Size matters. So does age.
With a superfight against WBA Super World middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin looming, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 45 KOs), from Juanacatlán, Jalisco, Mexico, overpowered Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs), from Caguas, Puerto Rico, Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas to win the WBC World middleweight title.
The final scores were 119-110, 118-110, and 117-111.
Twenty-five-year-old Canelo, fighting out of the red corner in purple trunks, was too young, too strong, too big, and hit too hard for his 35-year-old opponent.
Fighting out of the black corner in pink trunks trimmed in white, Cotto gave it his all, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Cotto didn’t embarrass himself. He acquitted himself nobly. But except for a few moments in a few rounds, he looked like a great fighter at the end of his career.
Although the fight is being called “epic” and “classic,” no one has taken the time to explain what “epic” and “classic” might possibly mean these days. “Epic” and “classic” fights are all over YouTube. They’re a rarity, however, on pay-per-view. But just as size matters, as evidenced by the fight between Canelo and Cotto, words matter as well, yet you might not know it by glancing at the headlines.
The bout wasn’t a mismatch, but it was not competitive. Cotto moved well. He threw combinations. He had a game plan which he executed to the best of his ability, if not to perfection. But he wasn’t punching through Canelo. On the contrary, his punches, when they landed, seemed to bounce off Canelo.
Canelo isn’t a man of steel, but he might as well have been for all the effect Cotto’s punches had on the red-haired wunderkind.
Despite his tender age and despite his many fights, Canelo continues to improve. He still has defensive liabilities and his footwork leaves something to be desired, but he’s more composed, his fighting is more coherent, and his trump card, then as now, is his power.
Cotto’s flurries were no match for Canelo’s booming punches. The Pride of Puerto Rico took everything Canelo had to offer, there’s no quit in Miguel Cotto, but he was a junior middleweight fighting a super middle or light heavyweight and without a handgun, he had no chance of winning.
But boxing remains a subjective art. What one person sees another does not and vice-versa. Some believe Cotto won the fight, a belief not supported by the fact that he exited the ring before he could be interviewed, and the judges saw it as a romp.
The final punch stats seem to confirm that view.
According to CompuBox, Cotto landed 129 of 629 total punches thrown (21%) to 155 of 484 for Canelo (32%). In the power punch department, where of course Canelo shined, he landed 118 of 298 (40%) to Cotto’s 75 of 255 (29%).
There’s no need for a rematch. There’s also no need for Cotto to keep fighting. He has been a great champion. He has been a great ambassador for the sport. There’s nothing left for him to prove. He can keep fighting. He may even win another title. But Cotto can thrive in retirement. I’m no longer sure he can continue to thrive in the ring.
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.