SAN DIEGO – November 30, 2012 – Puerto Rican boxing star Miguel Cotto is fun to watch no matter who he’s fighting. Cotto is a fan favorite because he never plays it safe. He takes every opponent seriously and gives it his all.
Cotto’s losses came from fighting the best of the best: Manny Pacquiao; a extremely close fight with Floyd Mayweather; and a fight with Antonio Margarito in 2008 in which many observers now think Margarito used loaded gloves. Cotto’s career was on the rocks, but he fought his way back to prominence. Cotto avenged that result one year ago this weekend with a devastating defeat for Margarito. It was Cotto’s finest moment.
Cotto is a warrior style fighter. He leaves everything he’s got in the ring. He isn’t a fighter who skates through later rounds because he’s ahead on points.
Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) even has the potential to make a fight with the rather boring Austin Trout (25-0, 14 KOs) entertaining. It’s a lot to ask.
Sure, Trout is undefeated and the 154-pound WBA champion, but it still doesn’t make him the kind of fighter fans find fun to watch. His last four fights have been decisions. He is a tactical southpaw who is happy to go to the scorecard. Cotto wants nothing less than domination from the first bell to the moment he takes his opponent down.
At Friday’s weigh-in, Trout barely made the junior middleweight division limit of 154 pounds, literally. He had to strip off his shorts to bring the scale down a few ounces to the limit. Cotto came in at 153.6. If the capacity crowd of 500 enthusiastic Cotto fans at the Affinia Hotel weigh-in were any indication of what Madison Square Garden will be like Saturday night, it’s going to be a serious Boricua party.
After the weigh-in, Cotto told Showtime’s Steve Farhood, “I’m grateful for the fans. I have only one thing to say to him (Trout): Come with the fight of your life, because you’re facing the fighter of your life.”
Much is being made of Cotto being five years older than Trout (32 vs. 27), having a lot more wear and tear due to his experience in the ring than Trout, being several inches shorter and smaller than Trout. Trout is hungry and has something to prove, which can be a big motivation for a boxer.
Trout’s advantages in youth and enthusiasm are up against an experienced, relentless opponent in Cotto. He’s also fighting Cotto on his home turf. New York treats Cotto as a native son, and Madison Square Garden is Cotto’s house. Twenty-thousand people will be cheering their hero Cotto to a win.
For a fighter who has never been on the world stage that is the Garden on Fight Night like Trout, the atmosphere can be intimidating and overwhelming. He is going to have to put in earplugs mentally and shut out the noise and excitement.
Cotto will be expected to put on a good show by his fans. He has fought seven times at Madison Square Garden and won all of those fights. It’s hard to bet against the edge for Cotto in New York.
It’s a shame Cotto doesn’t have a more worthy opponent. Trout will do what he can but will get thoroughly schooled by Cotto.
Let’s hope Cotto enjoys the fight in front of his many Puerto Rican fans in New York and shows them a good time. Then we can look forward to a more exciting fight for him next year, perhaps with young Mexican star Canelo Alvarez or perhaps a rematch with Floyd Mayweather in spring 2013.
On the undercard, the fight of greatest interest is Danny Jacobs (23-1) versus Chris Fitzpatrick (15-2). Jacobs is on a comeback after surviving a rare type of bone cancer. He had spinal surgery to remove the tumor, and was told he might be paralyzed and certainly would not fight again. He proved that prediction wrong with a stunning first round knockout of Josh Luteran in Brooklyn on the undercard of the Garcia vs. Morales II fight in October. Fitzpatrick should not be much more of a challenge than Luteran. Look for another knockout, though it might take Jacobs more than a round this time.
In the junior lightweight division, Jayson Velez (19-0, 14 KOs) takes on Salvador Sanchez II (30-4-3, 18 KOs). Sanchez is coming up a weight-class to fight Velez.
This is a major test for Velez. His victories have come against lesser opponents although not complete pushovers. He should pass the test, but Sanchez will make Velez work for his win. He’s the veteran and he won’t put himself in harm’s way if he can help it.
Join your Communities fight team for a Live Chat beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern. We’ll share our predictions and observations and enjoy the company of serious boxing heads for this show from the Garden. It’s almost as good as being there!
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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