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Could legs be the difference for Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto on November 21?
By John J. Raspanti, DogHouse Boxing (Nov 17, 2015)

Cotto vs. Canelo
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There’s an old way of thinking that women weaken legs.

No less an authority than Mickey Goldmill, the grouchy trainer of Rocky Balboa, espoused this thinking 38 years ago in the classic film Rocky.

Surprisingly, Goldmill is not alone.

Freddie Roach, whose fighter, Miguel Cotto, meets former champion Canelo Alvarez on November 21 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV., basically agrees women can be a distraction.

“He’s (Alvarez) not that disciplined," said the outspoken Roach of Cotto's opponent. "He’s a young guy. He’s the playboy. He’s a good looking guy. He gets all the girls like Oscar De La Hoya, but the thing is, those girls are not going to help him in this fight,”

In other words, “those girls,” whoever they may be, won’t be able to help Alvarez. He’ll need to stick to his gameplan.

“We’ve had four sparring partners against Miguel each day,” added Roach. "That’s for breaking the fighter down and hitting the body. We take their legs away from them. I feel our opponent does a lot on his own.

The 35-year-old Cotto has beaten former champions Paulie Malignaggi, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margerito, Ricardo Mayorga, Sergio Martinez, and Daniel Geale.

I know what you’re thinking.

Mayarga and Martinez were way past their primes and Geale looked like he had just been released from solitary confinement. I won’t argue with any of that, but Cotto was extremely sharp in all of those fights. He believes in what Roach is telling him. He often points to his trainer as the reason for career rejuvenation.

Roach has done a “Back to the Future” to the Puerto Rican star--by returning him to what he once was--a hard-charging, hard-hitting, knockout machine.

The skirt-chasing Alvarez looked sensational in his last bout. He iced hard-hitting James Kirkland in less than nine minutes. He was crisp and cool—absorbing a good right hand in the opening stanza, before staggering Kirkland a minute later. Sixteen months ago, he showed patience in winning a razor-thin decision over reluctant boxer Erislandy Lara. Nobody wanted Alvarez to fight the tricky Lara. His promoter, De La Hoya, likely chewed off all his finger nails during the match. Still, Alvarez got the win, though some felt he was given an early Christmas present.

Alvarez defeated common opponent Austin Trout while both men lost decisions to the best fighter of their generation, Floyd Mayweather Jr., though Cotto was more competitive.

Cotto is aware that many boxing scribes are picking Alvarez to defeat him.

“I don’t really care what the critics say,” Cotto said. “I am prepared to give Canelo a fight on November twenty-first and that’s all that matters.

“I’m not here asking for any sympathy. I know who I am and I’m here to be Miguel Cotto on November twenty-first and give the fans a good fight.

“I have my eye on my career and this is the best fight for my career right now, so I’m ready to do what needs to be done to be on top.”

Alvarez is excited to be facing Cotto.

"I want to fight the big fights and am not afraid to take risks,” Alvarez said at his own media day on October 30. “I believe my fighting style and opponents over the years have shown that. I am here to prove I am the best and the best way to do that is fighting the best.

"Every fight at this level has been difficult. You can't predict the outcome of a fight, but we make sure to leave not doubts in the ring.”

Many see this as a 50-50 fight. I give Alvarez a slight edge. He’s the bigger and younger man. He also hasn’t been in as many ring wars as Cotto. He’ll need to fight smart and avoid Cotto’s crunching left. The faster Cotto will bob and weave, shoot his jab, and let fly with that hook. I’m expecting him to get off to a good start. His goal will be to create doubt in Alvarez’s mind.

Alvarez will need to slip the jab and punish Cotto on the inside. He’ll need to make the older man work for everything he gets. Alvarez has been known to get tuckered out in the later stages of some bouts. Common sense would indicate that he should be in the best shape of his life.

He can’t afford another loss.

Suspect limbs or not, I see Alvarez breaking Cotto down and stopping him late.

John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at:

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