I recently was afforded an opportunity to speak to Hall Of Fame referee, Joe Cortez. Cortez served as a referee for some of the biggest fights in boxing history and while he is retired from the ring, he stays close to the sport with his boxing commentating job with ESPN Deportes. In my interview with Joe, I get his thoughts on the two mega fights that were recently made in the middleweight division, Golovkin vs. Lemieux and Canelo vs. Cotto. I also talk to Joe about Floyd Mayweather choosing to face Andre Berto and the future of Manny Pacquiao. Here is what Joe Cortez had to say.
Robert Brown: What are your thoughts on the upcoming match between David Lemieux and Gennady Golovkin?
Joe Cortez: I think it’s going to be a very interesting fight. ‘GGG’ is a great fighter who has a great punch and is undefeated. I think that Lemieux is another excellent fighter. He doesn’t have the experience that Golovkin has but he’s a fighter who has a great record, good puncher.
Lemieux can be dangerous if he catches Golovkin, but Golovkin has a lot of experience and has been in there with some tough fighters and has proven himself to be one of the top middleweights in the world right now. He’s hoping that in the very near future he can get a unification fight with Cotto and become the undisputed middleweight champion of the world.
It could be an interesting fight. Lemieux is a fighter who’s hungry, he’s young, but doesn’t have the experience. On paper, Golovkin looks good but anything can happen in boxing when a fighter has a punch. You gotta give Lemieux a punchers chance.
Robert Brown: What are your thoughts on the fight between Saul Alvarez and Miguel Cotto?
Joe Cortez: Canelo Alvarez is a young and hungry fighter, he’s already been a world champion, so he’s a very well seasoned fighter. He’s still young and he’s fighting Miguel Cotto, who is a very well experienced fighter, who has seen his better days. It’s gonna be a fight where the fighter with a lot of experience is fighting a fighter who’s young, a great puncher, good body puncher and has pretty good defense.
I think it’s gonna be a very interesting fight but I favor Canelo because Cotto is going to try to hurt this guy early but Canelo Alvarez is a good puncher with either hand and has the stamina to go the distance, whereas Cotto seems to start to fade out when his fights go into the later rounds.
I think it will be a stoppage in the later rounds, anywhere between the eighth and tenth rounds, and I gotta favor Canelo in this fight. Cotto has seen his better days and he’s coming towards the tail end of his career.
Robert Brown: What are your thoughts on Mayweather possibly fighting Andre Berto next?
Joe Cortez: I think it’s going to be an interesting fight. Mayweather is looking for his 49th win, he’s been champion for the last seventeen consecutive years and he’s definitely one of the better fighters out there today, pound-for-pound.
Mayweather’s thirty eight years old, but he’s fighting like a twenty two year old man. He has all the boxing skills as a young fighter but with a lot of experience under his belt. Andre Berto is a fair fighter, he’s competitive, but no danger for Floyd Mayweather.
Robert Brown: What do you think of the prospect of Mayweather possibly retiring on a fight like Berto? Do you think that’s the right thing to do, particularly if he wants to go down as one of the best ever?
Joe Cortez: If he wants to break the Marciano record, if he wants to go for 50 wins, a fighter like Floyd Mayweather who doesn’t get hit that often and doesn’t get hurt. He says he’s gonna retire with this fight, I think that’s just a lot of talk coming out of his mouth because I don’t think that a fighter is going to pass up a couple hundred million dollars just because this is last fight with Showtime. I don’t think he’s gonna walk away, I think he’s gonna be back next year to fight a couple more fights before he retires.
Robert Brown: If Mayweather signs an extension to take more fights, who would you like to see him fight?
Joe Cortez: There’s not many guys at his weight class. He will have to step up to 154lbs again. He fought Canelo Alvarez, it’s a possibility he could fight Canelo again in a rematch at 154lbs. Everyone says Golovkin, but he’s a middleweight and Floyd Mayweather will never be a middleweight.
We’ll have to see who is up and coming that would be interesting for him to fight. Mayweather will never fight a middleweight, that’s definitely out of the picture, especially ‘GGG’. He may fight a heavyweight but not Golovkin.
Robert Brown: How do you think Manny Pacquiao will do when he comes back?
Joe Cortez: If Manny Pacquiao comes back, it’s going to be a hard sell but anything is doable. Money talks in boxing and if they can sell it and if they can market it right, you never know, it could happen.
Robert Brown: Would you like to see a rematch between Pacquiao and Mayweather? Do you think there would have been any difference if Pacquiao’s shoulder was one hundred percent?
Joe Cortez: I don’t think so. I think that Pacquiao’s style is a perfect style for Mayweather, he stays open too much when he throws punches and I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. It may happen but it’s gonna be a fight where I don’t Pacquiao could ever beat Mayweather. Fans are never going to see Mayweather in a slugfest, he’s not a slugger, so he’s gonna go out there to box. It would be the same type of fight but the people are not gonna buy the second one.