- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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NEW YORK -- Miguel Cotto probably will have his work cut out for him against slick junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET/PT) at Madison Square Garden. But if Cotto wins and claims his fifth world title, as most expect he will, his next fight probably will be against titleholder Canelo Alvarez.
That is as big as it gets in boxing, short of the fight that probably will never happen between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
If Puerto Rico's Cotto comes through against Trout, the showdown with Alvarez, Mexico's most popular fighter, would take place May 4 -- Cinco de Mayo weekend -- on Showtime PPV.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer and Showtime Sports general manager Stephen Espinoza both acknowledge that it's the fight they hope to make, should Cotto win Saturday.
Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) is respectful to his opponents, so he didn't want to get caught up in looking past Trout (25-0, 14 KOs), but it's clear he has his eye on Alvarez.
"If I were to fight Canelo next, everyone knows that a fight like that would stir up the great rivalry between Puerto Rican and Mexican fans," Cotto said. "It's an all-time rivalry. They also know what a Mexican fighter and a Puerto Rican fighter can do in the ring, too.
"Austin is [my opponent] Saturday night, and once I am done with that fight, I can sit back and look at my options and decide who my next fight will be against."
Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs), who at age 22 is 10 years younger than Cotto, was at Friday's Trout-Cotto weigh-in -- both fighters made weight (Cotto at 153.6 pounds, Trout at 154) -- and will be at Saturday's fight.
He wants Cotto next and will be watching him closely. Golden Boy already has set May 4 as the date for his next fight. Now Alvarez just has to hope Cotto wins.
"I'd love to fight Cotto," a smiling Alvarez said through a translator at the weigh-in. "I am here to see the fight and I have a lot of hope that Cotto will win. I want the honor of fighting him because he is a great fighter. He's a veteran fighter with a lot of experience. So I am looking to see the best of Miguel Cotto on Saturday night and then I want to fight him. I know that is a fight that boxing fans would like to see and it is a fight that I would like to have very much."
Alvarez-Cotto probably would take place in Las Vegas, but Alvarez said he wouldn't be opposed to fighting in New York, where Cotto is a huge draw.
"Anywhere. I will fight him anywhere," Alvarez said. "It's Mexico versus Puerto Rico, champion against champion. I know how big this fight would be."