Wars to Be Made in 2012—Part 3

By David Matthew on January 9, 2012
Wars to Be Made in 2012—Part 3
The Pride of Puerto Rico is arguably coming off his most brilliant performance to date

If this fight takes place, it has Fight of the Year DNA written all over it and would be an explosive chapter in the storied rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico…

(This is the third of a five-part series)

Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) v. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (39-0, 29 KOs)

While watching Canelo Alvarez pound out Ryan Rhodes this past summer, I become wildly intrigued with the prospect of Canelo matching up against Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto. During that particular bout, Canelo was showcasing digging left hooks to the body that gave me nostalgic flashes of Cotto’s violent body work that crumbled the likes of Carlos Quintana and Yuri Foreman. Aside from that, Canelo was getting hit just enough to keep it interesting as, in-between his spirited thundering combination punching, there were moments of leaky defense where Canelo seemed much too easy to hit. This also reminded me of Cotto, who displays just enough vulnerability in-between his boxing mastery that you always get the sense that his fights can turn at any second.

Both Canelo and Cotto pivot between disciplined pugilist and passionate brawler at various stages of a fight, depending on what their opponent brings out of them. In Canelo’s recent crowd-pleasing destruction of Kermit Cintron, he was basically begging Cintron to get into a firefight with him, and willingly ate some pretty big shots in order to land some of his own—which proved to be the harder, more devastating punches. Again, golden memories of Cotto surfaced as I thought of him wading into Ricardo Torres and Zab Judah, getting hit with big shots, but in turn landing the bigger shots, ultimately overwhelming his opponents with his superior will and punching power.

For a number of reasons—not the least being absorbing a vicious beat down from Antonio Margarito who in all likelihood loaded his gloves into deadly weapons—Cotto has changed styles and now relies more on his vastly improved technical abilities than his once devastating punching power in lighter weight divisions. Canelo—a ‘90s baby who is as experienced a fighter at 21 years of age as you’re likely to find— clearly fights as if he knows his punches will do the most damage. He will fight that way until someone proves him otherwise, and rightfully so. After Canelo’s recent convincing destruction of Cintron (arguably his highest profile win yet), his confidence is surging. For Cotto, he is arguably coming off his most brilliant performance to date in his one-sided clinic of Margarito in their epic rematch. Cotto would have a lot of confidence knowing that his newfound superior footwork, enhanced stamina and proficiency as a boxer who can dominate a fight on his feet enabled him to exploit Margarito’s technical deficiencies. Being that the always game, but limited, Alfonso Gomez was able to outbox Canelo before being stopped (controversially)—Cotto would have to like his chances at outpointing Canelo. That said, I don’t get the sense that this fight would be solely a display of pure boxing. Canelo has a warrior mentality and his instinctual responses to being hit are to abandon craft and go to war. Alike, even though it was clear that Cotto’s strategy was to outbox Margarito on his feet, he couldn’t help but rip Margarito in those close-combat exchanges and every fight brings out the warrior in Cotto, regardless of his plans to box and steer clear of excessive fire flurries.

Both Canelo and Cotto match up perfectly from a size perspective, as both have recently hovered around the light middleweight limit as relatively new entrants to the division.  Both Cotto and Canelo also hold titles light middle and it would go quite a way to determine some clarity in a division that is somewhat wide open at the moment. Given that Canelo’s camp is not just barking at Mayweather, but genuinely wanting that fight (now that Pacquiao-Mayweather once again seems hopeless)—it seems likely that they would hunt for another huge fight should Mayweather choose another opponent in May. Cotto would be the big name opponent that could catapult Canelo’s career to unfathomable heights. For Cotto, a win against Canelo would further verify his resurgence as a top fighter in the sport, and might set up his own showdown with Mayweather or a rematch with Pacquiao. If this fight takes place, it has Fight of the Year DNA written all over it and would be an explosive chapter in the storied rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

The Rematch: Miguel Cotto V Antonio Margarito II

HBO Boxing: Saul Alvarez vs. Matthew Hatton Highlights (HBO)

Miguel Cotto - 2004 Ringside Feature

Ring Life: Saul Alvarez (HBO)

HBO Boxing: Miguel Cotto - Greatest Hits

Saul Alvarez vs Alfonso Gomez TKO!

