Former jr. middleweight champion Miguel Cotto just made Manny Pacquiao's decision a lot easier. Moments ago, the Puerto Rican superstar revealed the identity of his opponent when he makes his previously planned return to the ring on December 1 at Madison Square Garden. "I officially announce that my fight on Dec 1st @MSGnyc will be with the Undefeated WBA Super Welterweight, Austin Trout," Cotto would post on his official Twitter page. Although it has yet to be confirmed, the bout will likely be televised on HBO World Championship Boxing.
The news comes on the heels of promoter Bob Arum's revelation that he allegedly recently received terms from Miguel Cotto's team for a potential rematch with Manny Pacquiao. According to Arum, the money and the weight for this rematch was not an issue, however, he was uncertain if Cotto truly wanted to fight Pacquiao at this time. Now, you may be asking yourself, "If Cotto didn't know if he wanted to fight Pacquiao at this time, then why would he give Arum any terms for a fight?"
If you're a loyal FightHype reader, you're probably already aware that Cotto's name was simply being used as a smokescreen by Arum. While Pacquiao was said to be deciding between three options (Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Miguel Cotto), according to one of our sources, Pacquiao's mind was already made up...his choice was Miguel Cotto, who he considers to be "a safer opponent". Unfortunately for Pacquiao, that's not excatly who his promoter had in mind.
As I previously reported, Pacquiao is fully aware that Cotto is coming off of a spirited, albeit losing, effort against Floyd Mayweather in a bout that generated 1.5 million pay-per-view buys and $94 million in revenue, the second-highest grossing non-heavyweight pay-per-view fight in history. Seeing those dollar signs, Pacquiao was holding out, waiting for his promoter to secure him a rematch that he figured would generate him the type highest purse without taking a big risk. Bob Arum, however, sees more dollar signs in a fourth bout with Marquez since, after all, it's already a proven fact that the combination of Pacquiao and Marquez equates to good numbers at the box office and live gate.
These factors placed promoter Bob Arum in a sticky situation. He had to somehow appear to be giving his fighter what he wants while at the same time convince his fighter to actually do what he wants. How did he achieve that? By conveniently leaking information to the media to make it appear as though he's working hard to get Cotto (i.e. "Arum waiting for proposal from Cotto"), despite the fact that Cotto never had any intention whatsoever of fighting Pacquiao. "Miguel Cotto isn't even thinking about Manny Pacquiao or shrinking down in weight. Why would he do that when just fought Mayweather at 154," another source close to Cotto's camp told us just yesterday.
With Cotto's recent announcement that he'll be fighting Austin Trout on December 1 at Madison Square Garden, it appears that Arum may have succeeded in trapping Pacquiao in a corner. Now, Pacquiao is faced with choosing either a rematch with Bradley that won't generate the kind of revenue to secure him the lofty guaranteed purse he's grown accustomed to, or face Marquez for a fourth time and, in short, get that bread. If he doesn't do one or the other, then Pacquiao is facing the very real possibility of not having a dance partner, and more importantly, not having a payday, which would not be good for a Congressman heading into another election.