When Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez step into the ring in November at either the Thomas & Mack Center or the MGM Grand Garden Arena, they will be fighting for more than the WBC Middleweight championship.
They will be entering the grandest of stages with the weight of two collective nations on their backs.
The boxing version of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s plays out when Cotto of Puerto Rico and Alvarez of Mexico duel in the desert in this year’s “real” super fight.
The war between Mexican and Puerto Rican fighters dates back decades, and the rivalry is intense. When Carlos Ortiz knocked out Ray Torres in 1960 to win the welterweight title, the rivalry was on.
The contrast in styles between the two nations only adds fuel to the fire. “Mexican Style,” which is full on attack always coming forward without the talking as opposed to the Puerto Rican flair. Boricua’s are more of a slick, stick and move style with plenty of trash talk to go with it.
There have been intense battles throughout the years. Chavez Sr. vs. Camacho, Wilfredo Gomez vs. Salvador Sanchez, and Felix Trinidad vs. Yory Boy Campas to name a few. Miguel Cotto is no stranger to the rivalry as his two fights with Antonio Margarito will attest.
Canelo Alvarez had an opportunity to familiarize himself with the warfare when he stopped Kermit Cintron in five rounds back in 2011. In all, there have been 273 world champions of Mexican and Puerto Rican decent with 204 being Mexican and 69 coming from the island of Puerto Rico.
The Cotto vs. Alvarez fight will be the most significant in the rivalry in many years. Cotto, since hooking up with Freddie Roach, has looked dynamic. He has manhandled Delvin Rodriguez, former champ Sergio Martinez, and most recently blitzed Daniel Geale. He has barely lost a round since Roach has been training him.
Alvarez is coming into this fight on a roll as well. He is on a three-fight win streak with the dispatching of Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, and his latest dismantling of James Kirkland in three rounds in May.
November in Sin City, the eyes of the world will be fixated on a prizefight ring. The countries of Mexico and Puerto Rico will be all but shut down for an hour while the combatants stake their claim at history. One of the two will be partying long into the night. Will it be the rum of Puerto Rico or the tequila of Mexico? Only Cotto or Alvarez can dictate that.