By Gary Todd
Miguel Cotto v Daniel Geale.
The sport of boxing is a tough hard sport where only the strong survive. It’s also a sport where dreams can be realized and dreams can very quickly become a nightmare. Every fighter trains to be the best they can be, and be better than the next guy. They enter the ring with the confidence , knowing they have prepared their mind and body to be better than their opponent. They climb through the ropes without an ounce of doubt. They are invincible, and superior beings.
At some point in their career, they may decide not to skip for 20 minutes, and only do 10. They might get dropped in sparring , or is it, they have just taken too much trauma in the gym and the ring, and their bodies are telling them its almost over.
They just might, start thinking they’re not that invincible anymore. It happens and it happens to the best of them. Its okay, they have made a lot of money, and they have cemented their legacy in the history of boxing. They have done everything and owe no one a thing. They have given so much of themselves that it’ just time to say good bye.
Miguel Cotto is and has been one of my favorite fighters. I had seen him in the amateurs, as a light welterweight, at the Sydney Olympics. He didn’t get a medal, but for me he was outstanding, and I knew that he would be a future world champion in the world of professional boxing.
Daniel Geale was also a Sydney Olympian, campaigning at welterweight, and he was a highly decorated amateur boxer , winning a gold medal at the Manchester commonwealth games in 2002. Geale was never a stand out, but this guy could fight. He had a calm demeanor, a huge heart, and was a tough and solid boxer.
With Cotto debuting in 2001, and Geale making his debut in 2004, these two warriors , now 34 years old, have each travelled down their own successful path to glory , with both fighters being beaten , and both fighters being stopped in world championship fights, and both of them having to deal with the highs and lows of being a fighter.
Each boxer has had key moments in their career, turning points, and brutal moments, to make them think, “ am I done here, is it over “
Since 2001, Cotto has been involved in some brilliantly brutal fights , and he has taken a lot of punishment inside the ring. Some would say too much. Great fights with great drama, which has made him a hero to the people of Puerto Rico, and a legend in the sport of boxing.
In 2008, I believe Cotto was at a crossroads in his career, fighting Antonio Margarito in a fight that could only be described as pure carnage . Up to that point, Miguel Cotto was a body crunching , seek and destroy fighter, and I believe that whatever happened that night, concerning all the controversy of Margarito’s “loaded “ gloves, and what was later reported. dramatically changed Cotto as the fighter he was and had been .
In 2009, Cotto signed to fight Manny Pacquiao for millions of dollars, but watching from ringside, he looked as if he had lost a bit, and as the fight went on, the Filipino dynamo began to dominate and beat Cotto up. Cotto was down in the 3rd and the 4th round, and was eventually knocked out in the 11th round. I thought that would the last time I saw him , but he came back to beat the crazed Ricardo Mayorga in 2011.
Later that same year, it was announced that a rematch with Margarito was on at Madison Square Garden, and I remember picking the round that Cotto would stop the damaged Mexican warrior . For me this fight should never have happened. As Margarito had a major problem with his right eye, and the fight was allowed to go ahead. Everyone knew it was fucked, Cotto knew his eye was blind to him, and he targeted the right eye and in the end, the carnage at the garden was stopped in the 9th round
Next up in 2012, was Floyd Mayweather. The money man had chosen Cotto, as he knew he could outbox and beat him at 154lbs. He chose well, winning on points in Las Vegas.
What more did Cotto have to prove? Nothing. A great fighter, a tremendous career, and financial security assured for himself and his family.
Cotto came back to challenge the up and coming Austin Trout, and to be honest, I didn’t think he had any problems with Trout. I was wrong, and I suppose Cotto’s closest advisors were wrong. In the fight, Trout was just too good on the night for the 32 year old Cotto. For me, he wasn’t old, he was just worn from years of hard fights.
Again, I thought that was it, but I was wrong and he came back in 2013 to TKO Delvin Rodriguez. .
Sergio Martinez had been dominating and claiming the right of the king of the middleweights. He was a great champion through the years, but he had obviously struggled with injuries and had to overcome some serious challenged to keep his pound for pound status. I thought he was fighting injured. It happens. Most fighters do carry some kind of injury, a lingering , pain in the arse injury that annoys them, but will not let them from fighting. I thought Martinez was fighting really injured. I watched the tapes over and over, and he was having problems with his legs. Whether Freddie Roach or any of Cotto’s people saw this, I don’t know, but they signed to fight Sergio Martinez in 2014.
