The announcements and press tour of the upcoming catch-weight bout between WBC middleweight title holder Miguel Cotto 40-4 (33) and superstar Canelo Alvarez 45-1-1 (32) have begun.
Cotto-Alvarez is the biggest fight in boxing since the Mayweather-Pacquiao farce this past May and it’ll take place on November 21 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Boxing fans and aficionados are excited about Cotto-Alvarez because on paper and due to their fighting styles and temperment it should be a fan friendly fight.
The stipulated catch-weight of 155 shouldn’t be a factor since Cotto isn’t a true middleweight and Alvarez has been making 154 fighting as a junior middleweight his entire career. So in the main all things point to a competitive bout.
However, on the other hand if you break it down from a boxing point of view and technical aspect, everything seems to favor Alvarez. And by that I mean if you’re building a case for Cotto to win what can you build your case around? The way I see it there’s only one thing in which you can point to where Cotto clearly owns a significant advantage, and that is experience fighting the best of the best with the world watching. That’s it. Cotto has been in with virtually every big name fighter in boxing campaigning between 140-154. And if you really want to push the envelope, you could add that Cotto was more competitive with Floyd Mayweather than Alvarez was when they both fough him. But that had much to do with their fighting styles than it did Cotto actually being more formidable than Alvarez.
Fighting styles are monumental in determining the outcome between two fighters if they’re both equally skilled and world class. It was style that ultimately decided Mayweather-Pacquiao in favor of Floyd earlier this year. If you look at most of their common opponents, Pacquiao beat them more convincingly than Mayweather did…yet Manny wasn’t even Mayweather’s toughest fight.
As for Cotto-Alvarez, the style match up clearly favors Canelo, and that’s not up for debate. In order for Miguel to beat Canelo this November he’ll have to re-invent himself stylistically and fight more like Floyd Mayweather than Miguel Cotto. Good luck with that. In other words, Cotto will have to use his feet and box. And the reason for that is, Alvarez is the bigger puncher with both hands and has the better chin. So we can forget about Cotto taking it to Alvarez and trying to break him down with his body punching. In fact Cotto’s body attack will be null and void against Alvarez because he’ll be moving back and off to one side or the other. Count on that because Freddie Roach is too smart to implore Cotto to go after Alvarez. And if you’ve watched Cotto fight you know his body punching hasn’t been much of an issue or factor during the bouts in which he’s been forced to jab, box and move away.
If I’m Alvarez I’m relishing the style match up with Cotto. Alvarez isn’t good at cutting off the ring versus a fighter like Mayweather, but he’ll have no problem doing it against the slower hand and footed Cotto. None whatsoever.
In addition to that, Alvarez has an inside outside game and he can hurt Cotto with his left hook and his right hand. Cotto only has a left hook regarding his finishing punches – and he has to be moving forward to get everything on it. If he’s forced to fight in retreat as I believe he will be against Alvarez, I doubt he’ll put much hurt on Canelo. So if Cotto tries to slow the pace and box, I expect Canelo to push the fight with his jab and try to line Cotto up for his right hand, a punch he’ll somewhat be moving in to. Basically, Alvarez will have to force Cotto to rush his shots while he’s moving, a style which is very taxing physically on the fighter who is reacting to the strength and pressure of the opponent, which in this case is Cotto.
At some point during the bout Cotto is going to be forced to hold his ground and fight Canelo off. And when that occurs, you have to think the bigger guns of Alvarez and his better chin will cause Cotto to ultimately get the worst of it. Alvarez will have the easier time and come out less damaged during any fire fight that erupts between them. And when he senses that Cotto is doing everything in his power to avoid them, he’ll do everything he can to make Cotto fight and open up. When that happens Cotto will either get stopped or his vast experience may carry him the distance and he will lose the decision by a wide margin.
I’ve been a huge Cotto fan since he turned pro. He’s had a great career and picking against him is not without danger. Miguel has managed his career brilliantly. He’s fought everybody and has made a ton of money, and that’s great. He’s also smart to fight Canelo before facing Gennady Golovkin because even though I don’t see him beating Alvarez, he at least has a shot, something he wouldn’t have against Golovkin. And if he somehow gets by Alvarez, Golovkin and a ton of money will be waiting for him. But I just don’t think that’s how it will play out.
I see Alvarez having the right style and physicality to beat Cotto, and when that happens it will be Alvarez who moves onto fighting Golovkin in what will be the most anticipated bout in boxing during the year 2016. ?
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com