Mancuso: Cotto dominance now leads to fight with Canelo

Brooklyn, New York:  Miguel Cotto with a dominating fourth round stoppage of Daniel Geale Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn showed he is indeed a legitimate middleweight and ready for perhaps one more mega pay-per-view bout.

And before Cotto showed his dominance, it was known that a mega fight would be in the plans for Cotto and Canelo Alvarez at some point soon. Oscar De La Hoya, promoter of Alvarez, and head of Golden Boy Promotions, said the mega fight with the Mexican Alvarez and Cotto of Caguas Puerto Rico will be huge.

Boxing needs another huge fight after the much hyped and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao welterweight title title failed to live to expectations in early May. Alvarez, though would probably be expected to fight at 160, the middleweight limit to get a shot at Cotto’s WBC title.

De La Hoya, at ringside after the fight said about a Cotto-Alvarez meeting, “It’s the biggest fight in boxing after Mayweather-Pacquiao. But the difference is that with Cotto-Canelo, you are guaranteed action.”

The reality is, Miguel Cotto still after all these years, is a legitimate champion at 160. And the first fighter from Puerto Rico to win titles in four different weight classes is more aggressive and powerful since taking on the renowned Freddie Roach as his trainer in their third fight working together.

Cotto knocked Geale to the canvas twice in round four. The first with a left hook and followed up with a barrage of punches that ultimately led to the stoppage and ending at 1:28 of the round. It was the first title defense for Cotto of his WBC middleweight crown that he won last June at Madison Square Garden when he dethroned Sergio Martinez, and the layoff did not seem to have any impact on his performance.

“I threw the left and he threw his right hand down at the same time,” commented Cotto about the knockdown. He also thanked Roach for the aggression that continued after the first knockdown.

Said Cotto: “Roach is the best for my career. He made me better than ever  Freddie you are the best thing that happened to me. Freddie has made me better at everything.  I knew after the first round I needed to get more aggressive.”

Cotto, 40-4,33 KO’s, was asked about a possible Canelo Alvarez bout. That fight seems more possible, though waiting and possible after an Alvarez fight, assuming Cotto wins, is a  middleweight title unification showdown  with Gennady Golovkin.
At this juncture of his career and with a new promotional deal, Cotto will go with the best offer, and a fight with Alvarez is the most lucrative. It would be a premiere fight that will draw interest in the Latino market among boxing fans with Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage.
“Canelo will be just another fight,” Cotto said.  “If the people want the fight to happen it will. “Triple G” why not?” Cotto also said he is a middleweight when asked if that was more suitable to fight at a higher weight, if indeed a fight with Alvarez is made.

The numbers told the story in Cotto’s first  defense of the middleweight title. He went to the body and listened to his Hall of Fame trainer.  In that final round. Cotto landed 17 of 34 power shots, and as Cotto said about his trainer, “Roach wanted to see more aggression.  Thats his style and that’s what I like about him.”

It was the first fight for Cotto under his new promoter, Roc Nation Sports and the 12,171 fans were mostly in support of the champion. It was his first title defense in Brooklyn after previously winning 9-of-10 bouts at Madison Square Garden where he drew over 145,000 fans in the span of seven years with previous promoter Top Rank.

“Being away training in Los Angeles for 10 weeks and coming here and winning like this was a great thrill,” said Cotto. “Freddie Roach has made me better at everything. After the first round I knew that I needed to get more aggressive. I tried to do my best. I tried very hard. I’m in the best shape of my life, like the Cotto of ’04.”

At 34-years of age, Cotto showed no signs of a declining fighter.  He was much more aggressive against Geale, more powerful than he showed in the fight with Martinez. Geale said, Cotto hit hard and “I am so disappointed. It went so fast and I am extremely disappointed.”

And it can be noted that Geale may have not been deserving of the title opportunity as it was his second straight early disposal via TKO in New York City. Golovkin stopped Geale with a third round TKO last July at Madison Square Garden in the third round.

Regardless, that did not take away from this latest and dominating win for Cotto as another mega fight for the champion is on the horizon.

Vasquez Jr. loses unanimous decision in Brooklyn: On the undercard of the Miguel Cotto- Daniel Geale middleweight title bout at Barclays Center Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. the 30-year old former champion from Bayamon Puerto Rico, and son of the former multi- title holder, lost an eight-round unanimous decision to Fernando Vargas of Tijuana Mexico.
Judges at ringside scored the bout 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75 for Vargas, 30-9-2.

In his last bout back in November, Vasquez scored a majority decision win over Jonathan Arrellano in Caguas. The former champion dropped to 24-5-1  and with the loss may have lost an opportunity to challenge for another title in the division.

Comment Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso  Twitter@Ring786

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich has covered countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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