WBC Middleweight Champion Miguel Cotto and Mexican star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez are both warriors. Nothing is guaranteed in sport, but if these two enter the same ring fans can expect a war.
Both fighters seem eager to exchange leather and reports suggest that a deal is close. Boxing needs it, especially as many casual fans were left feeling deceived after the ‘Fight of the Century’ between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
A close match-up
Initially I was going to write an argument on who would win. Looking at old tapes and statistics I leaned with Cotto. But isn’t now the time for Canelo to become the poster boy for boxing as Mayweather’s retirement edges closer? I don’t know who would win. This possible contest is unpredictable. And here is why you should watch it (assuming it gets made).
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It would represent the sweet science at the highest level. Cotto is a five-time world champion in four weight classes. He is a future hall of famer and has fought against the best. Now 34, the Puerto Ricon would be defending the middleweight crown that he obtained by outclassing Sergio Martinez in 2014.
Martinez hadn’t boxed in a year due to knee surgery and wasn’t the same fighter, but take nothing away from Cotto, who stepped up to middleweight and showed his power by dropping Martinez three times in round one.
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That said the question remains; would Alvarez be too good, even for Cotto? Canelo is already a superstar, especially in Mexico, where the people see him as their next hero, succeeding the likes of Julio Cesar Chaves and Oscar De La Hoya.
He has faced the likes of Mayweather and Shane Mosley, as well as previously being the WBC and WBA Light Middleweight champion of the world. Oh, and he is only 24. This kid is special.
Battle sure to erupt
With Cotto’s forward approach and lethal left hooks and Canelo’s stinging counter punches, this fight could end abruptly at any moment. On top of that both possess tremendous power. Canelo has never been down in his career but if he takes one of Cotto’s signature left hooks flush to the face, even he should be in trouble.
The pair's respective prior fights have also been spectacular. Cotto destroyed Australian Daniel Geale in his first middleweight title defence, whilst Canelo in the meantime, equally impressive, left his opponent James Kirkland on the canvas with a devastating early stoppage.
How does Cotto win?
As aforementioned, Cotto's left hook needs to come into play for him to stand a realistic chance of winning. He will need to be his usual aggressive self and be on the front foot. That said he can’t be reckless and leave his defence exposed, just ask Kirkland.
Defensively he has to be stern to avoid getting pummelled by Canelo’s fast, hard hands. Most of all he has to stick to new trainer Freddie Roach’s game plan. Roach is a legendary coach and will have already meticulously studied Alvarez.
If it goes to the later rounds Canelo may throw less shots, as he did against Austin Trout. If this is the case Cotto needs to keep punching and maintain a high work rate. This might knick some later rounds in his favour. Cotto is the older fighter but age shouldn’t be an issue.
How does Alvarez win?
Fights are won in the gym. And that is the key for Canelo here. Despite being almost a decade younger that Cotto, his opponent has a tendency to keep throwing hard punches no matter what round it is.
Although it could end at any time, it also might be a long gruelling match, a battle of attrition, and Alvarez needs to be prepared for that. So if he achieves his goals in training, he can then think about executing counter-punches to Cotto, who will inevitable throw a lot of punches himself.
It's essential that Canelo doesn't get dragged into an all out war where anything could happen. He needs to fight smart on the outside similar to Trout's game-plan when he beat Cotto by using his jab to keep him at bay.
Fight fans, is there any bout potentially more enthralling than this one to be made? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.