A classic Mexico vs. Puerto Rico slugfest. Former WBA/WBC World super welterweight titlist Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (45-1-1 32 KO) will knuckleup with “former” WBC world middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto (33-2-1 24 KO) this Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas at a catchweight of 155.
Cotto, the “former” holder of the strap because the WBC announced this week that they would strip Cotto of the belt. Cotto apparently was having difficulty “complying with the rules and regs”,,,,aka he allegedly didn’t pay a $300K sanctioning fee. The timing stinks but such is the politics of boxing.
What now? If Alvarez wins the fight, the belt is his along with the title of lineal champ. Cotto would retain lineal champ status with a win but would not be the WBC champ, that would go to WBC interim champ, Gennady Golovkin. What a surprise.
Cotto- Age- 35 Height-5’7 Reach-67”
Alvarez- Age- 25 Height-5’9 Reach-70.5”
6/6/15 W- TKO 4 Daniel Geale,
Against Geale, Cotto was calculated in his attack. He worked the body and landed hard shots from the opening bell stunning Geale early and ending things with a big left hook in the fourth.
6/7/14 W- TKO 9 Sergio Martinez (Corner Stoppage before the 10th),
Cotto knocked down his battle worn opponent three times in the first en route to a dominant performance. It was clear that Martinez was not fully recovered from his knee injuries/surgeries but regardless of that, Cotto looked explosive.
10/5/13 W- TKO 3 Delvin Rodriguez
A strong body attack to start the fight, an overhand right-left hook combination to stagger Rodriguez at the end of two, and a big left hook causing the referee to stop the fight in the third. This was Cotto’s first fight with Freddie Roach and the springboard for a partnership that has reenergized the only Puerto Rican fighter to have won four titles in as many weight classes.
5/9/15 W- KO3 James Kirkland,
The Mandingo Warrior chose to attack Alvarez the only way he knows how, straight forward. He was dropped in the first but to his credit, recovered and had moments in the second backing Alvarez into the ropes and swinging away. In the third round, Alvarez landed an uppercut dropping Kirkland and then finished him moments later with a brutal overhand right.
7/12/14 W- SD Erislandy Lara,
This decision was arguably inaccurate. The scores for Alvarez that is, like the 117-111. Standing-8 had this fight 8-4 Lara. See Standing-8 article titled “Officer I’d Like To Report A Robbery, Weighing In On The Lara-Alvarez Debacle” for complete analysis.
3/8/14 W-TKO 10 Alfredo Angulo
It’s “Perro” so you know you’re going to get a dogfight against a pitbull, albeit this one with no defense or speed. Alvarez used his superior speed and movement to batter Angulo from pillar to post swelling up his face (who doesn’t?) and stopping him in the 10th.
Common Opponents May Provide A Bit Of Clarity-
Cotto was one of Mayweather’s most competitive fights and closer than the scorecards indicated. Cotto executed a decent defensive gameplan and utilized his jab while working the body and landing more punches on Mayweather that had been seen in some time. Mayweather clearly won the fight but Cotto was highly competitive. Against Alvarez, the Mayweather speed was way too much. Mayweather took a few rounds to study his opponent and then dominated him the rest of the fight.
They got Mosley at much different times in his career. A close fight with Cotto in 2007 when Mosley was 36 and a lopsided loss to Alvarez when he was 40.
A southpaw fighter with movement was trouble for Cotto winning a lopsided decision, and although he lost by unanimous decision to Alvarez he was generally in the fight until a seventh round knock down. Interesting to note is that Trout was buckled badly by the shot but was able to make it to the twelfth round.
Both Cotto and Alvarez walked through and stopped Gomez, Cotto in the fifth and Alvarez in the sixth.
Lost to both fighters by UD. The loss to Alvarez in 2010 was lopsided but much closer against Cotto, albeit six years earlier in 2004.
What Does It All Mean?
Cotto is in deep for the first time since 2012. Take nothing away from Cotto, it’s just hard to gauge exactly where he really is this point in his career. Against Geale he was facing an opponent who is usually tough-as-nails but was gaunt/parched at the weigh-in and then as he entered the ring, an overhydrated mess with no zest, easy work for Cotto. Against Martinez, damaged goods of a fighter who was one fight away from retirement, easy work for Cotto. And Rodriguez, a tune-up fighter they wanted, a tune up fighter they got, easy work for Cotto.
Yes, Roach has made a difference but we get our first real look at a credible test on Saturday night. Cotto’s speed is what will keep him in the fight. He has the ability to stick and move and land those trademark left hooks to keep Alvarez honest. If he boxes more than brawls he can steal rounds and frustrate Alvarez similar to what Erislandy Lara did.
While Cotto doesn’t possess the southpaw tactical brilliance of Lara, he has improved his movement and combination punching under Roach’s tutelage. The thing is, Alvarez can be hit, his defense is average at best so Cotto will have openings if he can exploit them. Cotto historically works the body extremely well and if he can be successful against his bigger foe, he will possibly take some sting out of Alvarez’s big punches down the stretch.
No secret here, the young lion will look to throw punches with bad intentions and walk down his opponent. He will have both a height and reach advantage and is ten years younger. Alvarez will work behind the jab to set up his power shots. If he can cut off the ring and limit Cotto’s movement, he can inflict damage as he backs Cotto up forcing him to work off his back foot. Alvarez will need to be wary of the sneaky left hook that Cotto has thrown with great success in his career. Look for Alvarez to work the body early and often in an attempt to weaken the elder statesman. Kill the body and the head will fall.
And The Winner Is………..
The bet here is that Alvarez will respect the old hand and know that if he allows Cotto to box, move, and steal rounds he could be on the short end of a decision. That said, the feeling here is that youth will be served. Alvarez will walk Cotto down and work him to the body while making him feel every punch to the head. Cotto will have moments because, at times, Alvarez gets sloppy with his defense; however, because Cotto will be cognizant of what is coming back in return, those moments will pass quickly.
Alvarez will start quick and from the opening round will break down the game future hall of fame fighter stopping him just short of the championship rounds. Cotto will go out on his shield like the true warrior he is.
Get ready for the build up to Alvarez v, GGG.