By Jake Donovan
Former three-division champ Miguel Cotto seeks his first win in nearly two years as he takes on Delvin Rodriguez in his ring return Saturday night on HBO. The scheduled 12-round super welterweight affair takes place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
Top Rank had to continue to open up different sections of the venue, which speaks volumes of Cotto’s dedicated fan base. The bout is his first in 10 months, sitting out most of 2013 after losing back-to-back decisions to Austin Trout and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Rodriguez has won two straight after his own points loss to Trout in June 2012.
Here is how the Boxingscene.com staff believes the action will go down Saturday night in Magic City.
PREDICTIONS – MIGUEL COTTO vs. DELVIN RODRIGUEZ
“Cotto by decision.”
- Damien Acevedo (Cotto UD)
“Delvin Rodriguez has the size and reach to present problems for Miguel Cotto who is definitely past his prime. I do however think that Cotto will be rejuvenated under the guidance of Freddie Roach. I think we will see the return of Cotto's left hook to the body and that punch will stop Rodriguez in 11.”
- Ryan Burton (Cotto TKO11)
“I expect a spirited fight early, but reaching a point where Rodriguez will realize he can’t win. From there it will be a matter of whether he goes out on his shield or mails it in. If Cotto can preserve his strength for later in the fight, I like him to break down Rodriguez and stop him on body shots or even force him to retire on his stool.”
- Jake Donovan (Cotto TKO10)
“Miguel's days as a legitimate title threat against a legitimate champion are probably behind him, but a good night against Rodriguez shouldn't be too much to ask in what ought to be a decent fight to watch.”
- Lyle Fitzsimmons (Cotto UD)
“The main focus of new trainer Freddie Roach has been to get Cotto to go back to looking for the offense and attack in an aggressive manner the way he once did. That will play well against Rodriguez who, while gutsy and game, is there to be hit and often. It will be exciting early on as Rodriguez wants to prove his showing last time he was on a major network (against Austin Trout) wasn't the norm but in the end Cotto wears him down vintage Cotto style.”
- Ernest Gabion (Cotto TKO8)
“I think we'll see Miguel Cotto stay on the outside and keep Delvin Rodriguez at bay with his boxing skills. In the event of a close decision, it seems like the house fighter has been getting even more love than usual from the judges, so I would favor Cotto to get the nod there as well.”
- Ryan Maquinana (Cotto UD)
“Cotto still has enough in the tank to beat the fringe contenders en route to one more title shot. If Rodriquez were to be KO'ed, it would likely be a late stoppage, and I do not think Cotto has enough left in the tank for a late round stoppage.”
- Richard Nadjowski (Cotto UD)
“Cotto gave Mayweather as good a fight as anyone has found in years and his fight with Trout, while a clear loss, was competitive. Rodriguez has always been a guy who played on the fringe of contention but he's never shown capable of getting over the hump. Cotto is too schooled, too experienced, still to fall to the fringe. Cotto doesn't have much left, but he's got enough to win here.”
- Cliff Rold (Cotto UD)
“This fight will get Cotto back in the win column (as it is designed to do) but it won't blow us away. Delvin's height and reach advantage will make it difficult for Cotto get a get a real rhythm going early in this fight. He'll pay a small price to get inside on Delvin by getting hit with a jab but eventually he'll break through completely. They'll be some good exchanges but Cotto's body attack and left hooks will overwhelm a game Rodriguez as Cotto wins on the cards.”
- Luis Sandoval (Cotto UD)
“Both guys are fun to watch, and their styles mix quite well. Cotto is a prime operator though, a much better and smoother version of Rodriguez. He is on his way down but he isn't shot or anything like someone thinks he is. He was put in against highly uncomfortable opponents in Trout and Mayweather - yet gave them some fits. Against Rodriguez, a sturdy but limited fighter he will have enough of free space and time to execute his game plan. There will be some heated eschanges, and Delvin can be put down a couple of times. At the end I foresee scores like 116-111 or 117-110 - for Cotto. A late stoppage is also possible.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Cotto UD)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox