Saturday, November 21, 2015

(Sports) Boxing:Prediction – Cotto v Canelo

In an era where “low risk/ high reward” has become the prevailing mantra among fighters at the highest level of the sport, this Saturday evening presents us with a clash where the philosophy of “low risk/ high reward” is put aside for at least an evening as Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez go toe to toe in a bout that is truly a 50/50 match up.

Tonight’s fight between the Mexican and Puerto Rican natives promises to be a classic slugfest full of twists and turns as both are come forward fighters and can take punishment.

However, it’s hard to see a scenario where the Puerto Rican legend and future hall of famer Cotto ends the bout with his hands raised. While Cotto is more experienced ( he’s 10 years older than Canelo) and is the better boxer at least in terms of skill and ring IQ, it’s hard to see the stubborn 35 year old either knocking out or out boxing the younger, stronger and bigger fighter in Canelo.

I can see Cotto out boxing Canelo for at least the first three to four rounds owing his superior footwork but I also see Canelo coming on strong in the later rounds and ending the fight as Canelo will almost certainly push the pace of the fight which means Cotto may tire in the face of relentless pressure.

While Cotto’s trainer Freddie Roach has solid grounds to accuse Canelo of laziness and claim that this will allow Cotto to box clever all night due to Canelo’s notably poor ring cutting skills, Cotto will slow down in the third and final quarter of the fight as while chasing and missing an opponent can prove to be an exhausting enterprise, being hunted all night by an opponent who’s younger, bigger, hits harder, and can eat your best shot is just as tiring as it is discouraging.

Another advantage Canelo has is that he actually has a longer reach than Cotto which means he won’t have to work as hard to close the distance given he can throw punches from a longer range and still land punches that can hurt Cotto.

There are plenty of variables that could prove my prediction wrong as Cotto is the better boxer with one of the best trainers in the world in Freddie Roach in corner and both have enough experience to come up with a winning strategy to exploit Canelo’s weaknesses (ring cutting, low work rate) and nullify his strengths (power, youth) to great effect.

However, while Cotto will almost definitely expose weaknesses in Canelo’s game, I don’t see the him doing it for twelve without taking lot of punishment which I fear will force the referee to stop the fight if Canelo hasn’t already.    

In sum, whatever happens, this Saturday evening is going to  be a great night of boxing as two of the best in the sport of boxing go toe to toe but we believe  the power and youth of Canelo will overcome the skill and experience of Cotto.        

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