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Cotto-Martinez talks fall through


NEW YORK -- Negotiations for a middleweight title fight between Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto broke down on Tuesday, Martinez's promoter, Lou DiBella, told

DiBella had been discussing a deal with Cotto's promoter, Bob Arum. However Arum was only interested in a deal where his company, Top Rank, was the lone promoter and wasn't interested in a deal that split the revenue based on pay per view percentages. According to DiBella, Arum offered him $2.5 million against an upside of pay-per-view profits to buy him out of the deal. DiBella countered with a $5 million offer against an upside of the profits to buy Arum out.

"Bob didn't want to do a co-promotion," said DiBella. "I talked to Sergio, and he was fine with what happened. He and [advisor] Sampson [Lewkowicz] said they didn't want to be involved in a fight where I'm not a promoter."

Cotto-Martinez was an intriguing matchup. Cotto hasn't fought since last June, when he won a junior middleweight (154 pounds) title from Yuri Foreman. Martinez is the hottest fighter in boxing. He won a middleweight (160 pounds) title by upsetting Kelly Pavlik last April and 2 ½ weeks ago stopped Paul Williams with an electrifying second-round knockout. The win over Williams effectively locked up the 2010 Fighter of the Year award for Martinez.

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Cotto will move on, likely to a rematch with Antonio Margarito. Arum told recently he is looking to create an unofficial junior middleweight tournament with fighters in his stable. He has proposed matching the winner of Cotto-Margarito with the winner of a fight between Foreman and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

DiBella says he doesn't understand why Cotto would want a rematch with Margarito, who is suspected to have used illegal hand wraps during the first fight, a brutal brawl during which Cotto absorbed a savage beating.

"I can't understand why he would want that fight again," said DiBella. "He [Margarito] walked into the ring with his gloves loaded and tried to hurt him. With Sergio, Cotto has a no-lose opportunity. He can fight him and still keep the 154-pound belt."

With Cotto out of the picture, Martinez's options are limited. DiBella says he will look at Sebastian Zbik, the interim WBC titleholder and Martinez's mandatory challenger, and Andy Lee, a popular middleweight prospect trained by Emanuel Steward.

DiBella says the only way he would accept a buyout of the promotion is if Martinez's opponent was Manny Pacquiao.

"Honestly, all I can do is try and make the big fights," said DiBella. "It's hard to make any kind of good fight in this environment."