Believe it or not, some boxing observers are actually looking forward to the upcoming WBC middleweight title clash between champ Miguel Cotto 39-4 (32) and former title challenger Daniel Geale 31-3 (16)… and rightly so.
For the record the bout has a 157 catch-weight stipulation attached to it, via Cotto’s request. This means because Cotto doesn’t feel he’s quite a full-fledged middleweight, and Geale, who is, has to compromise himself physically in order to be graced with the opportunity to fight the second biggest diva in professional boxing after Floyd Mayweather – that being Cotto.
That alone makes you hope that somehow Geale wins. I mean, if Cotto doesn’t think he’s a middleweight, then why muddy up the division with WWE themes and handicaps? Oh, I know why. It’s mainly because he can and the boxing commissions and sanctioning bodies, because of money, will never show moral clarity and do the right thing.
The thought behind Cotto fighting Geale, and draining him down, is mainly because Miguel must stay somewhat active and win, being that he hasn’t fought in 11 months since winning the WBC middleweight title from the eroded Sergio Martinez, who had been on the decline for two years prior to fighting Cotto.
Miguel is looking at a two fight parlay/exit from boxing if he gets by Geale. And bringing him down in weight helps insure that because Daniel is a full-fledged middleweight, Miguel is doing everything in his power to rob him of his natural strength because he knows it’ll aide him in a big way. But most ho hum fans and many writers just figure it’s only three pounds, what’s the difference, no big deal. Sadly they couldn’t be more mistaken and just don’t understand.
Cotto must beat Geale because he’s looking at fighting Saul “Canelo” Alvarez next in a widely anticipated bout. In boxing, the star Puerto Rican fighter matched against the star Mexican fighter is a natural attraction. Both factions follow and support their countrymen to the enth degree. Add to that Cotto and Alvarez are among two of the most popular and well known fighters in boxing; so we’re talking a blockbuster promotion and event. And with so much money out there to be made from an Alvarez-Cotto bout, call me a cynic, but I have to believe somehow someway Cotto will come out on top versus Geale on June 6th. So the path to Cotto-Alvarez will be there for the taking.
From a stylistic vantage point, Geale, in-spite of being pretty strong and sporadically aggressive, doesn’t present many problems for Cotto. Geale’s offense isn’t terribly imaginative, actually it’s pretty vanilla. He also pushes most of his punches and because of that he isn’t much of a puncher. Geale isn’t fast of hand or foot and he really doesn’t fight like a strong guy. This translates into Cotto wearing his boxing shoes on the night of the fight. Cotto will probably look to box and move from the outside and keep Geale turning while he’s peppering him with one-twos, and only look to blast him with his left hook to keep him honest while hoping to impede his aggression. In the other corner, Geale will no doubt try to muscle his way in on Cotto, looking to impose himself physically on the shorter and smaller man. However, Cotto’s experience and boxing acumen should enable him to use Geale’s aggression against him.
I would like Geale’s chances more if he wasn’t being forced to come in at 157. Once again, the bigger fighter whose only advantage in the ring is size and presumably strength is forced to compromise himself against the smaller, more skilled and technically proficient fighter/boxer. That said, I’m still intrigued by the fight because Geale also has a lot riding on the outcome as well. In three losses as a pro Geale has only been stopped once, and that was by the biggest punching fighter in the middleweight division. And one thing is for sure, Cotto is not in the same stratosphere as Golovkin when it comes to punching power and physicality. In addition to that, when Geale fought Golovkin, Gennady was the attacker and the one forcing the fight and had Geale fighting just to survive and make it to the next round. When he fights Cotto that won’t be the case. More likely than not, it is Geale who will be the one trying to force the fight and initiate most of the exchanges. Therefore, it should be a compelling bout that will in all likelihood go the distance.
Which leads us to another conclusion…and that is, if the fight goes the distance and Geale hasn’t beaten Cotto half to death, is there a doubt about who will get the decision? Especially in Brooklyn, New York, where Cotto has a massive following and influence. I tend to think not. Cotto, as long as he can still stand by himself when the fight is over, he’s going to get the decision because of the pending blockbuster with Alvarez and maybe even Golovkin after that on the horizon. That’s boxing. But it’s not like Geale is a no hope challenger, because he’s not. And Cotto certainly hasn’t proven that he’s all-world fighting as a middleweight.
And that’s why the fight is compelling…
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com