Miguel Cotto will defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) World Middleweight title against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Nov. 21. This matchup is sure to impress boxing fans and renew the classic Mexico-Puerto Rico boxing rivalry, which dates back to 1981 when Wilfedo Gomez of Puerto Rico took on Salvador Sanchez of Mexico. Gomez was favored to win but Sanchez was awarded the victory after a controversial technical knockout (TKO).
Miguel Cotto is a future Hall of Famer and almost had his career come to a complete halt when he suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in 2012 against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Austin Trout. Media outlets and fans talked of retirement for the boxer who seemed to have reached his peak of domination in the boxing world. Yet, when asked about retirement, Cotto said, “Three more fights, that’s all, and then Miguel Cotto will hang up his gloves and enjoy life with the family.” Cotto has since changed his mind.
Cotto parted ways with his now former trainer, Pedro Diaz, in 2013 and hired the legendary Freddie Roach as his new trainer. Roach believed that Cotto still had a lot of fight left in him and trained him to box more aggressively like he did when he was younger, with more left hooks and body shots to the opponent — and it sure paid off.
In October 2013, Cotto defeated Dominican boxer Devlin Rodriguez to get back into the win category. He then beat Argentinian champion Sergio Martinez in June 2014 to become the WBC, Lineal and The Ring Middleweight Champion.
This feat also led Cotto to become the first Puerto Rican boxer to win world titles in four different weight classes. Cotto’s most recent fight was last June when he defended his championships against former Middleweight Champion Daniel Geale.
Cotto won via TKO in the fourth round after knocking Geale down twice.
His third win in a row brought him to a record of 40-4 with 33 knockouts and set up the upcoming fight against Alvarez.
On the other side of the ring is Saul Alvarez better known as “Canelo.” The 25-year-old from Jalisco, a state in Western Mexico, has emerged over the last few years as arguably one of boxing’s best. He has won his last three fights and goes into this upcoming match with a record of 45-1-1 with 32 knockouts.
His only loss was against Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Sept.14, 2013. Even though Canelo put up a strong fight for 12 rounds, against arguably the best fighter in boxing at the time (Mayweather has since retired) Mayweather won by judge’s decision.
Canelo also lost his WBC and The Ring Light Middleweight Championship titles after the Mayweather fight, but with three wins in a row under his belt, he looks to come back stronger than ever and regain his status as a champion against Cotto.
This fight was originally supposed to be agreed upon in January, but negotiations fell apart when Cotto’s camp didn’t respond and accept the proposal Canelo’s camp offered. Both camps finalized a deal in August, which made the fight official.
So who has the edge in this matchup? It’s definitely going to be close. Canelo is a younger and slightly taller fighter whose length and endurance can give Cotto trouble. His punches are also more devastating due to his size and as he continues to mold into his prime, he can only get better.
Cotto on the other hand, is more experienced and may have a better strategy under his new trainer. It’s likely Cotto will try and bait Canelo into using most of his energy in the early rounds and when he sees some fatigue, he’ll try and hit Canelo with quick combo moves.
In the end, Canelo will prevail with an 11th-round KO on Cotto and once again become champion. There is a lot riding on this fight, perhaps more for Cotto than Canelo. A Cotto loss could mean retirement. After all, this will be his fourth fight after stating he would only fight three. The outcome of this fight will hold a defining moment for both boxers’ careers.