Cotto has fought more bigger name fighters–will his savvy lead to victory over young challenger?
The clock goes “Tick-Tock” like that old TV Game show “Beat the Clock”, for the 2 combatants, Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez perhaps denoting that this is the real fight of the year, 2015, because of its frenzied popularity.
Miguel “Junito” Cotto , 40-4, 33 knockouts, W.B.C., Ring Magazine and lineal Middleweight Champion, from Caguas, Puerto Rico, regarded as an elder statesman of boxing , will be challenged on Saturday, November 21, 2015 by Saul “El Canelo” Alvarez, 45-1-1, 32 k.o.’s, from Guadalajara, Mexico, & former W.B.A. & W.B.C. Junior Middleweight Champion.
The mega pay-per-view fight will be held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.
This history making champ Cotto, has demonstrated a very calm demeanor due perhaps to a well-planned preparation, military like, in his training camp, orchestrated by his boxing “guru” Freddy Roach. He, very confidently just talks about a victory on the night of November 21st.
“I don’t consider this fight as the greatest fight of my career, this is just number 45 against a tough aggressive opponent who is no different than my other 44 opponents, although I am defending my titles”, stated Cotto.
“You must also understand”, Cotto further stated, “that although Canelo has had more fights than me, it is the experience and also the caliber of opponents that I have fought that he hasn’t. I fought Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey and he hasn’t. Canelo had more difficulty with Mayweather, but even though I lost, I didn’t. That makes the difference between victory and defeat.”
On the flip side of the boxing coin, we have the younger Alvarez who is 25, and Cotto 35, with a strong bull-like built who has scored 32 knockouts with only 1 loss.
Alvarez, has been saying the right things, and “oozing” confidence when interviewed, but it seems, to me at least, that he is under a lot of pressure which means that at all cost he “must” win this fight.
Canelo stated many times the honor he feels fighting a great champion like Cotto, but perhaps he is betraying a real concern, uncertainty, or maybe even fear, in this most important career defining fight of his life, even though he also did indicate that he will be victorious.
In a previous interview a few months ago he stated that his devastating loss in his first mega fight against ring icon-now retired-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. , is still very much on his mind, and he doesn’t want to repeat that failure again.
I think that he is pressing himself to win because his Mexican compatriots to the man and his country, are “demanding” victory, and not another defeat.
I can almost hear him not say to himself, “I am confident that I will win”, but, instead, “I have to win, I must win, I cannot afford another defeat”. Am I correct?
Let’s analyze Cotto and Canelo.
Miguel Cotto stated that he started boxing not because of his brothers who were boxers and also champs, but because he was a “chubby” young kid in Puerto Rico, who enjoyed eating a lot and sitting at home watching television.
Becoming concerned about his “fatness” he was advised to go to the gym with his brothers and lose weight by exercising. Cotto actually began to like training, and started to box at 11 years of age.
Cotto competed all over the world winning several Gold and Silver Medals in the Pan American Games, and also competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, compiling an amateur record of 125-23, before turning pro in 2001.
As a professional he compiled a record of 32 straight victories before his first loss to Antonio Margarito in 2008, but he continued to fight and made boxing history by winning 5 world titles in 4 weight divisions.
Under the promotional banner of Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, Cotto indicated that at 35 he is on the verge of retirement after a few more challenging fights not looking past Alavarez. “I have been fighting over 15 years and it is time I return home to my family. I owe it to them,” Cotto stated.
On the other hand, Alvarez followed his brothers into boxing because he was always getting into fights in school being teased about his red hair and constantly called “Canelo”-cinnamon, or “carrot top”.
Competing in the amateur ranks Canelo won several Mexican National Championships and after only 20 amateur fights, he turned pro at 15 years of age, winning his first 43 fights before losing to Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Although Canelo Alvarez is a very strong punching, punishing 2-fisted aggressive fighter, he has always had problems with opponents who are faster and box. Fighters Matthew Hatton, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout, and of course, Floyd Mayweather.
Alvarez’ advantages in the ring are seen when he fights stationary sluggers like him, Josesito Lopez, Alfredo Angulo, and more recently, James Kirkland. If they move, he has problems.
Floyd Mayweather, and more recently Bernard Hopkins, both told me that boxing “is a mind game”, “a chess game”. In this duel at the Mandalay Bay Center, the Chess Master in my opinion is Miguel Cotto who will win a hard fought decision, boxing and punching and using his speed. I will not rule out a knockout in the later rounds because Cotto is also a hard puncher.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: This fight continues to highlight the historical Mexican vs. Puerto Rican boxing rivalry that has been labeled “Mala Sangre”-“Bad Blood”. This rivalry began in 1934, when Sixto Escobar-Puerto Rican-defeated Rudolpho “Baby” Casanova-Mexican-and won the National Association World Bantamweight Title by a 9th round knockout.
It seems to me that Cotto played a “cat & mouse” game at Canelo’s expense postponing this fight 3 times until he was ready to trap the mouse-Canelo-with a bigger morsel of “cheese”, a combination of the Middleweight Title, a pay-per-view, and a global audience fight, and also, an opportunity to redeem himself in front of his demanding Mexican constituents from his disastrous loss to Mayweather.
Roc Nation’s Sports Promoter Jay Z and Golden Boy Promoter, Oscar De La Hoya made a “friendly” bet of a $100,000.00 dollars as to who will win when Cotto and Canelo fight.
If Cotto wins De La Hoya will donate said money to Jay’s Shawn Carter Foundation and if Canelo wins then Jay will donate the same amount to the White Memorial Medical Center’s cancer unit.
This is a greater gesture by both promoters, but I’ll go one better, whoever wins or loses they both should still donate to both Charities.