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Cotto vs. Canelo: The next chapter of an historic rivalry

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By Nicholas Phillipowsy

In just a few days, we will perhaps be witnessing the biggest fight that can be made in a post Mayweather/Pacquiao era of boxing. Aside from the record breaking Mayweather/Pacquiao super fight, this bout will prove to be second to none. Even though it will be remembered in history as the second biggest fight of 2015, many would argue it as the most significant fight that can be made to determine the future landscape of boxing.

 

On Saturday, November 21, 2015, fans of boxing will be treated to a war between arguably the greatest international rivalry in the sport. Puerto Rico and Mexico have a long history of producing some of boxing’s most legendary nights. From Wilfredo Gomez vs. Salvador Sanchez to Felix Trinidad vs. Oscar de la Hoya, the rivalry has continuously produced epic showdowns. This Saturday night, we will witness yet another chapter to the historic rivalry. On display will be two warriors; the seasoned Puerto Rican veteran, Miguel Angel Cotto (40-4-33) against the young Mexican superstar Saul Canelo Alvarez (45-1-32.) Both fighters are coming into this match hungry to prove themselves.


For the 35-year-old Miguel Cotto, he will be determined to prove that father time is not yet a factor at this stage of his career. Many people thought that Cotto’s historic career was over after suffering back to back defeats to pound for pound king at the time, Floyd Mayweather, and Austin Trout in 2012. While Cotto didn’t necessarily look bad in either fight, many people thought he no longer had the hunger to be the best anymore.  After almost a year, Cotto made a comeback to the sport, but with a new weapon in his arsenal. In 2013, Cotto teamed up with the seven time trainer of the year, Freddie Roach.  The pair immediately demonstrated to the world that Miguel Cotto was once again a force to be reckoned with.  In his first fight back, Cotto fought an overmatched Delvin Rodriguez. From the start it was clear that Cotto seemed revived and reenergized, the hunger that many believe he had lost seemed to have returned. We saw flashes of the old Miguel Cotto that terrorized opponents at the 140-147 lb. weight classes with vicious left hooks to the body. Cotto made quick work of Delvin Rodriguez and made an immediate statement to the middleweight division. Cotto quickly shifted his sights to the then Middleweight Champion, Sergio Martinez.  Cotto easily dominated Sergio Martinez to become the first Puerto Rican fighter in history to capture titles in four different weight classes, an achievement that he is very proud of. Many experts were shocked at how easily Cotto handled Martinez, however the victory didn’t come without its critics. People close to the sport were still not fully convinced of this resurgent Miguel Cotto, primarily due to the opposition he had beaten. Rodriguez was hardly a test for a fighter of Cotto’s caliber, and many feel Martinez’s shot knees played a major part in the outcome of the fight. His most recent fight under Freddie Roach similarly was against a lackluster and drained opponent in Daniel Geale, Cotto had no problem in dispatching the overmatched Geale. Under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, Miguel Cotto has a record of (3-0-3Kos.) In many ways, the fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez will be the pair’s first real test. 

 

 

Saul Canelo Alvarez is at a quite different phase of his career. Despite having 47 professional fights, Canelo is just 25 years of age. Unlike Miguel Cotto, who is in perhaps the twilight of his career, Canelo is now entering the prime years of his career. Canelo is seeking to make his mark on boxing history and has shown the world that he is very hungry to achieve greatness. Canelo, who was perhaps to “green” in his decision loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2013, has not tasted defeat since.  Canelo has since shown visible improvements in each one of his outings following his lone defeat. He has fought and beaten top quality opponents and has continued to prove himself as more than just hype. The Mexican superstar has beaten the likes of Alfredo Angulo, Erislandy Lara, and James Kirkland over the last 2 years.  Like Cotto, Canelo is coming into this fight after a devastating knockout victory. In May, Canelo faced the always aggressive, hard punching James Kirkland at the Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Many people viewed this fight as a test for Canelo’s chin and determination, within just three rounds, Canelo passed with flying colors. From the start of the first round, Kirkland swarmed Canelo with an onslaught of hard punches, Canelo remained patient and composed. As the round went on, Canelo started to land his shots at will, producing a knockdown in the first round. For the remainder of the fight, it was all Canelo, he picked Kirkland apart until landing a crushing right cross in the third round to knock Kirkland out cold. Canelo has shown the ability to easily pick apart fighters that come to him, however he still has some difficulty with fighters that like to use movement like Floyd Mayweather and Erislandy Lara. The matchup against Cotto should be a very interesting fight, it should give us an accurate idea of exactly how good Canelo is currently, and could become.

 

As fight week progresses, the anticipation keeps building. With each passing day, new revelations arise. We now know that Miguel Cotto, was stripped of his WBC Middleweight title for a failure to comply in regards to sanctioning fees. The title now can only be won by Canelo Alvarez. As we draw nearer, I can’t help to speculate the outcome of the fight. There are so many different variables going into this fight, which makes it all the more intriguing. On paper, it is a very evenly matched fight that has all of the makings to be yet another classic addition to the Puerto Rican/Mexican rivalry. Will the experienced, rejuvenated warrior be the victor? Or will the hungry young lion make him just another stepping stone towards greatness? Saturday night, all of our questions will be answered in the next chapter of this historic rivalry.



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