With WBC belt stripped, Cotto would rather pocket fees owed Golovkin

Miguel Cotto

Miguel Cotto

(JC Olivera / Getty Images)

Miguel Cotto repeated his disinterest in paying $300,000 in sanctioning fees to the World Boxing Council on Wednesday and questioned whether he is obligated to pay Gennady Golovkin $800,000 in a step-aside fee.

“Those are legal issues that we’d rather not get into,” Cotto’s manager, Gaby Penagaricano, said.

The unbeaten Golovkin agreed to not enforce his status as the WBC mandatory challenger for the fee, which allowed Cotto to pursue his bout against Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at Mandalay Bay on Saturday.


“I don’t need a belt to fight Canelo. I keep $1.1 million in my banking account, that’s better for me,” Cotto told reporters before he and Alvarez appeared at their news conference to promote the HBO pay-per-view fight.

Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 knockouts) can still win the belt by beating Cotto, but he’ll have to begin negotiations with the unbeaten Golovkin within 15 days after the fight or the WBC will strip the belt from him and give it to Golovkin, who also possesses the World Boxing Assn. and International Boxing Federation middleweight titles.

“For me, it’s important to win this fight. Let me win this fight and then you can ask me the question” about Golovkin, Alvarez said. “I will say this: I’ve never run away from any challenge. I’m willing to fight anybody.”

Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll pusue the Golovkin bout should his fighter defeat Cotto.

“I don’t want to decide anything until I see what’s going to happen with Canelo-Cotto. What if this fight deserves a rematch?” De La Hoya said. “The fight [Alvarez-Golovkin] is going to happen, guaranteed. Canelo wants [Golovkin], the fans want it. But let’s wait until this fight is over and then we’ll see what’s going to transpire.”

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman told The Times last month that Cotto personally promised him he would fight Golovkin if victorious against Alvarez, but that strategy has clearly changed.

On Wednesday, Cotto trainer Freddie Roach told reporters, “I would love for [Cotto] to win this fight by knockout, call out [Floyd] Mayweather and then end [his career]. Because he always tells me, ‘Freddie, if I had you in my corner when I fought him [in 2012], I would’ve knocked him out … would’ve killed him.’ ”

Pengaricano said the decision was not motivated by the intent to duck Golovkin, who has 31 knockouts in 34 fights but failed to impress either Cotto or Alvarez by drawing just 150,000 pay-per-view buyers in his Oct. 17 title-unification victory over David Lemieux.

“Him? Duck anyone? Come on,” Penagaricano said of Cotto, who has previously lost to Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

Cotto said boxing is flawed by “too many champions in one division … and then every guy believes they have the right to face a champion, like Golovkin, and then I need to pay him $800,000 just to make a fight with Canelo. It’s not fair for me, for us as boxers and for fans.

“It’s all monetary interests.”

He said his camp is “figuring out … the best way possible to do whatever we have to do,” regarding the step-aside fee.

“The reason [to pay] was because he was the mandatory challenger,” Cotto said. “We don’t know exactly if we have to pay. We need to check.

“Do you think it’s fair to give him $800,000 to step aside? The WBC doesn’t have a limit to that [step-aside price]. We told Mauricio we would pay $125,000, the sanction fee, for the fight because we have to pay Golovkin $800,000, and he said no.”

A boxing official involved in the deal but not authorized to comment publicly on the step-aside fee said the $800,000 is due. “Cotto saying he is not fighting for the title does not relieve them of any obligation that was agreed to,” the official said.