What's Next for Miguel Cotto After TKO Victory over Delvin Rodriguez

Mick Akers@@mickakersAnalyst IOctober 6, 2013

What's Next for Miguel Cotto After TKO Victory over Delvin Rodriguez

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    After a sensational return to the ring after a year-long layoff and suffering two straight losses, three-division titlist Miguel Cotto overwhelmed Delvin Rodriguez en route to a Round 3 TKO victory Saturday night at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.

    Starting the bout off as the aggressor out the gate, Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) smothered Rodriguez early and made it a point to attack Rodriguez's body.

    The body assault eventually led to Rodriguez leaving his head open for power shots, which Cotto took advantage of to hurt Rodriguez at the end of Round 2.

    Cotto didn't let Rodriguez off the hook as right when the bell rang to begin Round 3 he was back to work, swinging away on Rodriguez. This led the referee to end the bout prematurely, giving Cotto the TKO victory.

    After reasserting himself as a top-tier fighter, Cotto can now look forward to the future, and there are several big-name fighters to consider for his next fight.

    Here are the top three fighters Cotto could face as he should see a considerable step up in competition for his next bout.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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    After leaving Floyd Mayweather Jr. as battered post-fight as he ever had in his entire 45-fight career, Cotto getting another shot at Mayweather is a possibility.

    Cotto went into the bout with Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) after suffering a loss and with his career in doubt as questions about his ability to fight anymore were flying about.

    After a strong showing against Mayweather, the boxing world applauded Cotto as he went into what became an almost year-long hiatus from the ring.

    With big names Mayweather has yet to face dwindling, a rematch with Cotto should be considered by the Mayweather camp.

    Cotto was aggressive and powerful like he was early in his career, which led him to become one of the sport's biggest stars.

    The fanbase that Cotto has is also a huge plus, as his name will help drive the pay-per-view numbers and live gate if a Mayweather rematch gets made.

    With the success Cotto had in landing against Mayweather in their first bout, the re-emergence of Cotto's aggressive fight style gives him as good of a chance as any to hand Mayweather his first loss.

Saul "Canelo" Alvarez

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    Before losing to Mayweather in September, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez was steadily working his way up the 154-pound division.

    Canelo (42-1-1, 30 KOs) defeated Austin Trout earlier this year to set up his bout with Mayweathergrowing his star in the sport even bigger in the process.

    Cotto lost to Trout in 2012, awarding him the WBA title that he lost to Mayweather in their bout, so a showdown between the two Mayweather casualties makes total sense.

    The bout would be a success with the two huge fanbases that both Alvarez and Cotto have, and it could be a fight-in bout for the winner to get another shot at Mayweather.

    Alvarez has been criticized in the past for not having too many big-name wins on his resume, and a victory over Cotto could add one more name and reassert his name among boxing's elite.

    An Alvarez fight could allow Cotto to show that he can put out a winning effort against a top-tier opponent and set up one last shot at Mayweather as well.

Austin Trout

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    What better way for Cotto to show that this dominating display wasn't a fluke than to beat Austin Trout, one of the two straight fights that Cotto lost leading up to the Rodriguez bout Saturday.

    Trout (26-1, 14 KOs) and Cotto fought a bout with back-and-forth action, with Trout getting the best of him leading to his unanimous decision win last December.

    The loss was the beginning of Cotto's career downward spiral and had many questioning if he should continue fighting at all.

    With the seemingly refocused Cotto, Trout would find it difficult to reproduce the success he had in their first bout.

    If Cotto could avenge one of his past two losses and string together two consecutive impressive wins, then the Puerto Rican star could find himself contending for a title once again before his career in the ring comes to an end.