MORE than money, weight issue forced Miguel Cotto to pass on a grudge rematch with Filipino conqueror Manny Pacquiao.
Lawyer Gabriel Penagaricano, Cotto's longtime adviser, said prize purse was not a problem as the Puerto Rican great is a boxing star himself who commands a lot of following especially in pay-per-view buys.
But it’s his inability to go down to a possible catch weight of 150 lbs. that ultimately ruined a repeat of the two fighters’ classic 2009 welterweight title fight won by Pacquiao via a 12-round stoppage.
Cotto is now set to take on World Boxing Association super-welterweight title holder Austin Trout on December 1, leaving Pacquiao with option of either facing Timothy Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez in his ring comeback late this year.
“We explored the Pacquiao fight,” said Penagaricano in an ESPN interview. “We discussed it for several days, but there was no agreement. The weight was an issue, and we didn’t agree on all relevant aspects of the deal, so at the end, there was no agreement.”
Since that loss to Pacquiao three years ago, Cotto has moved up and campaigned as a junior middleweight, winning the World Boxing Association version of the 154-lbs. title until losing it to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a 12-round unanimous decision last May.
The Pacquiao camp is reportedly willing to go up to as high as 150 lbs., hoping to lure Cotto to another catch weight the way he did in 2009 when both parties agreed to fight at 147 lbs.
Had the fight been done, that would have been the highest Pacquiao would fight as trainer Freddie Roach had not been in favor of the boxing superstar fighting above 150 lbs.
The 33-year-old native of General Santos City succeeded in his first foray as junior middleweight by dominating big Mexican Antonio Margarito in 12 full rounds, but paid the price for it by suffering broken ribs.
Cotto, 33, for his part, has been having issues with his weight since his first meeting with the Pacman. Going down at 150 definitely poses a big problem for him.
Other than that, Penagaricano said there was really no problem to speak of, especially involving money.
“I think the most important thing is Miguel is in a position where he’s willing to say `no’ to these big fights if the terms are not 100 percent acceptable to him, “ added Penagaricano in a separate interview. “In other words, most of these opponents simply accept the big fights because there is a lot of money in them. Miguel is not in that position. He doesn’t need the money.
“He’s in a position where he can comfortably not take the fight.”