• Welterweight

Manny v Marquez near-certain, as Cotto chooses Trout

Dan Rafael
September 1, 2012 « Mancini admits Aguero goal probably saved his job | Chartbeat test »

Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto, who was in the running to face Manny Pacquiao in a rematch in December, is off the list after announcing on Friday that he will challenge Austin Trout.

Cotto and Trout will meet December 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York, Cotto said on his official Twitter account. "I officially announce that my fight on December 1st at MSG will be with the undefeated WBA light-middleweight champion Austin Trout," Cotto said.

The 26-year-old Trout, nicknamed "No Doubt", is not a well-known fighter, but he has strong boxing skills and an unbeaten record. This will be, by far, the biggest fight of his career.

"I'm trying to put this legacy together and this is what I needed. I am ecstatic right now," Trout told ESPN.com. "I get to check off a few things on my bucket list with this fight. I get to fight in the Garden, I get to fight a superstar in the Garden, and I get to fight on HBO, if that's where this fight is."

Television plans are not finalised, but Cotto's attorney Gabriel Penagaricano told ESPN.com that talks were ongoing with HBO and Showtime, and he hoped they would be wrapped up in a few days. He said the fight would not be a pay-per-view and that Miguel Cotto Promotions would handle the promotion with help from Golden Boy Promotions, which promoted Cotto's fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr on May 5.

"We are teaming up with Golden Boy for aspects of the promotion, but Miguel doesn't have any promotional ties to any company and that's the way it's going to remain," Penagaricano said.

Cotto lost his version of the 154lbs world title to Mayweather at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in the year's biggest fight. It generated an astonishing 1.5 million pay-per-view buys. Although Cotto lost a unanimous decision, he gave Mayweather, widely considered the world's No. 1 fighter pound-for-pound, one of the toughest fights of his career.

Cotto had been planning to return to action on December 1 at the Garden, where he has been a huge draw for years because of his immense popularity in the Puerto Rican community.

He emerged as one of three possible opponents in the running for a fight with Pacquiao, who also is considering Juan Manuel Marquez (for a fourth fight) and Timothy Bradley for a rematch of their highly controversial fight in June. Pacquiao knocked Cotto out in a 2009 welterweight world title fight.

"We explored the Pacquiao fight," Penagaricano said. "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. After that didn't work out, we had a had a short list of candidates and Miguel picked Trout.

"He's undefeated, he's a good challenge, he's a world champion and that was attractive to Miguel. The world title aspect and the undefeated record were most attractive in making the selection."

Trout found out that he had got the fight by phone from his promoter, Greg Cohen, on Friday and said he did not believe him at first.

"He told me and I said, 'Get out of here,'" Trout said. "There had been talks before so I didn't believe him. Greg said, 'So how does "Trout-Cotto" sound to you?' I said, 'Great,' but I didn't think he was serious. He said, 'This is happening.' It's a miracle for Cotto to take this kind of fight. I'm gonna take full advantage of this opportunity. I feel like going to train right now."

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com

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