Canelo and Cotto clash in decisive Mexico-Puerto Rico showdown
Lee Gormley | November 17, 2015
Miguel Cotto v Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez
- WBC middleweight title fight
- Sunday, November 22nd
- Scheduled for: 00:00 GMT
- Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas
- Live on Box Nation
Cotto and Canelo clash in Vegas showdown
In a new chapter of boxing’s long-standing rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will challenge Miguel Cotto for his previously owned WBC middleweight title in a 155-pound catchweight showdown in Las Vegas this weekend.
Arguably the most attractive ever match-up of this heated rivalry, Puerto Rican world champion Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) looks to cement his legacy with a victory over a young Mexican (45-1-1, 32 KOs), who is seemingly entering his prime years in the ring.
At Mandalay Bay in the heart of Nevada, these two esteemed fighters will finally square-off in a middleweight super-fight, with defending champion Cotto 6/1 with Coral to knockout Canelo in the early hours of Sunday morning.
WBC strip Cotto of title
Initially, this meeting was for Cotto’s WBC crown, but in a baffling move, the organisation stripped the defending champion of his strap just four days prior to the meeting with Canelo. Even more bizarrely, though Cotto won’t be able to defend his title, Alvarez will be recognized as their middleweight champion, should he emerge victorious.
The WBC have made this odd move because Cotto seemingly did not adhere to their rules and regulations, but in their latest statement on the case, they did not divulge what exactly the rule violation was.
However, early reports have suggested that Cotto refused to pay the WBC a $300k sanctioning fee to have the title on the line, though both fighters will look to try and ignore such late distractions so close to their unmissable bout.
Youth or experience?
Now 35 years of age, Cotto is into the final stages of his illustrious career and, after teaming up with experienced coach Freddie Roach, the four-division world champion doesn’t look any less of the fighter he was many years ago.
Although, the key difference in this weekend’s competitors is age, with Canelo still only 25 years old, having burst onto the professional stage incredibly at 15, a familiar boxing upbringing for young talented fighters in his homeland.
Asked if his Mexican opponent, 3/1 to triumph by KO, holds any advantage being a decade younger, Cotto was quick to play down such talk, but will wisdom or youth decide the outcome of this middleweight match-up?
“I don’t think about any of that,” Cotto stated. “I’m just here to do my work, no matter what age he has, no matter what age I have. I’m here to do my work the best I can and I guarantee to you on Nov. 21, the Miguel Cotto you’re going to see is the best Miguel Cotto you’ve ever seen in your life.”
Roach gives Cotto confidence
Usually a man of very few, but precise words, Cotto’s comments were unusually modest by his standards, showing his confidence heading into battle in Las Vegas, despite previously coming close to hanging up his gloves.
“The only way you can win a fight is working hard. That’s what we can do here,” he continued. “Just working here on anything Freddie wants me to do. That’s what I do. Every day.
“I don’t know anything about Canelo. I don’t pay attention to anything about how Canelo is training for this fight, how he’s looked. I’m just here to train and do my part.”
Cotto has previously had to endure the untimely passing of his father, which led to the Puerto Rican training himself through a tough period which included a controversial defeat to Antonio Margarito in 2009, before a loss to Manny Pacquiao and a strong, but unsuccessful showing against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Though, the arrival of new trainer Roach in his corner has worked wonders, breezing to victory in three successive bouts since his defeat to Austin Trout, including a strap in a fourth weight class, and he is 10/3 to outpoint Canelo this weekend.
Canelo “cannot fail”
Despite Cotto looking like a rejuvenated fighter in recent contests under Roach, his next opponent isn’t impressed, with Canelo claiming he cannot fail in their anticipated meeting, in which he is the heavy odds-on 4/11 favourite.
“We are not impressed by Cotto’s team and we do not take this personally. We don’t listen to our rivals. We are a very serious team and do our job. I cannot fail. He is a great world champion, and we are prepared for him,” Canelo declared.
The Mexican, whose only ever defeat has come over 12 rounds at the hands of now retired Mayweather in 2013, refused to predict a stoppage victory in his favour, but appreciated the magnitude of his apparent WBC title bout.
“We have a plan..”
“The styles will accommodate the fighters to engage in a great fight, and, you know, I’m prepared to train, and I prepared for different things in the ring. If the knockout comes, it comes, if it doesn’t, I’m prepared for whatever happens in the ring,” continued the Mexican, who is evens for a points win.
“We have a strategy; we have a plan. We have plan for success in the ring, and this is going to be a great fight.
“All my fights are necessary to win. I’m here, I’m ready to win, and I’m willing to win. All my fights are necessary to win.”
GGG waiting patiently
In this highly-anticipated duel between Puerto Rico’s middleweight champion Cotto and Mexico’s dangerous challenger Canelo, the next chapter of such a passionate rivalry will be written. But will it be the experienced, revived fighter or the promising, youthful contender with their hand held high after their confrontation?
The World Boxing Council recently outlined that the winner of this fight has 15 days to begin negotiations with middleweight wrecking ball Gennady Golovkin, and if not, the WBC belt will be stripped and given to the Kazakhstan bruiser. But, after recent dealings by the WBC, it’s unclear what will occur immediately afterwards.
Though, with plenty already at stake this weekend, Cotto’s thoughts on such a daunting decision was evident on the eve of his imminent battle, stating: “We pick every opponent at the right moment. This is the right moment for Canelo.”
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