By Ivan G. Goldman
Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto are both bangers and merciless finishers, but despite the 65 kayos they’ve accumulated over the course of their violent careers, oddsmakers see the fight Saturday night going to the scorecards.
The over-under is set at 11 ½ rounds. The 5Dimes offshore gambling site sets the over at -170 and the under at +150. $170 wagered on the fight going over 11 ½ rounds wins $100. $100 bet on the fight ending before 11 ½ rounds wins $150.
The Bovada offshore site sets the over at -200 and the under at +140. Both sites give the younger Canelo about a 3-1 victory edge. Bovada established a draw at an enticing +2000. Well, almost anything is possible, but I wouldn’t put a second mortgage on the house to chase those odds. 5Dimes didn’t post a draw proposition.
Exact odds can and almost certainly will fluctuate, but as always, once you put your bet down, your odds won’t change.
Built into those odds are facts, rumors, and dreams. Facts include Canelo’s record of 45-1-1, 32 KOs and Cotto’s numbers coming in at 40-4, 33 KOs. Age, experience, and depletion from wars are big factors. Canelo is the youngster at age 25 and Cotto turned 35 last month.
He still carries battle scars from a brutal stoppage inflicted seven years ago by cheater Antonio Margarito. The California Attorney General’s Office, viewing photographic evidence, ruled Margarito used loaded wraps, but the fight took place in Las Vegas and the Nevada commission refused to pursue the matter.
Cotto was the WBC middleweight champ until the alphabet gang stripped him during fight week because he refused to pay a shakedown fee totaling above $1 million for the pay-per-view fight. Cotto’s a hard man to negotiate with. Apparently Canelo gets the title if he wins the fight, but WBC promises are sometimes written with disappearing ink.
Ironically Cotto, who held the legitimate title, may be the smaller man. Both men are really junior middleweights and agreed to a catchweight of 155, five pounds under the middleweight limit.
There originally was a presumptive showdown between the winner and Gennady Golovkin, a bona fide middleweight who holds the other three titles. But the picture grew murkier after the WBC stripped Cotto.
Promoters Golden Boy (Oscar De La Hoya) and Roc Nation Sports (Jay Z) have had trouble getting play in the general mass media, which these days seems a bit burned out on boxing again. The sport sits now in one of those valleys where there’s no superstar. There are plenty of excellent, perhaps even great fighters, but the publicity alchemists have so far failed to create a media stampede.
This particular promotion also features trainer Freddie Roach, a celebrity in his own right, working Cotto’s corner, but that may not be enough to entice fans into forking over $70 to view the fight at home. When I checked Thursday, Ticketmaster still had seats available at the Mandalay Bay in Nevada.
However, the bout pits Puerto Rico against Mexico, and in the boxing world that traditionally spells fan interest.
Canelo, because of his youth and good looks, has the potential to become a longtime star. De La Hoya wants to turn him into the next De La Hoya, a heartthrob who can punch opponents’ lights out, but Canelo, though greatly celebrated in Mexico, would need to polish his English to have a shot at being a crossover star in the States.
Oscar has defied conventional wisdom by keeping his company together and still on the tracks after he forced out CEO Richard Schaefer. Jay Z, rapper, producer, and entrepreneur extraordinaire, may be juggling too many balls to work his magic in the fiercely demanding world of boxing promotion.
Fight fans won’t be sneering at this intriguing match-up. It’s the real thing, an important contest between two elite competitors who hate to back up. A genuine battle is pretty much guaranteed to break out.
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available now from Permanent Press wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.