It’s been a year since Miguel Cotto had his last boxing match, and the middleweight champ appears to be finally ready to put his title on the line. He’ll take on Daniel Geale this Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, looking to continue his ascension up the ranks as one of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters.
Cotto won the WBC middleweight title in June 2014 by defeating Sergio Martinez, a well-established brawler who was dominating his division. Unable to come to terms with the likes of Canelo Alvarez or Floyd Mayweather, Cotto agreed to fight Geale, who could have a hard time challenging the champ.
Since losing to Mayweather and Austin Trout in 2012, Cotto has reinvented himself, teaming up with trainer Freddie Roach to look like one of the best boxers in any weight class. In late 2013, Cotto didn’t even need three full rounds to beat Delvin Rodriguez. That knockout earned him a title shot against Martinez, whom he defeated in the 10th round at Madison Square Garden.
Despite the long layoff, Cotto doesn’t think he’ll have a lot of trouble when making his return to the ring.
“It will have been 364 days to the day on June 6 since I have been in the ring,” Cotto told reporters. “It’s not difficult to get back in after this long stretch. I’ve been focused on my work. I have gained more knowledge during my time off in order to get myself ready to fight again.”
Geale is coming off a win, having beaten Jarrod Fletcher by unanimous decision in December. But he hasn’t been particularly impressive of late, losing his previous fight to Gennady Golovkin by knockout. Cotto has avoided taking on Golovkin, even though WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman is looking to make the fight happen.
A win for Geale would be a significant upset. Cotto is a -600 favorite at Bovada.lv, while Geale has +400 betting odds. But the underdog doesn’t doubt that his strategy is good enough to defeat Cotto.
“The game plan is to go in and fight my fight,” Geale told the media. “It’s not to get sucked in. It’s not to get caught up in what he [Cotto] is doing. It’s to do what I do best.”
If Cotto ends up getting the win, there’s a good chance the fight won’t go the distance. His last five victories have come via KO or TKO, and Geale didn’t get beyond the third round in his last defeat.
“Miguel’s sparring has been great. His movement has been very good. It’s hard on me in the ring! His body shots are very effective and the head shots come with it. I think we are going to get a late round knockout. Geale is tough enough to go some rounds, but a knockout in a late round…that’s my call,” said Roach.
Cotto needs to win Saturday’s fight to possibly set up the biggest fight of 2015, other than Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Cotto could go on to fight Alvarez at the end of the year, though a bout with Mayweather isn’t out of the question.
Prediction: Cotto by TKO