Miguel Cotto enters his fight with Canelo Alvarez as the decided underdog, but the Puerto Rican boxer can’t be counted out on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The future Hall-of-Famer has a good chance to pull off the upset and maintain his spot atop the middleweight division along with Gennady "GGG" Golovkin.
Alvarez is a 3/1 favorite as he looks to climb up the ranks and cement himself as one of the sport’s top competitors. Cotto became one of boxing’s top stars nearly a decade ago, and he isn’t ready to move out of the spotlight just yet.
It won’t be easy for Cotto to win on Saturday, but there are some reasons why it can be argued that he’ll beat Alvarez.
Many experts are picking Alvarez to win because he’s 10 years younger than Cotto, but that age difference could work in the champ’s favor. Cotto has proven he can win a fight of this magnitude, while Alvarez is still looking for the first marquee victory of his career.
At 35 years old, Cotto has been through many wars with the best the sport has to offer. He’s beaten the likes of Zab Judah, Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito, and he gave Floyd Mayweather one of the most competitive bouts of his career. While there’s a chance the fight turns into a slugfest that ends early, the odds favor a complete 12-round fight, which might benefit Cotto. His intelligence and endurance could be crucial factors if the fight goes into the late rounds, as Alvarez needed a split decision to win his last 12-round bout.
Cotto looked like he might be headed for the twilight of his career following losses to Mayweather and Austin Trout, but he’s been as impressive as ever in his last three fights. After linking up with trainer Freddie Roach, Cotto is back to being one of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters.
Cotto has been utterly dominant in three fights under Roach’s tutelage, needing just 17 total rounds to get wins over Delvin Rodriguez, Sergio Martinez and Daniel Geale. The Rhode Island-born boxer had gotten away from what made him one of the sport’s top competitors, but he’s back to being among the best. It’s no surprise, considering Roach has been named Trainer of the Year seven times since 2003, while Manny Pacquiao has named Roach as the No.1 reason why he’s picking Cotto to defeat Alvarez.
Alvarez has a significant size advantage on Cotto, and boxers who have faced both fighters say the 25-year-old Mexican fighter hits harder. But Cotto is much more than just a puncher, and his superior boxing skills could win out on Saturday.
A brawl would favor Alvarez, but Cotto has the ability to outbox his opponent. He’s able to utilize devastating body punches, and his left hook is one of the best in the sport. Even though Cotto might not have the speed he once possessed, he's still good enough to beat the best boxers in his division. It may take just one well-timed punch from Cotto to surprise Alvarez. Alvarez has a good chin, as he proved against Alfredo Angulo in 2014, but Cotto is capable of really testing it.
Alvarez might possess more power, but his power punches won’t mean much if he can’t land them with accuracy. Even at 35 years old, Cotto still has great footwork that can help him avoid Alvarez’s biggest punches, helping him outlast his opponent.
In his last fight against Geale, Cotto only allowed his opponent to land 26 percent of his punches, getting hit just 33 times before he knocked out the challenger in the fourth round. Cotto's footwork was especially good in a 10th-round knockout over Martinez last year, and he’ll need to have the same type of performance to defeat Alvarez.