Tensions will be high on November 21 when Puerto Rican-born middleweight champion Miguel Cotto puts his title on the line against Mexican Canelo Alvarez at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Many think this is the biggest fight of the year besides Pacquiao/Mayweather; but it should far outstrip that snooze fest in terms of entertainment value.
At the age of 35, Cotto (40-4) may not be the fighter he was a few years ago. He began his career 32-0 but has lost four times in his last 12 bouts. That said, two of those loses are to Pacquiao and Mayweather, generational talents, and he’s currently on a three-fight win streak (since losing unanimous decisions against Mayweather and Austin Trout in 2012). He earned a TKO over Delvin Rodriguez during his lone fight of 2013, beat Sergio Martinez by a referee technical decision in 2014, and then TKO’ed Daniel Geale in the fourth round in June.
Cotto represented his country at the 2000 Olympics and then won his first world title, the WBC Light Welterweight belt, three years later in 2003. He is the only Puerto Rican to win titles in four weight classes. In 44 career fights, he has 33 wins by knockout. But Sin City hasn’t been kind to Junito, who’s lost three of his last four fights in Vegas.
Alvarez (45-1-1) is a decade younger than Cotto and has lost just once in his career. He was 42-0-1 before losing a majority decision against Mayweather in 2013 (and surrendering the light middleweight title in the process). He has won three straight since then, beating Alfredo Angulo (TKO) and Erislandy Lara (split decision) in 2014, and knocking out James Kirkland in the third round in May. The knockout of Kirkland was the 32nd KO of his career.
Alvarez began boxing as a 13-year-old and won a silver medal at the Junior Mexican Championships in 2004. He became a professional at the tender age of 15, and many of his early matches, in small parts of Mexico, were not documented and therefore not a part of his official record. The heavy-handed youngster supposedly won ten more unofficial matches by knockout.
Odds and Betting Play
Alvarez is a 4/13 favorite and there is very little reason to knock him. He is younger, fighting better at this stage in his career, and has been in the ring with tougher competition recently.
The over/under is 11.5 rounds with the over a 5/9 favorite.
It is tempting to take Cotto given the ostensible value he’s offering, but smart money says Alvarez is coming out with the win. As far as the O/U goes, Alvarez indeed has the power to finish the fight, but a knockout seems somewhat unlikely; Cotta is a savvy vet who’s been stopped just twice in his career, and just once in the last six years (by Pacman in 2009).
(Photo credit: JavaBeans (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)