By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Showtime presents three fights on its Championship Boxing telecast from the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The Puerto Rican idol Miguel Cotto will challenge undefeated Austin Trout for his WBA “regular” junior middleweight title, Jayson Velez will battle Salvador Sanchez II in the junior lightweight division, and Danny Jacobs will continue his path on his comeback trail after his bout with cancer against Chris Fitzpatrick in the middleweight division.
Daniel Jacobs (23-1) vs. Chris Fitzpatrick (15-2); Middleweight Division
Danny Jacobs was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer in May of 2011 and he made his first return to the ring with a quick 1st round KO over Josh Luteran in Brooklyn, NY in October of this year.
Jacobs was on the fast track towards a world title until he got derailed by Dmitry Pirog in July of 2010. Jacobs has been on a tear since then and has won his last three bouts by KO or TKO.
He has an impressive knockout ratio, as twenty of his twenty-three victories have come by way of KO or TKO. He’s in his prime, but his list of defeated opponents is not overly impressive. He did defeat Ishe Smith in 2009, but two of his last three opponents had below .500 records.
His opponent, Chris Fitzpatrick, is not a formidable opponent.
Fitzpatrick does not have the amateur credentials of Jacobs. Fitzpatrick only has six KO/TKO’s on his record. He has also lost two of his last three bouts. He lost to Patrick Majewski in Atlantic City in July of this year, and he lost to a nine-loss Jose Medina in October of last year.
This is a stay-busy fight for Danny Jacobs and it will be very surprising if the fight goes past the fifth round.
Jayson Velez (19-0) vs. Salvador Sanchez II (30-4-3); Junior Lightweight Division
Salvador Sanchez II has a famous and familiar name, as he is the nephew of the legendary Salvador Sanchez. But he does not have a legendary resume.
Sanchez is twenty-seven, so he’s in his physical prime, but he has spent most of his career in the featherweight division and will be jumping up a weight class to take on an undefeated and younger prospect.
Eighteen of Sanchez’s thirty victories have come by way of KO or TKO. He is also currently riding an eleven-fight win streak. However, none of those victories have come against notable opponents. The only recognizable name on his list of vanquished foes is an aged Jovanny Soto in 2011. This will be Sanchez’s first fight in the junior lightweight division.
His opponent Jayson Velez is young, twenty-four years old, and has an impressive KO ratio. Fourteen of his nineteen victories have come by way of KO or TKO. This will be Velez’s first real tough test, as most of his victories have come against average competition at best.
This will be Velez’s sixth fight in the past two years and he’s being brought along nicely for a young and promising prospect. Three of his last five fights have ended by stoppage, and his last eight opponents have had winning records.
This will be a good test for Velez, but it will be one he should pass easily. Sanchez is a tough veteran in that he should be able to last all ten rounds, but Velez can really open some eyes if he scored an impressive early stoppage.
Miguel Cotto (37-3) vs. Austin Trout (25-0); WBA “Regular” Junior Middleweight Title
Miguel Cotto is the most popular Puerto Rican boxer currently fighting today, and this is well justified.
Cotto has fought the best of the best and has never backed down from a challenge. He began his career in the junior welterweight division and he has been fighting top ranked fighters since 2003.
He’s defeated Carlos Maussa, Randall Bailey, DeMarcus Corley, Paul Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Yuri Foreman, and Ricardo Mayorga.
Cotto is unquestionably a Hall of Fame fighter. He gave Floyd Mayweather one of the toughest fights of his life in a fight that was much closer than what the scorecards reflected. His other two losses were to the fireplug Manny Pacquiao and the questionable gloves of Antonio Margarito (which he avenged).
However, Cotto is 32-years-old and is likely past the peak of his prime. He’s also only 5’7″ tall, which is short for a junior middleweight.
His opponent, Austin Trout, does not have the resume of Miguel Cotto, but hardly anyone does.
Trout was the runner-up to make the 2004 U.S. Olympic Boxing Team and was the U.S. National Amateur Welterweight Champion in 2004. Trout is also a southpaw, and Cotto has had mixed results against southpaws.
Trout is a technically gifted boxer that likes to rely on his jab to win fights, but he isn’t known for his knockout power. Fourteen of his twenty-five victories have come by way of KO or TKO.
Trout will have a two-inch height advantage on his opponent, as well as a five-inch reach advantage. He won the WBA title with a decision victory over Rigoberto Alvarez in February of 2011. Since then he has defeated the likes of Delvin Rodriguez, Frank LoPorto, and David Alonso Lopez.
The longer the bout goes, the greater the chance of Austin Trout winning. Cotto has considerably more power than Trout, as thirty of his thirty-seven victories have ended by stoppage. But, Cotto has a lot more wear a tear on his body than Trout and has been involved in a lot more wars.
Four of the last five bouts for Trout have ended in a decision, and if Trout is able to avoid the hard body shots of Cotto, he could pull off the victory.
But experience and the rabid Puerto Rican fans in attendance will be on Cotto’s side, and that will be the difference in the bout.
Expect Cotto to win by decision, and a future spring date against either Canelo Alvarez or a possible rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr.