Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez finalize Nov. 21 bout in Vegas

 

Miguel Cotto and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez agreed Thursday to fight Nov. 21 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

The fighters’ camps have spent several months negotiating the HBO pay-per-view bout, which will be among the year’s biggest events in boxing. The fight also is the latest chapter in the long-running rivalry between boxers from Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) is the WBC middleweight champion after beating Sergio Martinez last year. He is the first Puerto Rican fighter to win titles in four weight classes, and he has revitalized his long career with three straight victories since teaming up with trainer Freddie Roach.

Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) also has won three straight fights since losing his WBC 154-pound title to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013.

Alvarez has established himself as one of the top young stars in boxing and likely the most popular active Mexican fighter, earning numerous impressive victories during his rise. In May, he stopped James Kirkland in spectacular fashion in the third round.

Cotto and the 25-year-old Alvarez will fight for the 34-year-old Cotto’s WBC middleweight title, but at a 155-pound catch weight. That’s 5 pounds lighter than the middleweight limit, since neither fighter is a natural 160-pounder.

The fighters nearly met earlier this year, but negotiations dragged on too long to make their television date. While Alvarez stopped Kirkland, Cotto returned from a 12-month absence with a fourth-round stoppage of Daniel Geale.

While Cotto and Alvarez negotiated this summer, the WBC declared that the winner of the bout must next fight its interim middleweight champion, Gennady Golovkin, or be stripped of the WBC belt.

Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs), who has won 20 straight fights by stoppage, already holds the WBA 160-pound title. The Kazakh-born, Los Angeles-based fighter is taking on IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux of Canada in a pay-per-view title unification bout Oct. 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York.