Can Miguel Cotto Defeat the Doubters?
By John Novoselac, Doghouse Boxing (Oct 27, 2009) Photo © German Villasenor  
Miguel Cotto was being groomed to be the next great Puerto Rican superstar. The wheels came off the train when he lost a brutal 11th round TKO stoppage loss to now licenseless Antonio Margarito last summer in Las Vegas. He’s rebounded with a gimme win over unheralded Michael Jennings, and followed up with a courageous victory over rugged top contender Joshua Clottey, while fighting through a nasty head butt induced gash on his forehead. Despite these wins, the first of which gave him the vacant WBO title, many remain skeptical whether or not he’s rebounded from such a devastating first defeat.

Miguel Cotto returns to the MGM Grand where he suffered that first loss a little over a year ago when he steps in the ring on November 14th in the biggest fight of the year versus Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao. His WBO strap will be at stake in the fight that was contracted at a catch weight of 145 pounds. The Pacman has been on a hot streak whose stock and profile has risen rapidly in his ascent from featherweight to welterweight over the last 4 years, culminating in brutal stoppages of David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, and Ricky Hatton in his last 3 outings. Will Cotto be the man to stop that streak?

Pac’s pugilistic prowess has progressed at a seemingly exponential pace, while maintaining both speed and power in his ascension in weight. Can Cotto handle the velocity and angles of the punches that will be coming his way?

Miguel has shown excellent footwork and the ability to cut off the ring in the past, as well as displayed his proficiency in fighting off the back foot against more aggressive opponents. He negated the speed of sometimes under-motivated, yet very talented and speedy southpaw Zab Judah. He was also able to take the perceived speed advantage away from Shane Mosley, coming out of both those fights with victories. Will he be able to do the same with Pacquiao?

Miguel Cotto will hold a significant size advantage over Pacquiao, and he will exploit it in every way possible. Cotto will look to set traps to pin his foe on the ropes and in the corner, and bang away at the body of Pacquiao. Pac was stopped early in his career by body shots, and Cotto’s camp has certainly seen the tapes. However, the improved defense and lateral movement of Pac has posed serious problems for his last few opponents, will the power of Cotto be enough to win?

In Miguel’s lone loss, he was stopped in the 11th round by a bigger, stronger, and more aggressive man. Pac attempting the same strategy would be suicide, so I don’t expect him to press Cotto the way Margarito did. That being said, it is the only style that’s proven effective against the Puerto Rican banger. Both Judah and Mosley thought their speed would be too much for Cotto, and they were both proven wrong. Will Cotto be able to do the same with the nearly hyperactive style of Pacquiao?

Miguel Cotto has shown to be a tremendous warrior throughout his already stellar career, and he’s faced every fighter that we could ask of him, those that would accept the task at least. In his bid for the highest elite echelons of the sport today, will he rise to the occasion and put a stop to the Filipino Fistic of Fury that is Manny Pacquiao?

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