-Cotto vs. Mayorga on March 12th-
Miguel Cotto‘s recuperation from shoulder surgery is effectively over, and his next opponent has been announced. On March 12, “Junito” will square off with the Nicaraguan thug Ricardo Mayorga. This is an important, must-win fight for both men. The 37 year old Mayorga had apparently reached the end of his career, and was so stymied in his effort to make a comeback that he had been considering a jump to MMA. Beating Cotto and taking the WBA Light Middleweight Title would give him a new lease on life. Questions have dogged Cotto ever since he was beaten to a pulp by Antonio Margarito in 2008. While Cotto might not gain more than a payday from a win over the much-older Mayorga, a loss would signal the beginning of the end for Cotto’s career.
Ricardo Mayorga (29-7-1 with 23 KOs)
37 years old, 5’9″, 70″ reach
Former welterweight champion, former light middleweight champion
“El Matador” must be hard up for cash, because otherwise it is hard to imagine why he would take such a do-or-die encounter. True, Mayorga’s power and brawling style are the sort of features that age well on a boxer. However, his chin has weakened over time. Mayorga might still be able to pitch, but the man can’t catch. Ricardo Mayorga has also lost four of his last eight outings, with his last win of any substance being over a Fernando Vargas who was even farther past his sell-by date than Mayorga. The Nicaraguan is not just over the hill, but also rusty. His December 2010 tune-up against a journeyman was Mayorga’s first outing since Shane Mosley walloped him in 2008.
Miguel Cotto (35-2 with 28 KOs)
30 years old, 5’7″, 67″ reach
Current WBA Light Middleweight Champion, former welterweight and light welterweight champion
Miguel Cotto is widely regarded as damaged goods following his beat-down from a concrete-fisted (literally) Antonio Margarito and his clash with that speedy assassin from the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao. The question is “just how damaged is he?” After all, even if the Yuri Foreman bout proved nothing, Cotto came out on top in a bout with Joshua Clottey in 2009.
“Junito” has clearly lost something in terms of snap, the cost of too many wars, but his main problems are that his face is virtually made out of scar tissue, and personal distractions. When an opponent pops his noggin with a good shot, Cotto’s face turns red and he loses his cool. Cotto is also distracted by domestic troubles and the death of his father. Hopefully, all of that is behind him, and with the help of new trainer Emmanuel Steward, Cotto can make the most of his remaining talent.
Cotto vs. Mayorga Prediction & Analysis
Ricardo Mayorga will be the bigger man in the ring that night, hands down. I expect him to come forward with his usual wild assault, and the outcome of the fight will be decided entirely on how well that assault does in the initial two or three rounds. If Mayorga can connect with hard blows and bust open Cotto, he will seize the initiative and probably keep it, and in so doing will leave Cotto gushing blood and win by stoppage.
However, if Miguel Cotto can box Mayorga the way he did Joshua Clottey, then he will be able to stymie the Nicaraguan thug’s bull rush and start scoring. Clottey is more of a plodder than Mayorga, but by the same token Mayorga lacks any of Clottey’s point defense and is there to be counter-punched. After three or four rounds, the punishment will take much of the steam out of the worn-down Mayorga. In this case, Mayorga will rally later and make another stab at overwhelming Cotto, but fail. Cotto will get cut sooner or later, but will be able to avoid having the cut jack-hammered into a bloody mess and carry a solid points victory.
Mayorga may be the bigger man, but Cotto is more tuned-up and, despite the wear and tear, the younger and fresher of the two fighters. I expect an early fight scare, but Cotto will weather the storm and box his way to victory.
Prediction: Miguel Cotto UD12