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Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland headlines HBO PPV on February 25th
After sitting out all of 2016, Puerto Rican boxing star Miguel Cotto will make his return to the ring on Saturday, February 25th against James Kirkland, at a special catchweight of 153 lbs. The fight was officially announced on Monday, and it will air live on HBO pay-per-view from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. In case you’re wondering, that’s the practice facility for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) hasn’t fought since losing a unanimous decision to Canelo Alvarez in November 2015. The 36-year-old entered that fight as the WBC middleweight champion (while consistently weighing no more than 155) , but was stripped of the belt for refusing to pay the WBC’s exorbitant $300,000 sanctioning fee. Attempts for the former four-division world champion to come back in 2016 fizzled, particularly with the plan to fight Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez, who hasn’t fought in over 2 years. There were also murmurs that Cotto would fight Timothy Bradley or Lamont Peterson, but those bouts never came to fruition.
Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) also fought Canelo last year, but Alvarez erased him from consciousness in the 3rd round of their May 9th stadium show event. He has never won a major world title, and for all of his punching power, his career has been marred by numerous arrests over the course of several years, including an assault charge for allegedly choking his girlfriend. For this fight, Kirkland will once again be trained by Ann Wolfe (yes, this one), after they’d previously split prior to the Canelo matchup. Kirkland also didn’t have Wolfe as his trainer for his shocking 2011 KO loss to Nobuhiro Ishida, which was his first fight after his 2-year prison and halfway house sentence on a felony weapons possession charge.
Let’s not mince words here - this is completely indefensible as a pay-per-view offering. Cotto has had many big HBO and PPV main events over the years, but this is a joke. Ticket prices for this bout are set at $304, $204, $154, $104, $79, $54 and $29, which is a far cry from the $12 million gate he did for the Canelo fight. You would think this was a Bellator card or a really low level UFC Fight Night.
So why is this a pay-per-view in the first place? Well apart from HBO’s boxing budget being slashed (hence, fights like Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol and Gennady Golovkin vs. Daniel Jacobs being PPV headliners when they shouldn’t be), Cotto is affiliated with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports. In early 2015, Cotto signed a lucrative offer worth a guaranteed $50 million for 3 fights, of which the Kirkland one is the last on his deal. Basically, Roc Nation made a terrible deal and they’ve got to pay their star, and that passes down to the consumer. Sigh.
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