A victory for Miguel Cotto over Delvin Rodriguez could extend the four-time champion’s career, or sound the final bell for retirement in Saturday night’s 12-round bout at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
In the past year and a half, the 32-year-old Cotto has suffered two consecutive losses by unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the WBA Super Light Middleweight title and Austin Trout. Another loss effectively ruins Cotto’s chances of a big purse rematch with Mayweather, or a lesser marquee bout with No. 2 contender Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Rodriguez, hailing from Connecticut but of Dominican descent and nicknamed “The Jaguar," captured the vacant IBF Light Middleweight crown four months ago with an eighth-round technical knockout of Freddy Hernandez, following up on his sixth round TKO of George Tahdooahnippah.
Rodriguez also dropped a decision to Trout, but his two previous wins this year, and historical, brutal clashes with Pawel Wolak have placed him in boxing’s center stage.
While he hasn’t tasted victory in almost two years, Cotto could employ his sizable speed advantage against Rodriguez and score points early. Staying up close and punching early could also eliminate Rodriguez’s height and reach edge.
Meanwhile some 5,600 miles to the East, heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko puts each of his five titles on the line against Alexander Povetkin in Moscow, Russia.
Both fighters will enter the ring at the lowest weights of their career, possibly signaling a much faster bout than the plodding knockout fest that has been Klitschko’s career. The 37-year-old Ukrainian hasn’t lost since 2004, winning 18 straight, and 11 of those by knockout.
The Russian Povetkin has never lost, and standing at 6-foot-2, he won’t peril in size next to the behemoth 6-foot-6 Klitschko. Fighting exclusively in Europe since his first professional fight in 2005, Povetkin won his last two clashes by way of TKO, dispensing Andrzej Wawrzyk back in May, and American Hasim Rahman just over a year ago.
Klitschko and Povetkin clash at 3:30 p.m. ET, while the Cotto-Rodriguez opening bell is scheduled to ring at 11 p.m. ET, and HBO will provide coverage for both.
Betting Odds: Cotto -600 and Klitschko -365
Prediction: Cotto in a decision, Klitschko a seventh or eighth round KO.
Tale Of The Tape
Weight: 153.2 lbs
Reach: 67 in
Record: 37-4, 30 KOs
Weight: 154 lbs.
Reach: 70.5 in
Record: 28-6-3, 16 KOs
Klitschko Vs. Povetkin
Weight: 241.6 lbs
Reach: 81 in
Record: 60-3, 51 KOs
Weight: 225.7 lbs
Reach: 75 in
Record: 26-0, 18 KOs