Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Miguel Cotto vs. Saul Canelo Superfight Or Super Farce?

By Peter Silkov

It’s been billed as one of the year’s most anticipated showdowns, a real genuine ‘superfight’ from which it is hard top pick a clear winner.  Despite the initial good vibes that this clash seemed to provoke, the shine soon began to fade from it. First there was the long protracted negotiations between the two fighters, which at one point began to resemble the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao debacle.  Eventually, both men agreed to the terms enough so that the fight could go ahead, but only after there was a ‘catch-weight’ clause pinned onto the fight that gave it a 155- pound weight limit.  With the fight supposedly being for Miguel Cotto’s 40(33koes)-4, WBC world middleweight championship, which has a 160-pound weight limit, the catch-weight clause was a contentious issue, how can both fighters contest the 160 title when the fight is made at 155 pounds. Sadly, it seems that the last vestige of integrity in boxing’s weight divisions is slipping away, if they are a big enough name, fighters can now change the weight limits of their division’s when it suits them.

It’s an irony that Saul Alvarez 45(32koes)-2-1, protests that he is not large enough to be considered a true middleweight, yet it is well known that by fight time he re-hydrates to well over 170 pounds. This is actually heavier than what Gennady Golovkin re-hydrates to in the last hours before fight time.

At least we know that, for his part, Cotto is indeed a small middleweight, although such things were simply shrugged off by boxers of previous eras.  The truth is that the real reason behind the 155-pound limit for this contest is that both men’s disinclination to get into the ring with WBO and WBA world middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin. The 155 ‘catchweight’ limit for Saturday’s fight is a convenient excuse for both men to use as to why they will not fight Golovkin.  'We are too small!' they are both trying to say, but the truth is that there is very little size difference between Cotto and GGG and in the case of Alvarez, if anything the Mexican is in truth the bigger man.  Alvarez certainly weighs as much, if not more, than Golovkin, when he enters the ring for his fights.  But it is precisely this size advantage that Alvarez has over most of his opponents, that makes him unwilling to face Golovkin.

With GGG the interim WBC champion, and the number one challenger for the WBC title, it is perhaps not surprising that the general boxing public is inclined to be more interested in either Canelo or Cotto taking on the unbeaten Golovkin, than they are watching both men fighting each other.  It is interesting to note that, while Cotto vs. Canelo has generated interest, it has by no means proved to be the blockbusting sell out that some might have believed it would be. The reason for this could be that the fans are somewhat jaded and disenchanted by both men’s avoidance of Golovkin.    

The fight suffered another blow to its credibility on Tuesday, when just 4 days before fight night, the WBC announced that they had withdrawn recognition from Miguel Cotto as being their champion. The reason for this seems to be quite simply that Cotto has refused to pay the sanctioning fees demanded by the WBC, which amounted to 300,000 dollars.  This is in addition to a hefty 800,000 dollars that Cotto was asked to pay Golovkin in step aside money. The amount itself seems to be vast, even taking into account the fact that Cotto with be picking up around about 30 million collars for this contest.  From the WBC’s point of view, Cotto is refusing to comply with the very rules that he has always played along by when it has suited him. 

The WBC has been especially indulgent of Cotto since he won this title from a stricken Sergio Martinez 18 months ago.  Cotto has defended the title just once so far, (a one-sided blowout of Daniel Geale) and was allowed to impose his own weight limit onto the fight.  Now, when the rules are not so advantageous to him, Cotto seems to bypass them.  It is worth remembering that the sanctioning fees are something that every champion has to abide by and indeed this is how Cotto came by the WBC title in first place.  It is a distasteful development, which leaves the WBC title vacant, with only Canelo able to claim the title should be beat Cotto.  If Cotto wins the match, the WBC title will still be registered as vacant.  Also up for grabs will be The Ring magazine belt, a prestigious belt in its time, as it signifies the acceptance of boxing's most famous magazine.  However today that prestige is muddied, as The Ring is owned by Oscar De la Hoya, Saul Alvarez's promoter and mentor, hardly a recipe for unbiased fairness and integrity.  Will Cotto keep hold of The Ring belt if he wins the fight?.  It seems doubtful, yet it would also seem somewhat perverse if Cotto were to be stripped of The Ring belt, which should be independent coming under any influence from any of boxing's world bodies.  But again, The Ring is now owned by De La Hoya.

With hindsight, this is probably not such a blow for Cotto, who seems to have no intention of fighting Golovkin should he beat Alvarez on Saturday. Indeed it would be no surprise to see Cotto announce his retirement on after the fight, no matter what the result.

The fight between Cotto and Canelo has definitely suffered as a result of the political and financial wrangling. Most tellingly is the feeling that whoever wins, it will not decide who is the best 160-pounder upon the planet, until Gennedy Golovkin is involved in a showdown with Saturday’s winner.

Away from all the boxing politics, Saturday’s match is an intriguing contest. It is difficult to pick a sure winner.  While Cotto has the advantage in experience when it comes to fighting against big name opposition, Canelo has the advantage of youth and size against Cotto.

Canelo seems to have just too much size and youth for Cotto, but this fight should be entertaining while it lasts. Look for a Canelo victory via a late round stoppage, somewhere after the 9th or 10 rounds.

Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to


  1. There is definitely a size difference between cotto and GGG. Cotto is a 154 guy. But that size difference is no different than him against canelo.

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