Jackie Kallen: Will Cotto/Alvarez be the fight of the year?


By Jackie Kallen

After two lackluster Mayweather fights in a row, fans are expecting the Saturday match-up between Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez to be a barn-burner. People are not so quick to part with their money right before the holidays; especially for a boring fight. Both fighters have predicted anything but a sleeper at the Mandalay Bay.

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In my book, Canelo is one of the best fighters in the game today. I have been a fan since the first time I saw him fight. He has gotten sharper, older and more experienced. This is, on paper, a good fight for him. He’s 25 years old, is 45-1-1, has only lost once (to Mayweather) and has never really been hurt. He’s coming off of three good wins and is hungry and eager to dominate the boxing world. He has stopped 68% of his opponents.

At 35 years old, Cotto is not exactly a young pup. He’s been in his share of battles and the Puerto Rican has proven that he has good nights and not-so-good nights. He’s also coming off of three solid wins. After losing a unanimous decision to Austin Trout in 2012, he has fought once a year, beating Delvin Rodriguez, Sergio Martinez and Daniel Geale. He has knocked out 75% of the men who stood in front of him.

They are fighting at a catch-weight of 155 pounds. Will this be a tough weight for Canelo to make? He reportedly had trouble making it against Kirkland in May. Assuming weight is not an issue for either man, will age play a factor? 10 years of ring wear is a lot. Cotto has certainly been in the tougher wars. Who can forget his 2008 battle with Antonio Margarito? Or his close fight with Shane Mosley in 2007?

Alfonso Gomez and Austin Trout have fought them both and both are picking Canelo. Gamblers are all over the place. Some think Canelo will win easily and others are taking a chance on Miguel Cotto’s strength and unpredictability. Having Freddie Roach in his corner is a plus for Cotto, also. Size matters, though, and clearly Alvarez is the bigger, taller man with a longer reach. Cotto has been stopped twice in his career and he should be well aware of Canelo’s power.

This fight has now become more about bragging rights than title prestige. Cotto decided not to fork over a $300,000 sanctioning fee and so his WBC lineal belt is not a factor. The WBC has stated that if Canelo wins Saturday’s fight, he will claim the vacant WBC belt. They are hoping for that. Alvarez would also displace Cotto as lineal champion. If Cotto should win, he will remain lineal champion, but WBC interim titleholder Gennady Golovkin will then be named the full WBC titlist.

All we can hope for is a battle worthy of these two warriors. It seems unlikely to go the distance, but one never knows how a fight like this will play out once the first bell rings.

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