This past weekend’s bout between Miguel Cotto and Daniel Geale showed just how talent Cotto has. Against a much larger man, he was able to use combination punching and power to dismantle his opponent completely in round four. In the first round it looked as if Cotto’s punches might not be powerful enough to keep Geale at a distance, but as Cotto landed more and more targeted shots, Geale began to wilt and was held up by the ropes at the end of round three. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a combination or a punch that dazed Geale in the first place. It was a headbutt. Watching in real time the impact was hard to see, but in the replay it’s unmistakable, with Geale’s head snapping to the left as Cotto pivots upward before throwing an otherwise unimpressive right hook that seemed to floor Geale. I don’t mean to suggest that the result of the fight was affected, but it was certainly accelerated, with Geale finally quitting on his feet after the third knockdown.
This win is said to be setting the stage for a “megafight” with Alvarez. While both fighters command a strong fan base, I’d be surprised if the numbers rivaled Mayweather-Pacquiao, despite what analysts claim. I do think the fight would be a great way of settling the score for both fighters. Cotto had been underappreciated since his brutal defeats against Mayweather and Pacquiao, but he’s been far overhyped since the fiasco of a “fight” with Martinez. Taking on mediocre competition even at the middleweight level is no challenge for someone in Cotto’s class. Alvarez, on the other hand, is touted to be “coming into his man-strength,” as Oscar de la Hoya put it, even though he’s been taking on at least upper-level competition and pushing opponents around the ring, primarily using his power, since 2011 when he knocked out Alfonso Gomez. While no superstar, Gomez had a formidable chin, as did his next opponent, also knocked out, Kermit Cintron. Following those knockouts were an impressive, comprehensive win against Shane Mosley, a knockout against Josesito Lopez, and then decisions over Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara, and knockouts against Alfredo Angulo and James Kirkland. While I do believe that Freddie Roach has been good for Cotto in ways that haven’t served Pacquiao as well, I don’t think he’ll have what it takes to get a win over Alvarez. While Cotto throws hard, Canelo throws harder; where Cotto is accurate, Alvarez can’t miss; and where Cotto is exciting, Alvarez is a thriller. The big fight will live up to the hype, if it’s indeed signed, and we’ll see two fighter’s reputations cleared up once and for all against undeniably legitimate competition.
Speaking of thrilling megafights, I haven’t felt the need to write anything more than the result about the biggest fight in history because it was exactly what I expected, and there was nothing left to do other than be grateful we finally got to see it. Fans all over the world are still criticizing that the fight would have been different, better, if it had happened five years ago when the demand was first high, but these are casual viewers who don’t understand the styles they were watching. The same can be said of those viewers who shelled out the hundred big ones and came away crying foul because there wasn’t a knockout. I truly don’t know what they were expecting to see. Even Pacquiao has been unable to produce knockouts in most of his recent fights, and Mayweather was never known for his power. If you knew what you were watching, then like me, you should have been very satisfied with that fight, even thrilled. Both fighters fought to the best of their pound-for-pound ability (all claims of pre-existing shoulder conditions aside), and we finally saw how the styles matched up in action. As expected, Mayweather was able to throw Pacquiao off his rhythm and avoid any significant damage. The megafight did live up to the hype and some of the biggest questions in boxing have been answered. The only new one it may have left is whether there is anyone left to challenge Mayweather. My votes would probably be for a fight with Mathysse, Brook or Thurman, in that order, but I think he would comprehensively dismantle all of them. Mayweather’s former challenger, Cotto, will be answering some questions about his own status soon, and unfortunately, the answers won’t serve his legacy as well as those in Mayweather’s future.