ORLANDO -- Three thought on Miguel Cotto’s third round knockout of Delvin Rodriguez.
Miguel Cotto is back
After back-to-back losses to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout, it was fair to wonder if Cotto, at 32 and a veteran of many bloody wars in the ring, had anything left. Consider that question emphatically answered. Against Delvin Rodriguez, a capable veteran who has been on the wrong end of some bad decisions, Cotto was spectacular. He attacked Rodriguez with blistering body shots early (13 in the first round) and when Rodriguez dropped his guard Cotto punished him to the head. The final CompuBox numbers were big--specifically an 87-26 edge to Cotto in power shots--but they didn’t do this performance justice. Cotto simply obliterated a very capable opponent.
The impact of Freddie Roach was evident
Think a trainer doesn’t matter? Roach’s fingerprints were all over Cotto’s effort. Throughout camp--a camp Roach called the best of his three-decade career--Roach has pushed Cotto to reclaim his old form. He wanted more aggression, he wanted more body shots and he wanted Cotto to go for the kill. That’s exactly what Cotto did. He didn’t let Rodriguez, a decent boxer if given space, any room to operate. And when Rodriguez was rattled, Cotto unleashed a barrage of power shots that put him away. Cotto has said he hopes to finish his career with Roach, and it’s easy to see why.
“The last couple of years, [Cotto] has been like an Olympic fighter, a boxer,” said promoter Bob Arum. “Miguel’s strength has always been his physicality, his ability to hit the the body and his ability to overpower an opponent. Freddie got him back to the old Miguel.”
Cotto--a promotional and network free agent--is one of the most appealing opponents in boxing. He does numbers on networks, generates pay-per-view buys and draws huge crowds in Puerto Rican heavy markets. Consider: Orlando, not a traditional fight city, packed 11,192 fans into the Amway Center. Golden Boy would love to match Cotto up with Saul Alvarez next year. Floyd Mayweather will likely consider a rematch with Cotto in one of his two fights in 2014.
The fight Top Rank wants to put Cotto in could be most appealing: A middleweight title fight against Sergio Martinez. Martinez isn’t a particularly big middleweight and the brawling styles would seem to make for a perfect matchup. After the fight, Cotto mentioned the appeal of a Martinez clash, specifically citing the chance to win a title in a fourth weight class, which is believed to be something no Puerto Rican boxer has done. Moreover, a loss to Martinez in a different division would do little to diminish Cotto’s appeal at 154-pounds, making an Alvarez fight still viable.
One thing is certain: No matter who Cotto aligns himself with, he has set himself up for another monster payday.
-- Chris Mannix