Experience Will Be Miguel Cotto’s Advantage
By: Rich Mancuso
New York: Miguel Cotto is not concerned about a possible middleweight title fight with Gennady Golovkin who holds the WBO and IBF titles. The only point of interest is his WBC middleweight title defense against Canelo Alvarez next Saturday night in Las Vegas.
The second mega fight of the year should generate good numbers on the HBO pay-per-view telecast and Oscar de La Hoya, the former champion who promotes Alvarez, said earlier this week that the fight could generate close to 1.5 million PPV buys. If that happens,Cotto-Alvarez would become the second most lucrative fight of the year next to the boxing record holder of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather that was contested back in early May.
But the emphasis of this fight is the younger and strong Canelo Alvarez opposing the veteran in Miguel Cotto. There is a huge interest in where this fight will go, and of course the continued drama of a top fighter from Mexico, (Alvarez) and the champion from Puerto Rico, with the legacy of Cotto that continues.
Cotto, the 35-year old and first four-time champion from Puerto Rico has little much to prove, and there are always questions as to when he will hang up the gloves and await his enshrinement in the Boxing Hall of Fame. Alvarez, the 25-year old from Guadalajara Mexico, is still in the infancy stages of trying to build a legacy so a win over Cotto could be the beginning of something bigger and better.
Cotto has the factor of experience and improving in the later stages of his career. His improvement to use that power has been evident in the past three fights since joining forces with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
Alvarez, though, is the first to say he has been in the ring long enough to have the capability of taking on the best and being one of those young fighters that will carry the torch when Cotto eventually leaves the sport.
“Record is 45-1 with 32 knockouts, which is outstanding at 25- years old” said Alvarez via an interpreter on a conference call with media this week. “All of my fights I learned something. There are some important fights, there are some difficult fights. But with all these combined fights you gain experience and with that experience I’m going to display that on November 21st.”
True Alvarez has had the experience fighting at 154, and at the 147 welterweight division there were times he was destined to go up in weight. But all along, Canelo Alvarez continued to become one of the newest and rising stars in the sport, and who could argue that the majority decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last September did not add to the experience.
And perhaps the Mayweather fight was a pinpoint of saying that Canelo Alvarez did not belong in the ring with the class of Mayweather. But who has been able to prove otherwise that they did not belong in the ring with the supposedly retired and undefeated champion?
But Alvarez was there with Mayweather. So was Cotto who lost to Mayweather by unanimous decision three years ago for the WBA super welterweight title. Then, Cotto did not have Roach in his corner and whatever it is now, the Cotto-Roach connection is working and has made Cotto more aggressive with his ability to box or fight.
Alvarez also makes an analysis of two fighters who have had mutual opponents, fights that went different ways. Cotto lost his WBA super welterweight title to Austin Trout at 154, in 2012. Alvarez, a year later defeated Trout by unanimous decision for the WBA and WBC super welterweight titles that he would later drop to Mayweather.
“Cotto may have done better against Mayweather,” said Alvarez, “However I did better against Austin Trout and Cotto didn’t do that good against Trout.”
With boxing there really is no right answer as to why one trainer is suited better than another for a fighter, though it could be chemistry and in this case with Cotto it makes a difference. Against Trout there was no power, or the ability to throw the left and right with authority.
Roach seems to have Cotto at his best and that could make a difference when he meets Alvarez next Saturday night. The experience factor could be the deciding factor with Roach in the corner.
Roach explained in a media conference call Wednesday afternoon that working with Cotto and knowing what had to be done all started after his guy Manny Pacquiao TKO’d Cotto in November of 2009. Yes, that led to this great combination of fighter and trainer.
“Looking for a knockout,” said Roach. “We had a history going against each other with the Pacquiao fight. One of the best calls I ever got.” But what has made this combination of experience work, and how will it be used to combat Alvarez who brings a lot to the table with his ability to either box or fight?
Said Roach, “Train hard and get along together. Expect the best one coming up,”he said about his fourth fight working with Cotto. “There are no secrets, everything is on the table. His, (Cotto) punching power is improving. Something we been working on.”
There is momentum with Cotto, who does not know when the last punches will be thrown that will end a Hall of Fame career. There has been a noticeable difference in the jab and power since his alliance with Roach. That was more evident in a fourth round TKO over Daniel Geale back in June in a middleweight title defense, his stoppage over Sergio Martinez for the WBC championship and a third round TKO over Delvin Rodriguez.
“Each fight is different,” explained Cotto Wednesday afternoon when asked how Roach has made a difference. “I am pretty confident Freddie has done a great job and confident I will win this fight.”
About working with Roach and how it may have been different with him from the beginning as he goes into his 45th fight as a professional, Cotto said, “We have chemistry. I’m here with Freddie. My career, I don’t know what would have happened before. Just working on Canelo. Every fight is different.”
Cotto added about the experience factor that could play a role against Alvarez: “We are prepared for anything that can happen in the ring. I know I can punch and hit guys. Now looking to create the perfect opportunity to hit my opponent. Now I understand I have 36 minutes to finish off my opponent and use every minute of it.”
They are confident, Cotto and Roach. And they are ready to show that experience and chemistry does work, and if indeed Cotto does get the win he will have to answer the call from Golovkin. But one fight at a time as Cotto always says:
“I leave that to my promoters.”
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