Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Puerto Rican Power: Miguel Cotto Looks To Dethrone Mayweather

source: Raj Parmar |

It struck again; disappointment, frustration and anger. When word spread around a couple of weeks ago that boxing superstars Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao would once again fail to come to terms on THE superfight of our generation, the all familiar feeling of being fed up with this match-up taking place was back in full force.

However the beauty of life is that disappointment can always be turned around into excitement, as in time many positive things can take place that reduce the impact of the negative event.

When Mayweather announced that he would be fighting Puerto Rican sensation Miguel Cotto on May 5 instead of Manny, the dark disappointment from the failed negotiations started to fade and a rush of excitement began to kick in.

While not near the level of hype the Floyd-Manny fight would have garnered, a Floyd-Cotto bout is in no doubt a great fight on it’s own and represents a very stellar showdown between two of the sport’s top three pay per view stars. Back in 2007, this was the biggest fight that could have been made in boxing as Miguel had just beaten (in probably the most impressive run of his career) dangerous fighters Zab Judah and Shane Mosely, while Mayweather had dominated mega popular stars Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton. Floyd however retired in 2008 before any such match-up could be made and Cotto in turn began a downward descent.

Miguel took a viscous beatdown from the possibly loaded gloves of Antonio Margarito in what was the first loss of his career. Cotto looked vulnerable from then on as the erosion of his once unstoppable skills was confirmed when Pacquiao demolished Miguel in their 2009 showdown. It was apparent at that point that the likelihood of Cotto’s best days being gone was very real and likely true. Not only was Miguel breaking down inside the ring, but outside the ring his life seemed a mess too as he got into a very public brawl with his uncle and then trainer Evangelista Cotto, was accused of sexual assault by an ex-employee to go along with his outright acknowledgement that he was not a great husband to his wife, and had his father pass away very tragically due to a heart attack.

Determined to not fall to the darkness surrounding him, Cotto took some time off to rest then set out in 2010 to regain the glory he briefly possessed back in 2007 when he was arguably the second best boxer in the world. Not only did Miguel kick his comeback off with a knockout win over champion Yuri Foreman for a world title in his third weight class, he also seemed a little more mature and further dedicated himself to his wife and family. Two more knockout wins followed including a December vengeance KO over the man who began his dark downfall; Antonio Margarito. His demons now cleared, Cotto has once again started to look like the great force he used to be a few years ago.

It should be noted that when looking at the two times Miguel has lost in the ring, he was overpowered both times rather than outboxed. Antonio simply had the stronger punches (illegally?) while Manny’s once in a lifetime combination of speed/power was much too overwhelming for the Puerto Rican banger to handle. No fighter has successfully outboxed the intelligent Cotto in the ring; the closest was Shane Mosley who began to dominate Miguel in the late stages of their battle but Cotto was beautifully able to adjust and surprisingly outboxed the boxer in Mosley down the stretch to get the decision win.

It is no secret that Mayweather will very likely not engage Cotto in a war and will not be able to walk Miguel down with power shots much the way Manny and Margarito did. Once Cotto gets on the attack he was almost impossible to stop; much like an angry bull that sees red and continues to come until major damage is done. If Floyd can outbox Cotto, he will be the first one to do so and much credit shall go to him for coming out on top over the heavy challenge Miguel represents.

It will not come easy though as on May 5 Cotto has the chance to complete the inspiring turn-around he has made since his dark days of 2008-2009. Miguel has seen the light at the end of the tunnel and knows that a win over Floyd will make his star shine brighter then he ever could have imagined it would. Therefore Floyd needs to be aware that in few short months he will have a beast in front of him that will not stop attacking until he is laid out, and that without having a power advantage over the resilient Cotto he will definitely need a trick or two up his sleeve to pull out a win.