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Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland, who you got? FIGHT BREAKDOWN

By Sevak Sarkisian

  On Saturday, Februrary 25th, future Hall of famer Miguel Cotto (40-5 33KO’S) will be making his long awaited return to the ring. Cotto will make his return against super welterweight contender and multiple time fighter of the year nominee James Kirkland (32-2 28KO’s) at the Ford Center in Frisco Texas.  The bout will be aired live on HBO PPV and is promoted by Roc Nation Sports. 

Miguel Cotto is a legend in boxing and has one of the biggest fan basis in the sport.  He is a former four-division world champion and holds wins over the likes of Ricardo Torres, Paul Malignaggi, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Ricardo Mayorga, Sergio Martinez among many a historic career.  Cotto stands at 5’7 in height and possesses a 67′ inch reach as well.  He won his first world title in the 140 lb division but has settled into the 154lb division nicely over the past years despite winning the lineal middleweight championship in 2014.  Miguel has good punching power in both hands and also possesses good physical strength. 

Cotto has good boxing skills and can box and move very well despite having a stocky build.  He throws a nice strong jab and has great timing as well as a signature left hook to the body.  His heart and warrior spirit can’t be questioned by anyone. However, his face does tend to bust up fairly easily and he is vulnerable against volume pressure fighters.

James Kirkland on the other hand is a strong volume pressure fighter with power in both hands! That is what precisely what makes this fight interesting to me.  Kirkland simply has the style and the tools to defeat the aging Hall of Fame fighter if he takes his training seriously.  Kirkland holds wins over the likes of Brian Vera, Joel Julio, Alfredo Angulo and Glen Tapia.  Back in 2009, Kirkland was a highly touted prospect with a fan friendly style however, stints in jail and managerial and promotional problems have sporadically kept him out of the ring and have killed his momentum. Kirkland stands at 5’9 in height and possesses a 70 inch reach.  He is physically extremely strong and when he’s training with his long time trainer Anne Wolf (who he’s still undefeated with) has stamina for the ages and is able to apply his pressure/volume punching style making opponents uncomfortable with the pace that he sets.  However, he’s shown to be vulnerable during the first 2-3 rounds of the fight since he usually gets hurt or wobbled.  However, if Kirkland is still standing there after round 4, chances are he’s going to win. The best way to defeat Kirkland is to catch him cold and spark him out early before he even starts to get going just like Saul Alvarez did back in 2015.  If you don’t spark him out fast and let him get into his groove he becomes a very difficult fighter to deal with. 

It is extremely difficult for me to pick a winner in this fight, but given the fact that Kirkland will be training with Anne Wolf I have to give him the edge since stylistically he’s a bad match up for Cotto in my opinion.  For me, the outcome of this fight is all depended on how ready Kirkland comes into the fight.  Regardless however, one thing is guaranteed when it comes to this match up, and that’s action!

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Lukie Ketelle

Lukie Ketelle