Boxing is a brutal business and far too many fighters over the years have been exploited and left penniless, after making fortunes for others. So I never begrudge any prizefighter for getting as much scratch as he can, for as little effort as possible.
But just because I do not fault a figher for doing what he thinks is best does not mean I plan to watch, and especially not when it is getting put on pay-per-view. At this point, I am pretty close to resigned to the fact that Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor will fight, just because of the huge amounts of cash it will generate. But I’m not buying that fight. I would have to be getting paid to even bother with watching it.
I would certainly watch Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland, if it was part of a regular network broadcast. Cotto is one of the biggest stars of this century, and he’s returning to action after 15 months on the couch. At 36, I think he has seen better days. But I would cancel my engagements on a Saturday night to stay in and watch him. If he was fighting within four hours or so of my home, I’d probably drive the distance to watch him live.
But I am not going to pretend he is an elite talent. Much has been made of his “resurgence” under Freddie Roach, but that has largely been a matter of smart match-making. The version of Sergio Martinez Cotto battered in June 2014 was a 40-year-old man who had been through three knee surgeries in the previous two years. Still, for a star like Cotto, it was enough to get me interested. I was paid to watch Cotto fight Canelo Alvarez in November 2015, but I would have gone into my own pocket for that fight. It was the lineal middleweight title and Puerto Rico vs. Mexico. It had historical significance.
Cotto vs. Kirkland is not even in the same ballpark, though. Cotto clearly lost to Canelo and has been inactive for over a year since. Kirkland is an opponent who will make Cotto look good, just like he made Canelo look in May 2015. A come-forward fighter with a high KO percentage, Kirkland has fought just once in the past three years and not at all since losing to Alvarez. He has never been competitive against a decent boxer who can punch.
I’d be fine with the choice of Kirkland as a comeback opponent for Cotto. Like I said, he’ll make the veteran look good.
But for sixty bucks on top of my regular HBO and Showtime subscriptions? You’ve got to be kidding me.