Just about crunch time. Talk has been talked, now is time to walk the walk, to see if confidence has been justified, or more of a masquerade.
The road work, miles upon miles of drudgery, is in the rear view mirror. No more headgear; sparring is over, this is the real deal, and the fighters hope that the blood and sweat that hit the canvas in training will translate into less sweat and none of their own blood painting the canvas on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Thousands upon thousands of situps have been done, in hopes of staving off the body shots that are certain to be dispensed with on Saturday night at MSG, when WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto (33-1, 27 KOs), the 29-year-old hitter from Caguas, Puerto Rico, looks to put down the challenge of his Ghanian foe, the Bronx, NY-based defensive wizard Joshua Clottey (35-2, 20 KOs).
It’s almost go time, and that means TSS wants to know who you like, and how you think it will go down. Fast and furious, or measured mayhem? An early, surprise KO, or a war of attrition?
The stakes are high as an elephant’s eye.
A win for the 28-year-old Cotto secures him, in all likelihood, a sub-welterweight tussle with Manny Pacquiao, or should we say Money Pacquiao: a fight with Pacman will pay Cotto more handsomely than he’s ever been paid as a pro.
A win for the 32-year-old Clottey means he elevates from boxing’s most underrated list, to the pound for pound list, and more marquee fights, and million dollar purses, will follow.
Conventional wisdom says Clottey will take a page from the Mosley and Margarito playbook, stalk Cotto, try to cut off the ring on him, touch him with left hooks and perhaps try to finish the job with an uppercut. The Ghanian’s high guard means Cotto will have to be extra accurate at MSG, any many wonder if Clottey, with just 20 KOs in 38 outings, has enough pop to discourage Cotto, make him miss, when Cotto turns the tables on him, and bores in.
Fire away, TSS Universe, the wisest bunch of fight fans the internet, and yeah, the world has ever known!
PS Don’t forget to watch TSSers pick up their writing awards at the Boxing Writers dinner in NYC tonight, Friday June 12. Log on to GoFightLive.tv at 6 PM, free, and check out acceptance speeches from Fighter of the Year Manny Pacquiao (he will show up, won’t he?) and Manager of the Year Joe Calzaghe (will he announce a comeback?).
PPS: Also note, I posted a new video, of promoter Bob Arum, so feel free to check that out during your coffee break. Or whenever.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV