When the first round concluded I had the feeling that the fair skinned fighter was too big and strong for the shorter fighter with the tattoos all over his body. And I had the same sense after the second and third rounds too, and after every subsequent round through to the 12th and final round. When it was over the fair skinned boxer was awarded a unanimous decision over the shorter fighter with the tattoos by the scores of 118-110, 119-109 and 117-111 (I had it 116-112). In case you missed it Saul “Canelo” Alvarez 46-1-1 (32) was the fair skinned fighter and Miguel Cotto 40-5 (33) was the tattooed up fighter.
Today, Alvarez is the new WBC/lineal middleweight champ, and the sole reason for that is this: he was too physically big and strong for Cotto and that’s what dictated the outcome of the fight. If they were the same size and of equal strength, Cotto would’ve been able to out-box Alvarez, but he’s not and he didn’t…..however he is the better fighter and technician, on that there’s no conjecture.
Yes, that’s what we learned this past weekend; Canelo is too big and strong for Cotto. After observing 12 pretty intense rounds between them, it’s pretty clear exactly what the weaknesses are in Saul’s game at the highest level in boxing. Furthermore, I’m not sure all of them can be addressed and resolved, and if they’re not they will be profound stumbling blocks for him as he moves onto bigger fights versus elite opposition.
Prior to the fight and because of how his bout with Floyd Mayweather unraveled, I knew Canelo was stymied and blunted by the jab, but not to the extent that it appeared against Cotto. For many patches of the fight all Miguel had to do was circle to one side or the other while shooting out what basically amounted to throw away jabs and Alvarez really couldn’t get off, at least well. The thing that went against Cotto was he just couldn’t put any kind of hurt on Alvarez to at least keep him away and occupied. And because of that Cotto had to try and stand his ground at times but he wasn’t strong enough and had to break off the exchanges when they started to engage.
Luckily for Cotto, Alvarez doesn’t have an imaginative offense and really won’t cut loose unless everything is set and he’s in position. It was evident after every meaningful exchange in which Canelo landed, all Cotto had to do was take a step and a half one way or the other and Alvarez was out of range and couldn’t hit him, at least cleanly. It was so obvious that just a little movement and boxing enabled Cotto to survive the fight against the bigger and harder punching Mexican boxer, who isn’t refined at cutting off the ring.
Alvarez doesn’t have the greatest overall speed and sometimes appears as if he’s doing things correctly with good form and leverage, but he’s doing them underwater. He has more than adequate power with both hands, but I must confess, I’m surprised he didn’t put a little more hurt on Cotto than what he did. In addition to the above, I thought Alvarez was tiring beginning around the 10th round and was fortunate that Cotto was worn down from some of the big body shots he absorbed and therefore was unable to pick it up when Saul was winding down.
Against Cotto, Alvarez’s best attributes besides his size and power were his toughness and chin and because Cotto couldn’t dent either of them he was fighting uphill for the entire bout. Yes, Alvarez clearly won but he’s not the better fighter or technician. I came away from the fight wholeheartedly believing that if they were the same size physically the result would’ve been reversed.
Alvarez is in somewhat of a conundrum. He’s the WBC title holder and lineal champ, but he would be a profound underdog against the man the boxing public wants to see him fight next, and that’s IBO/WBA/IBF middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin 34-0 (31). It would appear that Canelo isn’t a big enough puncher to stand his ground and fight Golovkin and be successful, and I can’t envision him fighting Golovkin the way Cotto fought him and coming out on top. Actually, I don’t believe he’d have the success fighting in retreat against GGG that Cotto realized against him.
If I were managing Alvarez I’d be hoping and praying that Floyd Mayweather wakes up one morning in the next six months and publicly announces that he wants to go for 50 consecutive wins and also wants to be the first junior lightweight champ in history to capture the middleweight title. If Canelo grossed five million dollars fighting Cotto as the challenger, he’d probably get close to 15 million defending his title against Mayweather.
No, Canelo won’t beat Floyd if they fight again, and he may not even be more competitive based on his showing against Cotto; but he has a better chance to upset Mayweather than he does Golovkin. And losing to Mayweather won’t be as painful or heartbreaking as losing to Golovkin…..and he’ll make triple the amount of money and have a better chance to reboot his career.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com