Boxing preview: Miguel Cotto needs win in ring return Saturday on HBO

Saturday’s televised bout on HBO at 9:45 p.m. ET from Florida falls in the must category for Cotto against Delvin Rodriguez. Photo: Miguel Cotto and Delvin Rodriguez in Orlando / Chris Farina, Top Rank

SAN DIEGO October 4, 2013 – Four-time world champion Miguel Cotto has his place secured in boxing history. The pride of Puerto Rican fight fans and millions more has earned his record honestly. He has always been willing to fight the best. Mayweather. Pacquiao. Margarito, twice. Mosley. Judah. Cotto did more damage to Floyd Mayweather than any opponent in recent memory while losing a unanimous decision.

Cotto’s defeat at the hands of Austin Trout by unanimous decision in December was all the more shocking considering Cotto’s strong performance against Mayweather in May 2012 and his destruction of Antonio Margarito prior to the Mayweather fight. It was Cotto’s first loss after seven victories in Madison Square Garden, virtually his hometown ring.  

SEE RELATED: Boxing results: Miguel Cotto revives career with a TKO win Saturday

Cotto (37-4, 30 KOs) had to seriously ask himself whether it was time to retire. The answer, happily for his many fans, was no. Time for a change of scene. Cotto signed on with legendary trainer Freddie Roach, and went to work at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.

Miguel Cotto (right) trains with Freddie Roach. He signed on with Roach in July in preparation for tonight’s bout. Photo: Promociones Miguel Cotto.

Cotto will fight against Delvin Rodriguez (28-6-3, 16 KOs) of the Dominican Republic via Connecticut on Saturday night in the first boxing event at the new Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. Ten-thousand people are expected to attend, many of them devoted Cotto fans from Puerto Rico.

The 12-round super welterweight fight is as important as any championship fight for Cotto. A victory puts him right back in the hunt for a big-name contest. Most expect it to be a May 2014 bout against reigning middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, a crowd-pleasing matchup fans are eager to see. It could also be a classic Puerto Rico vs. Mexico battle against Canelo Alvarez. Three losses in a row will do serious damage to Cotto’s career, if not his legacy.

SEE RELATED: Trout defeats Cotto; Changing of the guard in boxing?

Trainer Freddie Roach could sorely use a victory himself after losses by his most celebrated boxer, Manny Pacquiao, as well as Amir Khan and Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. (both of whom have moved on). Don’t count the defeat by Timothy Bradley of Ruslan Provodnikov, who put Bradley on the canvas and nearly beat him in a Fight of the Year bout in March. Provodnikov gets a shot against Mike Alvarado in Denver on October 19.

Miguel Cotto and Delvin Rodriguez stage the classic weigh-in face off in front of fans at the new Amway Center in Orlando Friday. Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank.

Rodriguez doesn’t care if he messes up the plan. He’s a determined fighter who will keep coming forward. He won the admiration of hardcore fans with one of those punishing brawls in a rematch against Polish boxer Pawel Wolak two years ago, and it’s worth looking up if you didn’t see it. He followed up with a loss to Austin Trout in a unanimous decision, so he’s got this in common with Cotto.

Rodriguez is not a knockout artist. He’s a fighter who wears his opponent down. Cotto is built to take punishment, and with his warrior mentality he won’t be afraid to get all up in Rodriguez’ grill. It will be a toe to toe fight, perhaps not the phone booth variety but a close quarters battle. How about that for loading up the boxing cliches?

SEE RELATED: Boxing results: Stevenson gets TKO, Chavez Jr. wins and loses Saturday

Having suffered last week through some dull bouts, fans should tune in and enjoy watching a great champion in the ring who has earned the respect of the boxing community and all of his fans through his commitment to the sport at the highest level. Cotto never gives less than everything, never shortchanges the fans, and never ducks a challenge. Who could possibly ask more from a competitor?

Cotto weighed in at 153.2 pounds, Rodriguez right at the 154 pound limit.

Terence Crawford and Andrey Klimov pose at their weigh-in Friday in Orlando. Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank.

In the televised undercard bout, the undefeated Terence Crawford (21-0-0, 16 KOs) continues his rise through the lightweight ranks in a 10-round bout against another undefeated lightweight, Andrey Klimov (16-0-0, 8 KOs). Crawford scored a sixth round TKO against Alejandro Sanabria of Mexico in June on the Garcia/Lopez undercard, and defeated Breidis Prescott in March on the undercard of Rios-Alvarado II. Both fighters weighed in at 134.6 pounds.

Crawford is one of the few boxers you’ll ever meet from Omaha, Nebraska. Someone should have called this fight the Big Red Battle. I guess someone just did.

Miguel Cotto vs. Delvin Rodriguez, “Reloaded,” airs on HBO on Saturday at 9:45 p.m. ET.  See the undercard fights live online at

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.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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