Miguel Cotto vs. Zab Judah (Highlights)

Alvarez vs Cintron Highlights

Boxing - Miguel Cotto Vs Carlos Quintana

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  1. raxman 02:32pm, 01/11/2012

    Fellas - how do you all rate Mercante jnr as a ref? i know he got criticised for whitaker vs Hurtado - but he lets them fight thats his style and he made an error in that fight - but i was reminded by that cotto best of video how good he was with Yuri Foreman - ignoring the corners towel and only stopping when it had to be stopped - and he treated Foreman with a great level of respect - that which befits a champion trying to fight hurt.

  2. raxman 02:10pm, 01/11/2012

    David M - nothing puts pressure on you like counter right hand-left hooks on the chin. floyd would counter so much that cotto would start going backward just so not to be coming fwd. and once that happened floyd would go on the offensive because cotto aint no off the back foot boxer

  3. "Old Yank" Schneider 12:30pm, 01/11/2012

    Cheekay—Margarito might or might not have been facing trouble with Cotto in their second bout. My question is, so what? Froch was never in trouble against Ward and the same question is posed: So what? Is the measure of what Cotto has left only answerable in his ability to hurt an opponent? With due respect, in my humble view Cotto boxed beautifully against Margarito and perhaps never had Margarito in a lick of trouble. But so what? If Cotto can control Alvarez the same way, Alvarez will never be in trouble and Cotto’s hand gets raised at the end of the bout.

  4. Cheekay Brandon 10:52am, 01/11/2012

    Yeah, Cotto is the sore spot in an otherwise spotless working relationship between me and David Matthew (lol):

    I was in that minority not very impressed with the Margarito performance and felt that Margarito was landing far more than he was credited for. He was definitely outboxed by Cotto (as he was in rounds 1-5 in the first fight) but never hurt, nor in danger.  I didn’t see that victory as the “statement/return” victory its being credited as being.

    I think Alvarez would put a serious hurting on Cotto, as would JCC (Cotto-JCC would be closer than Alvarez-Cotto).  Nonetheless, I’m VERY happy to be wrong and certainly believe that Alvarez an Cotto fight would be HIGHLY intriguing.

  5. "Old Yank" Schneider 09:56am, 01/11/2012

    David—Cotto fought beautifully against Margarito (BOTH TIMES—once with a likely disadvantage of having his gas tank punctured by bricks). Alvarez will only get better in 2012 and beyond. In my view of Cotto is going to have a shot at beating the rising star, it’s now or never. This is the same argument I have for Martinez facing Pirog in 2012—if he does not get him now, Pirog will only get better—another now or never bout.

  6. the thresher 06:28am, 01/11/2012

    Cotto ran from Manny like he was being chased by a pack of Central Park muggers. The ref was just looking for an opportunity to stop the slaughter.

    Cotto would make a good cornerback the way he moves backwards.

  7. the thresher 06:26am, 01/11/2012

    Chavez is way too big for Cotto.

  8. raxman 10:54pm, 01/10/2012

    I’m well and truly on the record stating that cotto has the best resume in boxing - having said that -  cotto’s power was left behind with his questionable chin at junior welter - his chin improved at 147 (if ever there was an example of weight drain affecting chin it was here) but although he could still bang he didn’t retain the devastating power that cleaned the clock of so many at 140. at 154 Cotto has mediocre power. if he started there we certainly would never have considered him a power puncher - at 5’7 and a reach to match he’s a small junior middleweight . i fear for cotto vs alvarez. i think this fight sees cotto get old overnight- this could end up being the same as oscar vs JCC senior. cotto would be slaughtered by a younger and naturally bigger man.
    as for floyd v cotto - i just don’t see floyd fighting someone manny easily beat. he likes it the other way around. and as ted says, its a slaughter waiting to happen

  9. David Matthew 06:54pm, 01/10/2012

    I think Cotto would absolutely clinic Chavez.  But Chavez packs enough of a punch to make it interesting.

  10. David Matthew 06:54pm, 01/10/2012

    I don’t buy into the whole “Cotto was withering away and inches away from gassing out and getting stopped by Margs” mythology that has been offered by some…To me Cotto was in no danger.  If anyone was in danger of getting further beaten down it was Margarito.  Also, Margarito is a supreme pressure fighter (even now).  Although Mayweather as of late has been more come-forward than usual, he still is a reactive counter-puncher by nature.  Even while he was dominating Shane and Marquez, he was still waiting for them to initiate.  You have to be a great pressure fighter (like Pacquiao) to have Cotto going backwards for the majority of the fight.

  11. the thresher 06:51pm, 01/10/2012

    I’d also like to see Cotto get it on with Chavez

    Cotto’s vulnerability makes him more exciting now.

  12. the thresher 06:50pm, 01/10/2012

    For 7 million, I’d gladly go out like that.

    Cotto was tiring against Margo at the end. Against PBF, he will be going backwards at full stride.

  13. David Matthew 06:46pm, 01/10/2012

    You’re right.  Floyd absolutely slaughtered Gatti.  But Gatti (Peace & Blessings upon him) was smaller than Cotto - and certainly wasn’t as talented or accomplished as Cotto is.  Cotto ain’t going out like that.

  14. the thresher 06:44pm, 01/10/2012


  15. David Matthew 06:26pm, 01/10/2012

    Floyd slaughtering Cotto?  I don’t see it happening…I would certainly pick Floyd to win - but not slaughter him.  Floyd doesn’t really slaughter guys as much as he outclasses them with technique.  Cotto is too big for Floyd to bully and knock out like he did with Hatton.  Floyd wasn’t able to slaughter Shane - who is much easier to hit at this stage of his career than Cotto is.  I see Cotto being competitive with *anybody* at 147-152 pounds.

  16. the thresher 03:09pm, 01/10/2012

    David Matthew, Floyd would slaughter Cotto like a Kosher butcher does a chicken based on their styles.

  17. The Tache 02:52pm, 01/10/2012

    I would love to see this fight, the ageing warrior against a young lion, classic.

  18. Cheekay Brandon 01:58pm, 01/10/2012

    MALA SANGRE!!!!!

  19. mikecasey 01:58pm, 01/10/2012

    I tend to agree, Irish. If Miguel can maintain his current form, he can win this one.

  20. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 11:33am, 01/10/2012

    This thought provoking article makes an excellent case that this could be a mega fight that won’t disappoint. Unlike Mayweather sucker punching Ortiz and everyone who paid to see that “fight” and getting paid $20,000,000 to do it! Cotto has more than enough ability and toughness to overcome a younger, stronger opponent like Alvarez.

  21. David Matthew 10:17am, 01/10/2012

    If Cotto is too small to fight Canelo - do you think Floyd is as well?  Cotto and Floyd are pretty similar in terms of size..Cotto being a bit more compact and Floyd being a bit longer.  Canelo is definitely thick-boned, but Cotto has fought a number of bigger guys - from Clottey, to Margarito, to Mosley.  I definitely think Canelo is now a legitimate middleweight size-wise - but that is the division Cotto has elected to campaign in.  It would be interesting to see them side by side to make a real comparison.

  22. AKT 08:55am, 01/10/2012

    Canelo vs. Pacquiao in June (if he doesn’t take the fight with Mayweather). Prove himself against a young warrior.

  23. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 08:13am, 01/10/2012

    Don from Prov-“Cotto still appeared, to me, to be tiring at the end”. It appeared that way to me as well . Margarito’s body work started to pay off in the ninth and if he was allowed one more round he might have started to turn the table to the point that it would have been harder to call the fight because of his damaged eye on humanitarian grounds. The general concensus seemed to be that he got what he deserved because he damaged Cotto in the earlier fight with plastered wraps. Margarito is a terrible sinner but he’s also physically stronger than Cotto and Canelo just might be as well.

  24. mikecasey 07:21am, 01/10/2012

    Potentially an excellent battle!

  25. Don from Prov 06:37am, 01/10/2012

    Now, this matchup I like—

    And it could turn into a war.
    Though I would not buy completely into the new Cotto with enhanced endurance idea: Margarito didn’t have enough left to effectively pressure Miguel and Cotto still appeared, to me, to be tiring at the end.  If Canelo/Cotto were to be made and the late rounds came around—those could make for interesting moments, IMO.

  26. The Thresher 06:08am, 01/10/2012

    Cotto vs. Manny is a good one as well. But Cotto vs. Mayweather is a slaughter waiting to happen.

  27. The Thresher 06:07am, 01/10/2012

    I think Canelo-Cotto makes good money sense and I think it makes a win for Canelo. Cotto is too small for this thick-boned guy who is getting better each time out.

  28. Joe 04:41am, 01/10/2012

    Miguel deserves a soft touch early this year, then he might “think” about a fight with Saul.  I think the young man might give him a real good whuppin’ - just saying.  I want El Canelo vs. Money on Cinco de Mayo!!

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