It seems like a 50-50 split, maybe 55-45 in favor of Sugar Shane. Whichever way you're leaning, everyone's pumped for the Fast and Furious showdown at Madison Square Garden on Saturday evening.
Here are the guesses from the TSS crew, who are leaning towards the undefeated Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, by a 4-2 margin.
As Robert Mladinach pointed out in his excellent piece, this is a very difficult fight to prognosticate. Like he said, there are many reasons why both combatants should win. There are also several reasons why each ought to lose. Cotto is undefeated, hungry, tough as nails and younger. Sugar Shane is the superior athlete and veteran of ring wars of a level that Cotto has yet to visit. Still, Cotto was in trouble more than once against Zab Judah and his well-timed (and placed) low-blows may have helped him more than we realize. Alternately, Sugar Shane is 36 years old, and despite winning all of his fights since back to back losses to Winky Wright, he is no longer the man that handed the Golden Boy 2 of his first 3 defeats. However, Cotto is smaller and far less elusive than a Winky Wright. No chess match here. His brawler style is far more conducive to success for Sugar Shane. Sugar Shane has a healthy reach advantage and if he outmanuevers the slower Cotto he should be able to keep him at bay. I seem to be talking myself into picking SSM, don't I? Cotto is a blood and guts fighter, though. I will make an all gut decision, then. Cotto by late KO (and I think he'll need it). Enjoy this unique match-up.
I think that Cotto being the younger man will be a huge advantage for him. Shane has the speed factor on his side. Cotto has the power. He also has weaknesses that can be exploited. Mainly, a questionable chin. In the end, the Puerto Rican's body attack will pay huge dividends. Cotto wins by stoppage in eleven torrid rounds.
As evidenced by Calzaghe-Kessler, when everything seems even it makes sense to go with the more proven quantity - and that's Mosley. What's more, he's also the physically bigger fighter, which should help him offset Cotto's pressure-fighting style. Mosley W12.
This fight is a great match up because of Mosley's willingness to throw down. Unlike Zab Judah, Cotto's previous opponent, Shane Mosley does not hesitate to throw his fists. I expect Miguel Cotto to apply non stop pressure. However, Cotto leaves himself exposed at times. This flaw could be essential in the outcome of the fight. Mosley will hit him with some good shots. But the fight will come down to how well Shane boxes his way out of trouble. It must be remembered that Shane Mosley has only lost to boxers, not brawlers. There will be knockdowns but no knockouts. I expect a Shane Mosley to win by a very close decision.
I see Mosley having the speed, power and fancy footwork to win most of the early rounds, and maybe even put Cotto on the deck. But Mosley doesn't have the one-punch authority at welterweight needed to stop the young tank-like Puerto Rican, who will recover and set about steamrolling the older man. Mosley's too proud and determined to get KO'd, so he'll hang on til the final bell, but he'll lose in the end. Cotto by close decision.
The few times I've seen Cotto live, which was earlier in his career, he looked like an already tough fighter who could conceivably improve to the range of non-hype greatness. If that's still the case then Mosley will get slammed a lot closer to retirement, but I don't see that happening. This will sound ridiculous to some, but however impressive Cotto has looked, he still hasn't proved he could outmuscle a naturally bigger guy like the Fernando Vargas who showed up the first time against Mosley. I wouldn' be surprised to see Cotto with a lump like Vargas got. Mosley TKO 11.
Sure are a lot of questions about Cotto, for an undefeated guy who has fought good competition to get to that level. I have 'em myself, somewhat. I was surprised he couldn't take down Urkal, and Urkal's corner threw in the towel in the 11th of their battle in March. people question the kid's beard. He gets up, don't he? Y'all think Mosley has more power than everyone Cotto has met? More power than Torres? I have more questions on Mosley than I do Cotto, and all of that stems from his being 36. Call me ageist, if you wish. But like Hollywood and the sperm donation racket, boxing is a business for young people, by and large. That's why I'm picking the younger man, the 27-year-old, in a fight that will have plenty of trades in it. The Garden is certain to be electric, I can't wait. Somebody will hit the canvas, nobody will stay down...Cotto SD.