Cotto-Canelo Preview: the matador and the bull

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Miguel Cotto Saul Canelo AlvarezThis week the attention of the boxing world will be squarely centered upon Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada and a co-promoted event between Roc Nation Sports and Golden Boy Promotions presents one of the biggest boxing events of the year. The great old rivalry of Puerto Rico vs. Mexico will be fully on display as Miguel “Junito” Cotto will be stepping into the ring against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a fight that will have the WBC World middleweight title on the line – for Alvarez only, but we’ll get to that later.

Whether you love him or hate him, Miguel Cotto will go down as one of the best Puerto Rican fighters of all time. With a record of 40 wins and 4 losses with 33 KOs, Cotto is one of the few that has actually faced both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

To add to those two monsters of the sport, Cotto has also faced DeMarcus Corley, Carlos Quintana, Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Alfonso Gomez, Joshua Clottey, Yuri Foreman, Delvin Rodriguez, Sergio Martinez, Daniel Geale, and, of course, the two infamous fights against Antonio Margarito. Cotto definitely doesn’t lack for names on his resume.

His only losses came against the previously mentioned Mayweather and Pacquiao, along with a controversial fight against Margarito, and Austin Trout, in which the 35-year-old Cotto looked like his career, at the time, was coming to an end. Since that fight, Cotto has won 3 in a row, including winning the middleweight belt against Sergio Martinez 17 months ago. Since winning the belt, he has not fought a fight above 157 pounds.

Canelo Alvarez is a 25-year-old, red-headed Mexican. He is poised to become the next biggest star of the sport. He has been fighting since he was 15, so don’t be fooled by the age and baby face. His record of 45-1-1 with 32 KOs is a bit bloated because of the level of competition, but in the past four years, he has defeated the likes of Matthew Hatton, Alfonso Gomez, Kermit Cintron, Shane Mosley, Josesito Lopez, Austin Trout, and more recently Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, and James Kirkland.

Earlier in his career, he was looked at as overhyped, but he has proven that he deserves to be on the biggest stage.

Canelo’s only loss came to Floyd Mayweather in what was probably the fight that he learned the most. In Alvarez’s next fight right after Floyd, against Angulo, you could see that some of the same tactics that Mayweather used against him he was using against El Perro. Some people thought that Lara may have beaten Canelo, but on my personal scorecard I had Alvarez winning 115-113 in a close fight that Lara just didn’t do enough. Canelo would be wise to not let this get to the scorecards.

On Tuesday, the WBC stripped Miguel Cotto of the Middleweight belt that he won against Sergio Martinez. In a story by Dan Rafael, it was said that Cotto, and ROC Nation, was asked to pay 1.1 million to keep his belt— 800k to Gennady Golovkin in step aside money and 300k in a sanction fee to the WBC.

Cotto wanted to negotiate a lower price and the WBC announced that the belt would only be on the line for Alvarez. Off-record, Cotto was refusing to pay the $300,000 while Canelo agreed and paid his sanctions for the fight, which is why the belt can only be won by Canelo.

Cotto is the better boxer. His experience and technical skill are more than anything that Canelo has ever faced in the ring aside from Mayweather. Canelo is younger and hits harder. His style of attacking like a bull and coming straight forward can either end this fight early or make him look like a one trick pony. Cotto still has the best single punch in this fight with his left hook, but is that enough to slow Canelo down from coming in?

When all is said and done, I am going with Cotto by decision. I feel that if Cotto is able to move the way he has done recently with Freddie Roach in his corner, he should be able to avoid any death blows early and the longer the fight goes, the less steam those Canelo punches will have on them. Even though both men have been known to fade later in fights, I feel that as long as Cotto doesn’t go down he can bank enough rounds early with his pure boxing skill to get a big enough lead and survive on the cards.

This can go either way. Currently, Alvarez is the favorite. Most people picking him are taking him by early stoppage while the people taking Cotto are taking him by decision. With Mayweather currently retired and Manny Pacquiao soon to be the same, this fight likely decides who will be the current biggest star in the sport of boxing today. Will the winner actually get in the ring with Gennady Golovkin next? That is something we’ll have to wait and see, but one this is for sure, this is not a fight to be missed. Enjoy the fight.