(LAS VEGAS) Leave it to Freddie Roach to get right to the point. “Canelo trained in my gym for three fights… He’s not the most dedicated fighter.” Roach went on to explain recently in Los Angeles at his famed Wild Card Gym, that Canelo Alvarez– though dangerous, has a problem with conditioning, and therefore, should break down opposite WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto.
“I’m not sure how durable he is. I think he can be broke down. I think he fatigues in the middle rounds quite often in most of his fights. He’s very good early and I think in the later rounds he fades a little bit,” bottom-lined Roach. “I think by the 7th or 8th round he should be ready to go.”
Its hard to go against the logic and wisdom of this era’s Eddie Futch when Canelo is put under a microscope. The young Mexican superstar was put in a cocoon against Floyd Mayweather in September 2013 before being spun like cotton, so Cotto (Roach figures), should be able to turn the burgeoning icon into something like a cheap commemorative t-shirt for the event. Cotto faired much better against Mayweather just a year prior in May 2012, turning Floyd’s face into a swollen bloody mess while still losing a clear UD to a “Pretty Boy Floyd” version of “Money”.
Roach saw that against Mayweather, Canelo’s footwork is a little stiff and that he grew frustrated when he couldn’t set and time traps. It was something Austin Trout used to great effect a year prior in an April 2013 losing effort against Canelo. But this was after demonstrating much of the same technique he used to spray paint Miguel Cotto himself via UD in December 2012 (more on that in a moment). Then we point to another common opponent they’ve shared, the great Shane Mosley, it reveals a durability issue which may prove very relevant when determining the outcome of this fight.
BREAKDOWN AND ANALYSIS
When looking at this fight, we’re trying to pick up clues based on who they’ve both fought and how they’ve handled certain fighters at different weight classes. Canelo fought and beat a fairly long in the tooth Mosley in May 2012. The strategy of Nazim Richardson in that fight was to sap the endurance of Alvarez with movement and volume before unleashing heavy power. But Mosley was fighting Canelo as a super welterweight and was never able to impose himself on Alvarez or avoid having to fight defensively- something he didn’t prefer. In his own November 2007 fight with Cotto, fought at welterweight, Mosley turned a fairly even action fight into one of survival for the younger Cotto. The Puerto Rican legend was forced to fallback against Mosley in the later rounds before getting a narrow points win. From this view, it looked like a Mosley win.
Alvarez did fade down the stretch against Trout, but was facing a more mobile fighter than he’d faced before at 154, and faired much better in a similar bout with Erislandy Lara in July 2014. Cotto, it’s worth noting, unloaded on Trout early in their super welterweight bout and was not able to hurt him. It inspired Trout to turn up the intensity and shutout a badly faded Cotto down the stretch. Again, that fight took place in December 2012, a few months before Canelo would face Trout himself. If we’re to look at things based on what they’ve done over the past three years since, it would seem Cotto has the edge because of greater name recognition. Then again, looks can be deceiving and leave us prisoners of the moment.
*** The Main Event ***
Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33KO) vs. Saul Canelo Alvarez (45-1-1, 32KO)
12-round fight for Cotto’s WBC and RING Middleweight World Championships
Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Mandalay Bay Events in Las Vegas
Promoted by ROC Nation Sports, Golden Boy Promotions, Miguel Cotto Promotions and Canelo Promotions
Sponsored by Corona Extra
Cotto was subdued in a brutal welterweight mauling at the “hands” of Antonio Margarito in July 2007. He was in a real saga with Joshua Clottey not long after that, and of course, lost an incredible firefight with Manny Pacquiao in a savage November 2009 encounter. That fight, fought at 145, made him leave the welterweight division entirely, and he’s blossomed every since at super welterweight. In three fights under Roach, Cotto has looked like his explosive super lightweight edition from years ago. He has walked through Delvin Rodriguez, Sergio Martinez (to capture the WBC middleweight belt in a 157 lb catchweight bout) and most recently, Daniel Geale in June 2015. He believes he’ll impose his will on Canelo while out-working and overwhelming the young star.
Canelo has never been beaten up as a professional (as Cotto has), but he has been profoundly schooled. He walked into Mayweather’s restaurant, decided to be a waiter – and instead, got served and tipped. Having learned from the Mayweather fight, he kept pace with the Usain Bolt-like Lara to get a points win. That showing came after emptying everything in his toolbox while annihilating Alfredo Angulo. In his scary May 2015 evisceration of James Kirkland, Canelo showcased an advanced ring generalship and control of distance. He immediately dialed up Kirkland’s defensive deficiencies and lit him up like a Rockefeller Center holiday tree.
Neither man has ever appeared more confident or better prepared for a super-fight. For Cotto, he’s been here before, while Canelo will be looking for a different result and frame of mind than the one he carried into the ring with for Mayweather.
Both men are very dangerous counter-punchers with patient and methodical attacks. They are very sharp combination punchers and punctuate exchanges with nasty left hooks. Neither man has especially fast feet and are predominately mid-range punchers. Both have excellent jabs. Both are solid ring generals with huge fan appeal and true warriors. They do not want a fight to go the distance and have predator mindsets. Given their styles and cold-blooded nature, this should be a tactical fight that turns into one of trench warfare. It should be a classic and one very much determined by intangibles.
WHO WILL WIN
Remember that point we were trying to make a little earlier about a durability issue? Its almost ironic that Freddie Roach feels Canelo has issues with endurance and conditioning, because that is exactly what Cotto has displayed in all of his defeats and a few of his victories. There are those who will tell you that he was a weight drained fighter mauled by Pacquiao in Nov. 2009, and a sluggish, uninspired one for Mayweather in May 2012. He wasn’t– he just wasn’t as talented and is an A- fighter. The fighter who lost to Austin Trout after the Mayweather defeat didn’t have the power to bother Trout, something which has been masked by victories over lessor opposition (e.g. Delvin Rodriguez, a shot Sergio Martinez and a drained Daniel Geale) in what many believe is some sort of renaissance.
It is not.
Cotto was a great super lightweight, a very good welterweight and is a solid super welterweight, but he is no middleweight at all. Canelo would be much more acclimated to the middleweight division under true terms, which is why he should be dominant in this fight. As mentioned, both men have had excellent camps, but this fight will come down to age and attrition, two things that do not favor Cotto (who’s been battered in sparring by the likes of Glen Tapia). The game-plan of Roach will call for high volume intensity, something which will send Cotto directly into the wheelhouse of Alvarez. Not especially slippery or in any way a defensive maestro, Cotto will match Canelo shot for shot before being gradually gunned down. He’s not a classic boxer or a fighter who employs subtlety to win rounds. Rather, he’ll start removing himself from battle while trying to survive, as the younger and stronger Canelo will find Cotto with more combinations as the bout progresses.
Cotto’s skin is extremely brittle and he’s much more prone to cuts and swelling, something which will add to the peril he’ll face in trying to go the distance. Basically he’s up against a younger version of himself in many ways, only someone who is denser and has longer arms with a fiercer killer instinct. Mexican sensation Saul Canelo Alvarez will bludgeon and stop Miguel Cotto in 10 action packed rounds, while most likely sending the Puerto Rican legend into retirement.
As for Canelo, expect him to head toward what may be a penultimate showdown with Gennady Golovkin (who made it clear he wants to unify the middleweight belts), as they both vie to challenge Floyd Mayweather for ultimate ring supremacy.
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