Advertisement
Advertisement

Rejuvenated Cotto heading toward a 160 A-side kicking

By Lyle Fitzsimmons

I’ve liked Miguel Cotto for a long, long time. He’s a big-time fighter. He’s a good guy and an accommodating interview. And he’s never shied from a challenge – win, lose or draw – when fighting the best of the best from 140 to 154 pounds.

As it turns out, I feel pretty much the same way about Freddie Roach, too. He was a fun TV fighter when I first became a fan. He’s been entertaining and cooperative every time I’ve sought him out for a chat. And his prowess as a trainer goes far beyond anything I could say in support.

So if I were strictly a fan heading into this weekend’s big event at Madison Square Garden, I’d happily throw my enthusiasm behind them as they look to conquer their first big mountain as a team.

But as a journalist, I could scarcely feel more different.

Sergio Martinez is a legitimate middleweight champion who’s met opposition of all stripes – champions, contenders and wannabes – since become a full-time 160-pounder more than four years ago.

He handed Kelly Pavlik his first loss in his native weight class. He iced Paul Williams with a single shot when the lanky slugger was one of the hottest fighters in the world. He pounded on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for nearly every second of 11 rounds, then was hearty enough to endure a final-round rally.

He moves well. He can punch. He’s got quick hands. And he can take a good shot.

In other words, when it comes to belt-holders who’ve faced and beaten the best that the division has to offer – Lajuan Simon and Osumanu Adama need not apply – “Maravilla” really means “The Man.”

And unless he’s stricken with early onset osteoporosis before Saturday’s first bell, Cotto’s in a big jam.

As much as I recall Roach telling me how wonderfully he and his new charge were working together when we last talked a few weeks back, and as impressed as I typically am with Freddie’s prediction acumen – yeah, I thought Oscar De La Hoya would kick the stuffing out of Manny Pacquiao in 2008 – I simply can’t see a way that his fourth-round forecast this time is anything more than wishful thinking.

Lest anyone forget, his guy has won precisely one fight in exactly 30 months. And while he certainly looked impressive in registering that third-round stoppage, neither the level of opposition for it (154-pound Delvin Rodriguez) nor the prior efforts of said opposition heading into it (Rodriguez was just 4-4-1 in nine pre-Cotto fights) should fuel thoughts that a similar outcome is within reason here.

Because it’s just not.

Remember, none other than Floyd Mayweather Jr. took all Cotto had while capturing nine, nine and 10 rounds two years ago; a clear win that was followed seven months later when a foe on the far-lesser level of Austin Trout beat a similarly decisive nine-, nine- and 11-round tattoo onto a slower, less athletic version of Cotto in his 21st and most recent title-level try.

And while Martinez is older than both “Money” and “No Doubt” and probably past the vintage that he’d attained at his middleweight peak, it’s no less true that Cotto is two birthdays beyond his own last championship victory and no more equipped now to handle a guy with faster hands and longer arms who’s not dipping his toe into the 160-pound waters for the first time.

He’ll get announced after a reigning champion and should have significant support from the crowd in his MSG playpen, but by the time Saturday night turns into Sunday morning in midtown, the Puerto Rican may be wishing he’d pulled his A-side/B-side routine on someone a few tiers lower than who he picked.

You can go home again, Miguel.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

This week’s title-fight schedule:

SATURDAY
IBF bantamweight title – Newcastle, United Kingdom

Stuart Hall (champion/No. 19 IWBR) vs. Paul Butler (No. 11 contender/No. 41 IWBR)
Hall (16-2-2, 7 KO): Second title defense; First fight against opponent with no losses or draws
Butler (15-0, 8 KO): First title fight; Sixth fight within bantamweight weight class (5-0. 3 KO)
Fitzbitz says: The challenger is nine years younger and nowhere near as accomplished, but I’ve got an inkling he’ll put together what’s needed to stay unbeaten and win a belt. Butler by decision

WBC middleweight title – New York, N.Y.
Sergio Martinez (champion/No. 1 IWBR) vs. Miguel Cotto (No. 1 contender/unranked IWBR)
Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KO): Second title defense (second reign); Third fight in New York (2-0, 2 KO)
Cotto (38-4, 31 KO): Twenty-second title fight (17-4, 14 KO); First fight above 154 pounds
Fitzbitz says: Cotto has insisted his resume makes him the “A side” of the promotion, but in terms of all-round skill set at 160, he’s no match for a healthy and determined Martinez. Martinez in 9

SUNDAY
IBO super bantamweight title – East London, South Africa

Thabo Sonjica (champion/No. 15 IWBR) vs. Toto Helebe (unranked IWBR)
Sonjica (18-2, 13 KO): First title defense; Unbeaten since 2011 (4-0, 3 KO)
Helebe (14-3, 7 KO): First title fight; Unbeaten since 2007 (10-0, 5 KO)
Fitzbitz says: Sonjica is a champion and a left-hander and has been on a roll since beating the only man he’s ever lost to. Put them all together and it’s too much for a guy rising in weight. Sonjica by decision

Last week's picks: 4-1
2014 picks record: 41-9 (82.0 percent)
Overall picks record: 588-203 (74.3 percent)

NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class.

Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by sangresabia on 06-10-2014

[QUOTE=mistermartin;14621685]1) u pray to a cotto shrine each night...fact 2) It's not a bus that cotto has to bring in his balls everyday it's ur mouth..fact 3) ur version of events are totally & completely skewed...fact 4) if u use…

Comment by BucaRican on 06-10-2014

[QUOTE=ELPacman;14649080]HAHHA, I had a good laugh. It's moments like these, you wish you only spoke of this and not typed it down, lol.[/QUOTE] Sometimes people who do not actually follow boxing speak out of the rectum, and hope it smells…

Comment by ELPacman on 06-10-2014

HAHHA, I had a good laugh. It's moments like these, you wish you only spoke of this and not typed it down, lol.

Comment by RL_GMA on 06-10-2014

[IMG]http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11/117031/3783720-lol.gif[/IMG]

Comment by BucaRican on 06-10-2014

[QUOTE=mistermartin;14621685]1) u pray to a cotto shrine each night...fact 2) It's not a bus that cotto has to bring in his balls everyday it's ur mouth..fact 3) ur version of events are totally & completely skewed...fact 4) if u use…

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (60)
Top Headlines Avanesyan Ends Shane Mosley, Secures Thurman-Porter Shot Vazquez Outpoints Bone, Eyes Future Clash With Adrien Broner Gabe Rosado Not Looking Past Gutierrez To Chavez Jr. Showdown Shane Mosley Jr. Edges Roberto Young With Majority Nod Bermane Stiverne Eager To Step in, Face Deontay Wilder Jonas Sultan Retains His RP Championship With KO in Five Rounds Photos: Verdejo, Diaz Open Workouts Before HUGE Bronx Crowd Roach: Floyd Mayweather Asked Me To Train Conor McGregor Krzysztof Wlodarczyk Beats Down Kai Kurzawa For TKO Win Ricky Burns Becomes Three Division Champion, Stops Di Rocco in 8 Nurse Pounds on Limond For TKO Win, Retains British Title WADA To Meet With AIBA, Shocking Allegations Over Drug Testing Conor Benn Wins In Glasgow, Returns on Joshua-Breazeale McCarthy Beats Jon-Lewis Dickinson, Must Face Askin Next Povetkin Questions Whether Wilder Actually Intended To Fight Him Burns-Di Rocco: Ogogo Wins On Return Mosley: They Said I Was Done, I'm Going To Annihilate Avanesyan! Ricky Burns: I Feel I Definitely Have Another Few Years in Me Donnie Nietes Drops, Punishes and Stops Raul Garcia Photos: Lucian Bute Holds Presser, Maintains His Innocence Cecilia Braekhus is Hoping To Stage Title Defense in Norway DiBella: Haye's Last Bout Hard To Watch, Not in Running For Wilder Avanesyan Tabs Thurman To Beat Porter, Ready For Mosley Weights From Liverpool: Bellew 199.1; Makabu 196.8 Golovkin's Coach: Canelo Would Drill Pacquiao Worse Than Khan! Lara's Trainer: Golovkin Should Want To Test Himself Against Lara Frank Warren: Kell Brook Wanted No Part of Liam Smith Hearn: Ricky Burns' Last Chance To Win Gold, a 50-50 Fight Tony Bellew Smiles: I Was Always a Rebellious Little F***er! Hearn Wants Parker To Get UK Exposure To Build Joshua Bout Video: Shane Mosley Shows Off His Power and Speed at Workout Marquez Injured, Stops Training - But Still Has Eye on Miguel Cotto Barthelemy: I Want To Fight The Likes of Crawford and Broner Dela Torre Injures Right Hand, Admits Improvement is Needed Photos: Orlando Salido Closes Camp For Francisco Vargas War Mosley-Avanesyan: Winner To Receive WBA Title Shot? Parker's Promoter Vows: We'll KO Joshua, Haye, Chisora, Fury! Kauffman Rips Wilder: Took The Easy Way Out, I Beat Arreola's Ass! Jarrell Miller Demolishes Nick Guivas, Dela Torre Struggles in Win Photos: Shane Mosley, David Avanesyan - Face To Face at Weighin
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement