Thursday, 04 June 2015 00:09

Miguel Cotto: Has the criticism been fair?

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This Saturday night, WBC and lineal middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) returns to the ring for the first time in a year to defend his title against Daniel Geale (31-3, 16 KOs) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn NY.

The fight will be fought at a catch weight of 157 pounds, two pounds lower than the 159 lb catch weight for Cotto's title-taking win over Sergio Martinez last year.

(Image courtesy of HBO)

Forcing Geale, a true middleweight, to come down to 157 pounds has brought on more backlash towards Cotto since his reign as middleweight champion.

Since winning the title, Cotto has received criticism for presumably backing out of negotiations for a potential mega fight with Canelo Alvarez as well as for his presumed unwillingness to fight WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in a unification bout.

Although Cotto is the lineal middleweight champion, Golovkin is consensus best middleweight in the world.

If you’re a Cotto supporter, you find this criticism unwarranted considering Cotto has faced just about every significant fighter at or around his weight class throughout his career.

He is the only man to face Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley and Sergio Martinez.

 

His backers might also insist that Cotto is not a true middleweight and, at this stage of his career, has the right to dictate terms for his fights. 

If you’re a critic, you probably feel Cotto has acted more like a diva or businessman than a prizefighter over the past year. You might also say if he has no intention of facing the best opposition at middleweight, such as GGG, he should vacate his title and drop back down to junior middleweight.

But regardless of which side one takes, Cotto, in fighting Geale, is facing a legitimate threat to his middleweight title.

It's expected that Geale will rehydrate up to 170-175 pounds which would make him the biggest opponent Cotto’s ever faced. Geale is also a high volume puncher who can throw 80 or more punches in a round.

Despite being the smaller man and fighting for the first time in a year, fans will be looking for Cotto to look impressive against Geale.

And whether it’s fair or not, Cotto’s performance will be judged by and compared to GGG's third round knockout of Geale last July.

If Cotto wins - and wins impressively - it will be reassurance that he is a legit middleweight champion. But if he struggles or loses, then it will give merit to those who have been saying he only won the title because he faced an injured and shot Martinez, and that GGG is the one and true middleweight champion.

Saturday night will go a long way in defining Cotto as a middleweight.

Jason Leach

I was born in Queens NY, but currently reside in Hackensack NJ. Became a diehard boxing fan in the 1980’s watching Sugar Ray Leonard and Mike Tyson.

I’ve enjoyed watching and talking about sports for as long as I can remember. In late 2012 I began to pursue a sports writing career with the Harlem Times. Within a few months I was covering events such as the Big East Tournament and the Adrien Broner vs. Paulie Malignaggi fight at the Barclays Center.

Love boxing because of the Sweet Science, the history of great champions, and knowing at any moment a fight can be over with one punch.