It’s Prediction Week at TheFightJournal.com. Today’s prediction focuses on the matchup between Miguel “Junito” Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
|Tale of The Tape||Miguel Cotto||Saul Alvarez|
|Age||33 (on date of fight)||25|
|Current Status||WBC World middleweight champion||Unranked middleweight; World #1 super Welterweight|
|Professional Record||40-4-0, 33 KOs||45-1-0, 32 KOs|
|Height||5 ft 7 in||5 ft 9 in|
|Reach||67 in||70 ½ in|
On Saturday, November 21 on HBO pay-per view at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, a highly anticipated middleweight matchup between lineal World middleweight champion Miguel “Junito” Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez takes place. The fight is for Cotto’s 160-pound bout, even though neither fighter has ever fought at 160. Instead, it will be fought at a catch of 155 pounds.
The 25-year-old Alvarez, (45-1-1, 32 KOs), of Mexico, enters the fight riding a three-fight winning streak, with two of those victories coming by way of knockout. During that stretch, he’s beaten Alfredo Angulo (TKO 10), Erislandy Lara (SD 12), and James Kirkland (KO 3). His only loss is to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. He also has wins over Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Shane Mosley, and Kermit Cintron.
The 34 year old Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) has seen it all. He is riding a three-fight streak himself after joining forces with trainer Freddie Roach. Since back-to-back competitive losses to Austin Trout and Floyd Mayweather Jr, Cotto has found the magic. He also has wins over Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, and Sergio Martinez. The win over Martinez gave him the lineal middleweight title.
This fight can go a couple of ways but I think the odds are that it will favor one man. I believe that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has improved since he’s faced Mayweather. I believe Cotto has improved under the guidance of Freddie Roach.
What has fans salivating is that this is another in the list of Puerto Rico vs. Mexico. If you don’t know about the rivalry between these countries, you better hit YouTube to watch some videos. Look at Salvador Sanchez vs. Wilfredo Gomez. Watch the first fight between Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto. Check out Felix Trinidad vs. Oscar De La Hoya. Or watch the matchup between Trinidad vs. Fernando Vargas. You can even watch Gomez vs. Lupe Pintor. After watching these fights, you’ll understand the bragging rights for these fighters and for these countries.
The fact is simple and plain. The winner of this fight will be Miguel Cotto. He’s doing what real fighters do, which is finish his career strong. The reason Cotto wins starts with the fact that Cotto’s style keeps him low and at angles. By staying low, he can go to the body and avoid Canelo’s shots. Cotto will throw and land on the inside. Alvarez won’t. Cotto also has solid foot movement, which has been a thorn in Alvarez’s side for years. Alvarez just doesn’t have the foot speed or footwork to hang with Cotto bouncing in and out. Cotto also knows how to move his upper body to avoid counter shots. He hides his head behind his shoulder, making it difficult to score.
Canelo is a good fighter, but if you watch his fights against Trout (arguably a loss), against Lara (almost definitely a loss), and Mayweather (officially a loss) you’ll see how footwork troubles him. Also, if you watch Canelo’s fights, there always seems to be moments in the middle rounds where he simply gasses out. There appears to be conditioning issues with Alvarez. He’ll come forward with punches and for some reason just stops and backs off. Watch the Trout fight. When this happens in November, I think Cotto presses him and hurts him. It will be the signature moment of the fight. Something tells me Cotto is on a mission. He wants to send a message. He wants another crack at Mayweather and I expect him move his hands enough to get the referee to jump in and stop the fight.
Cotto knows what the Puerto Rico vs. Mexico matchup means. He’s going to go for it and win big, not just win. He is faster, he moves much better, and he’s more experienced. I like Cotto by TKO in this one. Miguel Cotto TKO 9.
Miguel Cotto is a hot commodity right now. He signed a mega deal with Roc nation. He is being paid at least three times as much as Saul Alvarez. He’s looked great in his past three fights. Saul Alvarez looked great against Kirkland, extremely shaky against Lara, and decent against a shot Angulo.
Let’s look at the real picture here. During his three-fight streak, Miguel Cotto first took on Delvin Rodriguez. Delvin is tough, but let’s face it… he’s an ESPN Friday Night Fights main event type of fighter. Then Cotto fought middleweight king Sergio Martinez. Martinez was dominating Julio Cesar Chavez Jr until the final round when he injured his knee. Martinez underwent surgery and barely beat Martin Murray in his next fight, a controversial decision in his homeland. He suffered an injury to the same knee, along with a broken left hand, and cuts over his eye. He took 2013 off and then decided to fight Miguel Cotto an entire year later. Obviously, Martinez stepped back into the ring for the money as his movement was seriously hampered by the knee injury. He just couldn’t move and movement is his bread and butter. Cotto dropped him three times in round one and the party was on! Let’s be real… this wasn’t Maravilla Martinez that Cotto was in the ring with that night. Then Cotto faced Daniel Geale at a catchweight of 157. I saw Geale at the weigh-in and he looked like a freaking welterweight. I was in Geale’s dressing room as he prepared to face Cotto and the energy was gone. I’m sure Geale would’ve given Cotto some problems that night had the fight been at the middleweight limit instead of 157. Cotto may still have won, but Geale would’ve been on his bike and doing his stick-and-move action to give Cotto trouble.
I believe there have been some smoke and mirrors with this “comeback” under Freddie Roach. While Cotto will have speed and footwork advantages over Alvarez, I think people underestimate Alvarez’s quickness when punching in combinations. I also hear about Alvarez taking time off in rounds. If you watch Cotto’s fights against Kelson Pinto, Ricardo Torres, Antonio Margarito, and Muhammad Abdullaev, he does this “walk away”, similar to Alvarez. No matter if Cotto is landing his shots or going defensive, he will walk away to buy himself time. Miguel Cotto takes as many breaks in fights as Saul Alvarez.
Cotto’s money punch is his left hand. He’s left handed, but fights from an orthodox style. In this fight, I think it comes back to bite him. At some point in the fight, Cotto is going to concentrate too much on that left hook. Alvarez is going to slip it and land an overhand right that shakes Cotto, followed by an uppercut that drops him. Cotto will rise to his feet and Alvarez will come in to finish him. The referee will decide that enough is enough and the winner and new lineal middleweight champion will be Saul Alvarez. Saul Alvarez TKO 9.