First Lee Wylie offered his take; then we did a series of pick videos (courtesy of Manny Montreal) with trainers, fans, contenders, former champions and promoters all chipping in. Now, with the main event just hours away, the staff of The Fight City offer opinions on what we all hope will be The Fight of the Year: Miguel Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez for the lineal middleweight championship of the world. Perhaps the most notable characteristic of this match is how, for many, it’s a very tough fight to call and some even decline to make a pick. Not the case here though, so before you make your wager, consider what the erudite minds at your favorite independent boxing website have to say. Check it out:
Michael Carbert: I hope I’m wrong, but I find it difficult to envision this match fulfilling all the hype and anticipation and expect instead a contest largely devoid of drama. Miguel Cotto is not a young 35 and Freddie Roach is not a miracle worker. Wins over a poorly conditioned Daniel Geale and a shot Sergio Martinez aren’t enough to convince me that Cotto has, at this stage of his career, what it takes to mix it up with a younger, stronger and much bigger man (please note the emphasis).
The real story of this fight is one that will likely attract scant attention, namely, the day before weigh-in. While Cotto is barely a legit middleweight, Alvarez is part of the new breed of boxers who work to take full advantage of the 24 hours or more between the weigh-in and the opening bell. Weight is a pre-occupation in all of Canelo’s contests. Before his match with Alfred Angulo he requested, at the eleventh hour, a one pound increase of the weight limit and got it on condition he did not weigh more than 168 at 3 pm the next day; however, by the time he entered the ring he was reportedly 174.
Without a limit on rehydration, why would anyone expect anything different tonight? We are about to witness a contest between a smallish middleweight and a full-fledged light-heavyweight, who happens to also be younger and fresher. Again, I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t foresee much excitement, but instead a competitive fight in the opening rounds quickly turning into a one-sided affair as Canelo walks his man down and methodically batters him. Expect Miura vs Vargas to be the real thriller tonight. Canelo by TKO
Daniel Attias: A genuine 50/50 fight is a rare occurrence in today’s fight game but that’s exactly what we’re getting with Cotto vs Canelo. It seems the majority of pundits are leaning toward a victory for the younger, bigger man in Canelo Alvarez, but not this writer. Miguel Cotto may not have the physical advantages, but his record against top tier opponents speaks for itself and the resurgence of his career under Freddie Roach has been impressive. I believe the game plan will be for Cotto to use his footwork, jab and angles to keep Canelo at bay. On the occasions when Cotto is forced to mix it up his left hook will prove to be the equalizer to Canelo’s superior size and strength. Canelo may find the mark more in the latter stages, but by that point the Puerto Rican should have built a big enough lead to be able to cruise to victory. Cotto by decision.
Patrick Connor: Canelo Alvarez has been around for a number of years now, so it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 25. Even so he has improved greatly already and in facing Floyd Mayweather has already been on a huge stage. That bites a chunk out of Cotto’s experience advantage. And considering Cotto has talked at length about retirement and not being willing to go through hell anymore, one has to favor Canelo, just perhaps not at the 3-to-1 clip bookies are quoting. It shouldn’t take long for the flow of the fight to be revealed, but the combination of where Cotto is in his career and what he’s put his body through will lead Canelo to a later rounds stoppage. Canelo TKO 10
Marcel Dunne: I’m in the minority here, no doubt. Still, I think Cotto takes this. As good as Canelo is – and he’s quite good – he’s always seemed to come up short in my book when he faces top competition. Sure, he beat Lara, but I actually felt Lara deserved the decision. As for Mayweather, yeah Floyd beat both Canelo and Cotto, but Cotto made it a fight. Canelo, weight drained or not, was completely outclassed. So yes, I feel the more mobile Cotto will surprise Canelo right off the bat with superior movement and the kind of speed the Mexican star doesn’t expect. No doubt Canelo will land clean on several occasions, but he won’t be able to carry out the kind of sustained assault he did against Kirkland at the end of their fun battle. Instead, I see Cotto actually stopping Canelo. I know, I’m going out on a limb here, but boxers who get overwhelmed like I think Canelo will, tend to deteriorate psychologically and physically as the fight goes on. Cotto by TKO
Rafael Garcia: I expect a close, hard battle between Cotto and Canelo, one to be decided by their ability to withstand punishment. While I can see Canelo getting tagged and looking vulnerable in the early rounds, the longer the fight goes the more I like his chances. Cotto is an old 35 year old, having taken lots of punishment from Margarito, Pacquiao, Clottey Mosley and even from Mayweather’s brittle hands. I don’t buy into Cotto’s rejuvenation story: if he indeed feels better than ever training under Freddie Roach, I ascribe it to a placebo effect and little more. The Boricua is not an old chassis running on a newly replaced engine: he’s a superficially renovated house with weakened foundations just waiting to be tipped over. Expect the younger and stronger Canelo to score a TKO in the championship rounds of a classic Mexico vs Puerto Rico war. Canelo by late round TKO
Eliott McCormick: Competitive, entertaining early rounds will become one-sided in the second half of the fight, when Canelo’s tremendous size advantage has completely worn Cotto down. In other words, the Puerto Rican will box smartly until his skills and experience can no longer beat back the younger man’s bigger body. Cotto won’t quit; the ref or his corner will end it for him. Canelo TKO 11
Manny Montreal: This is a tough pick for me but what it comes down to is that I just can’t bet against Miguel Cotto. Don’t count him out, people. That proud old champion has at least one big war left in him and while it may be close, I see Cotto pulling it out. Cotto by decision
Robert Portis: Say goodbye to Miguel Cotto. Despite appearances, his career as an elite-level fighter is pretty much finished and a younger, bigger champion is about to write its epitaph. I see an aggressive Canelo bullying the smaller man around the ring and pounding him mercilessly. Freddie Roach throws in the towel after round seven. Bring on Canelo vs Golovkin already! Canelo TKO 8
Lee Wylie: “Later in the fight I expect Cotto won’t be moving so much to offset Canelo’s positioning and create angles of attack, as much as to keep the fresher, stronger and heavier-handed Canelo at bay. Cotto will surrender the initiative in the middle rounds and the fight’s end, courtesy of some relentless combination punching from Canelo, will come a few rounds later.” Canelo by late round TKO.