Since four division world champion Miguel Cotto's dominant performance on October 5th, most fervent fight fans have been banging the proverbial boxing drum for an eventual super fight at 154 pounds between the Caguas, Puerto Rico native and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
(Images courtesy of Showtime)
Following Miguel Cotto's thrashing of Sergio Martinez last weekend, fans, many ringside pundits and boxing experts agree that a potential Mexico vs. Puerto Rico match-up would drastically exceed gross proceeds and overall fan interest generated from the June 7 Martinez/Cotto Middleweight contest.
To help further stoke the fascination of the die-hard and casual fight fan, expert trainer James Gogue offers an in-depth preview of an eventual Miguel Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez super-fight at 154 pounds.
Few fight trainers over the past 50 years have understood the 'nuts and bolts' of boxing as well as superstar strategist James Gogue who has 30 years experience in the 'Sweet Science.'
"I know Miguel is currently working with HBO and Top Rank for a reason, but if there's a consensus among fight fans to see a Cotto/Canelo mega-fight at 154 pounds, why not give the great fans of boxing the fight they really want?"
"It's the best possible scenario for the sport of boxing."
"It's a terrific fight within the Junior Middleweight division and has everything a fight fan looks for in a great paring...fanfare, power, skill, and tradition. It's a no lose scenario for not only the fans, but the promoters and fighters as well."
"This is a classic match-up between the effective aggressor and the pocket counter-puncher. Miguel Cotto is at his best when aggressively pursuing his opposition, while breaking them down with short, compact combinations to the body and head."
"But against a superb counter-puncher like Canelo Alvarez, it's not going to be easy for Cotto to impose his usual brand of tenacity. Canelo has surprisingly fast hands and throws creative combinations of his own to the body and head."
"Like Juan Manuel Marquez, Alvarez is a thinking man's Mexican fighter. He mixes up his punches extremely well and throws explosive hooks to the body and head while shooting punches from various angles that are extremely difficult for any opponent to anticipate."
"Both fighters are very explosive and could potentially end any fight with one big punch."
While Gogue identifies the volatility of a Cotto/Canelo pairing, he also sizes up potential strategies for both fighters.
"First of all, if Miguel Cotto thinks he can attack Canelo Alvarez like he did against Delvin Rodriguez in his last outing, he could be looking up at the lights very early in this fight. Cotto has to use more tact when approaching an explosive counter-puncher like Alvarez, who is capable of putting your lights out with one big shot...just ask Josesito Lopez what he thinks of Canelo's power."
"Miguel has to apply intelligent pressure while working his way inside of Canelo's defense, using feints and a mixture of different jabs in sporadic intervals. Because of Canelo's great reflexes and hand-eye coordination, Cotto would have to give the younger fighter more to look at and think about while trying to work his way into punching range."
"Most casual fight fans don't understand how valuable a feint actually is when trying to move into range. When a fighter like Cotto feints with his lead hand, head, or back hand, he essentially throws off the timing and rhythm of his opponent who is basically trying to catch him with a hard shot as he's moving in."
"Cotto cannot be reckless in his assault. He'll have to attack at moments and pull back while electing to box at moments throughout the fight as well. Miguel Cotto must choose to fight passive-aggressively like Bradley did against JMM on Saturday night; using the jab while jumping in and out of range and stepping to the side, out of the direct line of fire."
"If Miguel finds that Canelo is getting the better of the exchanges on the inside, Cotto has to use his experience and versatility to begin using the entire ring. Make the explosive young fighter move his feet and prove that he has the knowledge and conditioning to cut off the ring and fight as the aggressor effectively. Cotto has the skill and athleticism to box while using distance and angles to set traps for an aggressive minded opponent."
Although experienced fight trainer James Gogue recognizes the numerous talents of the future Hall of Famer, he ultimately believes the youth, athleticism, and explosiveness of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will prove to be too much for the Puerto Rican warrior if the young, Mexican fighter makes the most of his time in the gym.
"Canelo is a much better all-around fighter than what we saw displayed on September 14th, when he stepped in the ring with pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. Canelo loves to pick off aggressive fighters with hooks to the body and head, as well as hard, crisp uppercuts on the inside."
"The young fighter is a sharp shooter who combines speed with power. He mixes up his attack, using creative combinations that are very difficult to anticipate. That's really what makes this kid so special in the ring."
"But when facing a real pro like Miguel Cotto, Canelo is going to have to prepare himself to fight for all three minutes of every round. He can't expect to win against an elite level fighter like Miguel Cotto if he doesn't put in the time at the gym. Fights are won and lost in the gym at the world class level."
"Canelo has arrived on the biggest stage of boxing...now he has to prove that he has what it takes to stay there. He has to show that he's dedicated to his craft. He has the talent to succeed at the highest level of the sport, but talent alone isn't good enough against the elite. He has to prepare himself for anything that can and often does happen in the ring."
"If Cotto attempts to work his way inside, Canelo has to pick him off with short, crisp counters on the inside. If his opponent tries to box him from long range, Alvarez has to cut off the ring effectively while working behind the jab. Canelo has a beautiful jab that he can use as a range finder and a weapon. He just has to be prepared for every possible scenario that plays out in the ring, and that preparation only takes place in the gym."
"In case he finds himself in a dogfight with a hard punching fighter like Miguel Cotto, Canelo will have to be in superb condition to take Miguel's best shots if he gets caught with something big. Great physical and mental conditioning always helps a fighter recover quickly in the ring.
This will be paramount when facing an experienced, three division world champion like Miguel Cotto."
"If Canelo gets the most out of his preparation in the gym, I think his skill, strength, and explosiveness will prove to be too much for Miguel Cotto. I can see Canelo winning a unanimous decision or stopping Miguel in the mid to late rounds to conclude what will surely be an exciting slugfest between two of boxing's biggest stars."