his fight with Pacquiao this fall. In his last fight on June 13, a title defense against Joshua Clottey at Madison Square Garden, Cotto weighed in at 146lbs. How is the weight of 145lbs not a weight category in Cotto's upcoming fight with Pacquiao, if Cotto’s weight of 146lbs was justifiable enough for him to defend his championship against Clottey?

There are reasons why Cotto may not want to risk his title in this fight, which from a business stand point might make sense and are completely understandable. In a match up between these two fighters, Pacquiao is on A-side of the business equation, which means he is the bigger star of the two fighters. Being that he is Top Rank promoter Bob Arum's bread and butter super star, Pacquiao's star power will have a serious influence on how much revenue the event is going to generate. Should Cotto lose, he remains a star in his own right, as he will retain the loyalty and support of his native Puerto Rico, but he also realizes he would still have the WBO title as bargaining leverage for future fights if he loses to Pacquiao without putting it on the line.

Pacquiao is widely regarded as the best fighter in the world in any weight class, so belts should not make or break his status in the sport as much as he would like to win another world title in a new weight division. What is most important at the end of the day is the significance and anticipation of this mega fight. Should the fight result in a memorable battle between two of the best and most exciting pugilists in the world today, fans are probably not going to remember whether or not a sanctioning body’s title belt was being contested.

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