By Chris Carlson
Even in Cotto’s prime I have always thought Floyd would be able to land at will on him from his tendecny to lean in when he punches making him susceptible to uppercuts and clean punches. Also, Cotto has that pride in him when under attack or hurt that makes for an exciting fight but leaves him open for a slick speedy counterpuncher like Floyd. Cotto does have a that beautiful jab and we know about the left hook to the body and head that could prove to be major weapons if he can get Mayweather on the ropes. Judges love to score on work rate and fan noise. If Cotto has Floyd on the ropes the way Oscar De La Hoya did, he could do damage on the scorecards and slow down Floyd in the process.
Cotto has always been some what of a bleeder or at least seems to get buzzed in many fights. But now the swelling is obviously way worse and even when he dominated Margarito he still show signs of wear and tear considering the one side outcome. Cotto is very accurate and he hasn’t taken a beaten in 2 1/2 years. The rest plus the rise in weight class has done him some good. I have also seen some change from working with his current trainer Pedro Diaz and even a small change in his stance from Emanual Steward. He seems to have a more balanced stance now not as squared up, something I noticed in his first fight with Steward. But now with Diaz he is lighter on his feel and overall just moves better then before when he would simply walk away from his opponent with his hands down crossing one foot in front of the other in effort to reset or get off the ropes like he did time and time again in his first fight with Margarito.
In his last fight when he got his revenge from the plaster of paris incident; he was using smarter tactics on the inside and throwing that right hand with alot more confidence. Cotto has adjusted to the weight class and his body in the last 2 fights seemed to look the best it has in years. Many, including myself, see Cotto as a one loss fighter and even in that one loss he gave Pacquiao fits in the first 4 rounds. Floyd has a diffrent style of course but at least Cotto has been in there with some great fighters that have top level hand speed. Pacquiao, Judah, and Mosley all are know for there speed and even though he had trouble with them he did have plenty of success as well.
Floyd has said he will be aggressive in the build up to this fight. In his last two fights he was coming forward or at least staying right in the pocket behind a crisp jab and a straight right hand that is the most accurate in boxing. He may not be as aggressive the way he was when he was young fighting in the lower weight classes, but he has shown the ability to be more assertive. We have seen less of his stick in move style waiting for the oppurtunity to counterpunch. Even with more aggressiveness he still finds away to keep his right hand close to his face cocked ready to throw or block while using his patient shoulder roll defense to evade the shot or at least take most of the power of the shot. When he is close he puts both hands up and bang to the body and head with the best of him.
As basic as jab, left hook, and lead right hand can sound it’s the way he times fighters and knows just the right time to hit the target. His mental game, speed, conditioning, and reflexes make him the best overall fighter in a long time. I would put him over Roy Jones Jr. because of the defense that is not just reactive but also fundamental sound. As soon as Floyd catches up to a fighters style or game plan, it’s usually a wrap. Something tells me that Cotto will make this a 2 way fight for first 4 rounds the way Judah, Corley, and Mosley did. Cotto is very accurate and with his jab he should at least give Floyd something to respect if not have to adjust to. But once Floyd comes over the top of that jab it could turn into to a one sided affair and then it comes down to Cotto face holding up from the precise punching of Mayweather.
Maybe Cotto can bother Floyd with his jab the way Oscar did and be able to get more than one shot off at a time off. Maybe he could crowd Floyd into the ropes and go to the body which will ignite the Puerto Rican fans. If Cotto can use his skills and mix it with a good workrate, he could be in a close fight after 6 rounds. I can’t help to forget the way he had to scratch and claw his way to victory over Clottey, a guy the makes Floyd seem like Margarito with his workrate. Cotto in all his greatness has been fairly easy to hit and counter throughout is career and that more than likey will the difference in this fight. Can he see the shots coming from Floyd Mayweather the Compubox king when it comes to landing clean punches. Will this be the last super fight for the great fighter from the small island of Peurto Rico or will he have the style that combines skill and will to deathrone the king in the battle dubbed “Ring Kings”? Either way I see a two way fight that in the end will be at least entertaing for a PPV main event which is hard to get these days.