Boxing is a sport in which on any given night a fight can produce any given outcome. Of course there are always your favorite and your underdogs, but at the sport highest level, when matches are made the way they should be, it becomes less transparent. This weekend a great example of the very best matchmaking will take place, when a first ballot Hall of Famer Miguel Angel Cotto takes on one the sport’s brightest upcoming stars in Saul “Canelo”Alvarez.
This fight truly is a fight fan’s dream match. There are so many story lines that make this a can’t miss type of event. You have the Puerto Rico vs Mexico rivalry, youth vs experience, and size vs speed. Both fighters are coming in on three fight win streaks respectively, since their previous losses, both are absolutely brimming with confidence.
Is very unclear to determine exactly when the rivalry started, but it also doesn’t matter much. What matters is that it is currently the most intense and primitive rivalry in all sports. The pride between the two Latin American countries, is simply unmeasurable, so much so that the emotion of the fight within the ring often bleeds directly into the crowd causing frequent altercations during and after these events. Regardless of what Mexican or Puerto Rican fighter say leading up to one of these classic battles, it is always clear that the pressure of carrying the weight of their respective countries on their shoulders is constantly in the back of their minds.
Many of the people who are picking Canelo Alvarez to win on Saturday, by doing so almost directly as a result of Canelo’s perceived 10 year age advantage. I say perceived, because the question really lies with whether Cotto’s shopworn body will have enough left to stand up to the young warrior’s inevitable assault. Or will the experience gained through many battles be enough to subdue the young man’s strength, and take advantage of any errors he may make?
Freddie Roach has stated, that he expects Alvarez to enter the ring the much larger man. “We’re going to come into the ring at 160, 159 and he’s going to be 175 at least I would say. Our game plan is, part of that, to take advantage of all that weight gain also.” Whatever the weights may be, there is no doubt that Alvarez will in fact, be the bigger fighter. The question is: Is that an advantage? Many seem to believe so, but will Cotto’s mobility and speed nullify that advantage?
Another very important factor, that depending on who you ask, is more so the case with one fighter or the other, is stamina. At certain points in their careers, each fighter has seemed to have had their own share conditioning failures. Cotto, although more than likely as a result of illegal plaster inserts, started off very well, building a decent lead, and then finding himself fading until finally taking a knee ,when he fought Margarito, and some say he showed similar signs in the later rounds against Shane Mosley. Canelo Alvarez seems to have had stamina issues of his own during the mid to late rounds against Austin Trout. This fight may very well be decided by the better conditioned of the two fighters.
Stylistically, this fight is extraordinarily interesting because here we have two boxer punchers, each with the ability to end the show early. Both men being hittable, and both possessing the power to drop anyone on any given night, automatically brings an excitement to the fight. Both fighters have pretty good jab, although Cotto certainly seems to have the more refined version…will he be able to use it enough to keep the larger man from coming forward? Will Canelo be able to reach the seemingly susceptible Cotto to one of his best punches, the right uppercut? Whose left hook will play a role in the event? Whose will is stronger? Who has done what they needed to do during their training camp? Who will do what is necessary on November 21? There are indeed, many questions to be answered. But one thing is for certain, and that is, that the fans, and the boxing community will ultimately be the winners on Saturday.