Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

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 Muhammad Waseem May Land Eliminator in Fall, Says Manager Sugar Ray: Spence Must Use Tactics I Did With Hagler To Beat Brook Amir Khan: Very Few Fighters Can Fill Wembley - I'm One of Them! Beltran: I Should No Problem Getting Green Card After That KO Gary Russell Jr. - If No Unification Next, I Plan To Move Up Thurman: Hard To Be Confident in Brook, He Hasn't Proved It at 147 Berchelt: Miura a True Warrior, Confident I'll Leave With My Belt Juan Manuel Marquez Return Still in Play For July, Says Nacho Team Uzcategui Will Push For No-Contest, Dirrell Rematch Order Ryota Murata Feeling Good About Career Despite Shocking Loss Brook: No Issues With Weight, Close To 147 For Spence Defense ABC Calls For Ban of Dirrell's Trainer Due To Post-Fight Assault Promoter: David Benavidez Will Roll Over Everyone Shelly Vincent Tops Broadway Boxing Card, June 3 Mayweather on Canelo-GGG: May, September Are My Dates Video: Floyd Mayweather, Anthony Joshua Come Together in UK Michael Walsh Eyes Comeback, Set To Return On June 2 Ian Tims vs. Luke Watkins For Vacant Irish Belt, June 10 In Belfast Joshua: Mayweather-McGregor is Bigger With Me on Undercard Adrien Broner To Spend Three Days in Jail For Contempt Charge Groves Admits a Loss To Chudinov Could Be End of His Career Duva: Barrera Was Right on Beterbiev, Smith Deal Easy To Make Agitated Arum: HBO, Showtime Don’t Own the Boxing Business! Mayweather Confident He Would School Golovkin in 'Easy' Fight Big Changes at 108: BoxingScene Ratings Update Frankie Gavin To Return, June 3 In Scotland Brook vs. Spence: Lawrence Okolie To Face Russell Henshaw Video: Anthony Joshua Talks Klitschko, Mayweather, Future, More Brook: After Beating Spence, I Want Thurman Unification Next! Coldwell Hopes Lewis Taylor Shocks Jamie Cox on Brook-Spence Amir Khan Not Happy With WBC's Decision, May Target Peterson Why Do Boxing Robberies Continue To Happen? Video: Shakur Stevenson Talks About Second Pro Fight, Future Deontay Wilder Hopes Joseph Parker Fight Can Come Together Mayweather Expects Davis To Be a Star, Spence To Beat Brook Abel Sanchez: I'd Hate To See Mayweather Get '50' With McGregor Video: Ray Beltran Talks Big Win, Getting His Green Card Crawford: Pacquiao is The Only Fight We're Really Looking For BJ Flores Ready To Step in For Shannon Briggs and Face Oquendo Mayweather: No Rush To Make Davis-Lomachenko Unification
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement