Cotto vs. Corley: Analysis and Predictions
By Ric Solivan, (February 23, 2005) 
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Can Miguel Cotto continue his rise to the top of the junior welterweight mountain or will the slick DeMarcus Corley prove to be too much?

Many of us have pondered over how WBO junior welterweight champion Miguel Cotto (22-0, 18ko’s) would fare against a slick and mobile southpaw opponent, after seeing the young man dominate both traditional boxer-punchers like Lovemore N’Dou and Demetrio Ceballos and pure power hitters like Randall bailey and Kelson Pinto. Well this Saturday we shall perhaps get an answer as Cotto takes on the cunning veteran DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley (29-3, 16 ko’s) in a showdown that should place the winner at the gates of a unification bout.

The challenger, Corley is coming off a decision victory over journeyman Darryl Tyson and back-to-back decision losses against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Zab Judah. The seasoned Corley could give Cotto problems early in the fight with his style & speed, and these attributes are crucial to the challenger’s chances of scoring an upset.

“Chop Chop” also packs a decent punch, evident by his first round knockout besting of Taino Felix Flores and his transitory and legitimate stunning of “Pretty Boy” Floyd.

The native of Washington, D.C. also possesses a good chin although he has been put down by both Judah and Mayweather Jr. in their respective fights. However, to his credit, he has responded well under fire, displaying great recuperative abilities.

The Champion Cotto, has been on a campaign of destruction, besting Randall Bailey, Kelson Pinto, Lovemore N’Dou and Victoriano Sosa consecutively with a mix of uncanny precision, power hitting, tight defense and outstanding ring maneuvering.

Cotto also has shown he can not only dish it out but take it as well in several of his bouts but most noticeably against Lovemore N’Dou where he also had to dig deep for the unanimous decision win. Cotto dominated early but intelligently endured and overcame his opponent’s comeback in the middle rounds.

Both men share a common opponent in Randall Bailey and against him, we see the diversity in styles and power. Corley although soundly out boxing Bailey could not put away an opponent who took his best punches and survived for twelve rounds. In contrast, Cotto dismantled Bailey inside of six rounds with an unrelenting body attack and debilitating combinations that lacerated and bruised his foe to the point of surrender.

Very likely on Saturday, the challenger will seek to distance himself and pot shot the champion from the outside with the hope of wearing him down enough for perhaps a late knockout or a justifiable win by decision. Corley will steer clear of the Champion and avoid mixing it up as much as possible using his speedy jab to keep Cotto at bay.

For his part, the WBO Jr. welterweight champion will look to establish control early in an attempt to both overwhelm and shutdown his opponent. Miguel surely will work the body of his opponent furiously and start setting up the finale early if given the opportunity. He will likely use a more controlled attack on Corley to force him to come towards him and thereby avoiding the a cat and mouse chase and finally look for Cotto to continue planting his feet for extra power on any given opportunity.

It wont be an easy fight for the pride of Caguas, Puerto Rico and he will have to adjust to the southpaw stance and speed of his opponent quickly and that will be his biggest challenge. However I believe that once the champion finds his range, his keen ability to land crisp combinations to the body, coupled with his armadillo like defense will get him close enough to Coley to inflict some major damage and close the door on the challenger’s face. My prediction for this one is a tenth round stoppage in favor of the young Puerto Rican superstar.

Cotto is finally poised to challenge top tier talent like victor of the Kostya Tszyu- Ricky Hatton bout, perhaps Arturo Gatti should Pretty Boy Floyd be unavailable due to legal issues, and if all else fails, his handlers could match him up against lesser-known Vivian Harris until the smoke clears.
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