Check out our Cotto vs Canelo preview.
This is the first time in many years that title of biggest draw in boxing is up for grabs. In fact, if Floyd Mayweather stays retired, you’d have to go back to before Oscar De La Hoya when it was questionable who the biggest star in boxing was.
Canelo Alvarez is our first contender here, especially if he beats Miguel Cotto. But standing on the other side of the ring from him tonight will be someone who has been in huge fights himself.
Duan and GG have their thoughts on the fight below.
Duan: This is a big legacy fight for Cotto and a huge potential banana-skin for Canelo. The Mexican has dealt with his big stage setback better than nearly anyone in the sport. The non-performance against Mayweather has been virtually forgotten because of how he used the experience to mold himself into a better fighter. Last time out against Kirkland, he did everything right from the moment he first appeared on screen to when the camera cut. He looked for the first time like the superstar boxer Golden Boy want him to be.
The Mayweather loss we can forgive and forget. It was something that came to him too soon. A slip up against Cotto will be viewed less sympathetically. This is one he’s supposed to win. He’s the guy whose career is on the upswing. He’s the one with age on his side. He’s the fighter still with something to prove. Should Canelo be upset tonight, any notion of him being the man to carry the sport forward goes up in flames.
This isn’t an assignment without risk either. Miguel is still a great fighter. Arguably better now under Freddie Roach than he has been in a long time. He shredded his last three opponents. I’m sure many will argue they were there to be shredded. But it’s the way he went about the job that was impressive. There’s a focus, a sharpness, a killer instinct that was missing during his directionless years. A win against a rising star like Alvarez at this stage in his career would be massive for him. He doesn’t need it for a place in the hall of fame (that part is already in concrete) but oh my, would it add a whole other chapter to his story.
I do think this is a bout Alvarez wins. Not because he has to, but because he just has too much not to – too much size, too much strength, too much punching power. And granted, Cotto has been the one fighting heavier recently, but he has also come undone before when he’s found himself out-muscled. None of his past opponents have possessed anything like the smash and grab brute strength of the red haired kid from Guadalajara. That strength will weigh heavy on him in the later rounds. From round 8 onward, I’m expecting one-way traffic with Canelo gradually wearing him down.
Will it make it to the cards? I don’t know. The last person to stop Cotto was peak Pacquaio. That was Miguel at 45 percent and it still went down to round 12. He’s not an easy guy to get rid of, then again, size can be a big difference-maker. I say his stubbornness keeps him in there, but only just.
GG: There are some nice angles here that I don’t think HBO or any of the promotion has hit hard enough. And I’m not sure why.
If we agree that Mayweather is either done, or maybe has only one or two fights left and that Pacquiao is on the same wavelength, it seems like HBO whiffed a bit on hyping Canelo here. Save for Triple G, this is the toughest fight for Canelo and even with Triple G involved, this is the best chance for Canelo to do big business. We saw a lack of interest in Golovkin’s first foray into PPV. The hype for this fight isn’t even half of the Canelo’s fight with Mayweather. And that’s a pity.
Because let’s say Canelo does win. What fight is next on the PPV radar? Unless Manny Pacquiao wants to come up in weight and do the honors, this is Canelo’s best chance to prove his worth as a draw and boxing’s next star. It seems like all parties (Golden Boy, Roc Nation, and HBO) missed the boat here. HBO gave us the most tired 24/7 we’ve seen in quite awhile.
Miguel Cotto is almost too respectable and likable as a fighter and it’s going to be hard to watch if what Duan is saying proves true. But it’s hard to see another outcome, unless Canelo falls victim to the left hook. Cotto is going to hang in there and bang as much as Canelo will want to, but the worry for me is that the punches are going to wear on him far worse than his shots will wear on Canelo.
My heart says Miguel Cotto has one fantastic performance left in him. But my head says that this is a young-ish man’s game and that Canelo is ready to step to the next level.