Like the Margarito fight, I hoped the fight would be called off. As soon as the bell rang, Cotto did what he does best, and closes the range then boom, Martinez is down. Not once, but 3 times in the first round.
It was clear, his legs had betrayed him and the champion couldn’t move. Martinez boxed on, but it was the beginning of the end , finally retiring in the 10th round. Martinez was a proud champion, and how he lasted that long still amazes me .
Miguel was back. The media was back in his corner again. “ The body snatcher” was back. He had beaten the middleweight champion of the world.
As I have said, I am a massive fan of Cotto, but he beat a disabled Martinez. I wasn’t that excited.
Since turning pro, Daniel Geale has had some some tremendous nights in the ring. Maybe not that exciting or noticeable in the boxing world, but don’t tell him that. He travelled to Germany twice and beat Felix Sturm [ split decision ] and Sebastian Sylvester to win their world titles. He was beaten by Anthony Mundine, then avenged that loss a couple of years later. He had Darren Barker down in the 6th round , from a devastating body punch in their world title fight [ how Barker got up from that punch was unbelievable ] even more unbelievable than that was Barker came back and out boxed Geale to win the world title by split decision.
Geale has had his moments in a 10 year career, but he has never captured the imagination of his own Australian people, let alone the boxing fans.
When he fought Gennady Golovkin, he came to box, and he gritted his teeth for as long as he could until Golovkin broke him down mentally and physically, finally dismantling him into submission in the 3rd round. I couldn’t believe reading that Geale said that if he ever got to fight GGG again, he would expose his flaws.
As far as I’m concerned Geale has been used as a measuring stick for how well he will fare . He crashed against Golovkin, so will he get blasted out by Cotto ? Golovkin is at Miguel’s doorstep, and he’s knocking. Soon, he will be hammering on that door. By all accounts, it seems that Saul Alvarez is not only knocking at the door, he has his size 10 boot, firmly wedged in the door, and he could be next up if all goes well. Another beast of a man at the 150 something [ catch weight ?] for Cotto to fight. Great fight for the fans, but a bad fight for Cotto.
If Geale performs like I think he will, gritting his teeth, digging deep, and going in with a “nothing to lose” all out attitude, then it could be a very tough night at the office for the Puerto Rican legend .
For me, I really don’t think that Geale deserves another shot. He surrended in his fight with Golovkin, and he was fighting for a world title. It’s boxing. It happens.!!
I went to watch Geale’ s last fight in Sydney, Australia. He was fighting Jarrod Fletcher, and the people closest to Fletcher knew he was at the end of his career. Jarrod had a long amateur career, and was carrying various injuries , so it was expected that Geale would possibly blast him out after 6 rounds. The fight went the distance with Geale winning big on points. For me, he looked as if he was on the slide.
For Daniel Geale, this is his last chance at the big time. It is a mega fight for him, and a fair chance to make millions of dollars for his family. It s “Rocky Balboa ” v Apollo Creed. A dream come true for the Australian boxer.
Cotto will try to make Geale fight at his pace. Use his great jab, and target down to the body, then upstairs. That’s Miguel ! If Geale plays into this, then Cotto will break him down and force the stoppage in the 10th round.
Geale will, and has to push himself and Cotto into fighting at a high pace every round, using the jab, covering that body, and trying to avoid Cotto’s uppercut combination punching bombs. Geale is not a big puncher, but he can punch well when he opens up. The longer the fight goes, Geale will gain in confidence and grit his teeth, and hope that Cotto will slow down, and run out of gas. He is tough. He has to just go for it, but do it smart. I think Geale will be training for a long night. He has to, as it’s the obvious strategy.
I believe that Cotto is on the slide as a fighter, but he has all the tools to beat Geale. Geale is taller, and has a reach advantage, but Cotto still has the punches to break the Australian down. Will there be pressure on Cotto? I don’t think he knows what pressure is. He is a multiple weight division , champion of the world. He is a cool character, and rarely does he frazzle. It may be his first title defence since winning Martinez’s world title, and he may have a bit of ring rust, but I think the real pressure will come when this fight is over. Canelo Alvarez, and Gennady Golovkin.
Gary Todd is an international best selling author with his books on boxing’s world champions . “ Workout’s from boxings greatest champs.” Volumes 1 and 2. He has been involved in all aspects of the sport of boxing for over 25 years.