|Miguel Cotto will be entering Saturday night’s fight with a lot of weight on his shoulders. Cotto must follow Ricky Hatton’s great show, face a former opponent who defeated him in his Olympic days, conquer the challenge of making another positive impression on the junior welterweight division, fight on a card that rivals a Mike Tyson|
card, all the while knowing that he is on the cusp of being Puerto Rico's next boxing giant. Cotto has paved his way to rightful recognition in an outstanding weight class, yet, he still has a long way to go to gain the acceptance and respect as the ruling junior welterweight. In comparison to his 2000 Olympic class, Cotto has entered the ring with the most durable and difficult opposition. Lovemore N 'Dou really placed himself, along with his competitive style into the ring with a patient Cotto. Victoriano Sosa, who at the time some people thought would be a quality test for Cotto, turned out to be a four round workout. Kelson Pinto and the hard-hitting Randall Bailey really raised the bar and placed a lot of attention on the growth of Cotto as a fighter. He defeated Pinto with a technical knockout in the sixth round and matched that with another sixth round demolition of Bailey.
As Cotto stayed active and fought quality opposition often, he increased his boxing stock and accepted a fight with DeMarcus Corley. This fight would be the one that raised concern on the A+ boxing student Miguel Cotto. Corley landed some decent shots and at one time, it appeared as if he stunned Cotto. Some people thought Corley had an edge and an opportunity to earn a shocking win, but, that would be a little premature. No matter how you try to redesign the fight, mentally or through watching the recorded version, Cotto did defeat Corley.
If the Corley vs. Cotto fight went the distance and the scorecards were close, then you have the leverage to dispute the decision. However, who is to say Cotto would not have knocked Corley out. Now, do you see the point? We can play Spielberg and redirect the fight over and over, but, it does nothing. Corley protested and at one point in time, a rematch seemed possible. However, Cotto places a lot of responsibility into his promoters and they thought that Corley vs. Cotto II would do little for them in terms of earning a financial profit. Yes, it is wrong and goes against matching fights of substance and allowing a boxer to prove himself against controversy, but, it is boxing politics.
Nevertheless, Corley did present a decent and courageous fight. Now, we are in the present, and Cotto has a tough fight on his hands with Mohamad Abdulaev. This fight will be a stepping-stone for whoever comes out the winner. Abdulaev’s defeat of Cotto in the Olympics enhances his belief that he knows the movements and mechanics of Cotto. Will Cotto present his patience and power on Abdulaev or will he become punch shy and clam up, afraid of his old foe’s boxing abilities.
This fight has the makings of being a very competitive and bold fight. Somebody from this fight will be the next big junior welterweight, only adding pressure and determination on both of these gifted fighters. If you are expecting an Olympic textbook fight, you need to rethink. This fight here is not for a medal, it is for the big prize of earning a potential fight with Hatton, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Floyd Mayweather or Arturo Gatti, and that pound-for-pound status is a little higher than a gold medal. As much as I am against the promoter's dictatorship in boxing, I must send out credit to them for supplying us for the second straight week, another great match-up, please enjoy.
Shaun Rico LaWhorn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org