Miguel Cotto Should not be Written Off Before the Pacquiao-Cotto fight
The common perception among boxing observers is that Miguel Cotto is past his best. They say he’s an old 28, feeling the affects of a long career before he’d prefer to. Like his countrymen Wilfred Benitez and Felix Trinidad, his chronological age was surpassed by his actual ring age. A tough run at 140 followed by a world-class schedule at 147 have left him worn out. The Margarito beating robbed him of his confidence, chin, and edge. The Clottey fight nudged him a little further down the hill. This is Cotto in decline.
You see a battering like the one he absorbed from Margarito, and you can’t help but think it took a ton out of him. We get caught up in the inertia of the thought until we don’t question it anymore. But has this shot version of Cotto really manifested itself or is all this speculation a misnomer? I don’t see a lot of shot fighters beating top guys like Joshua Clottey, they usually fold under what Clottey brought to the table that night. Shot fighters don’t look as good as Cotto looked during portions of that fight. Sure there’s some evidence suggesting he could be a spent force, but is it possible that he is not? Haven’t the experts been wrong before?
Examples Where the Experts Were Wrong
I think back to Holyfield-Tyson I. Holyfield had lost two of his last four, both losses heavily indicative of a fighter on the slide. The Michael Moorer loss and the rubber-match stoppage to Riddick Bowe saw an almost decrepit-looking Evander struggling to show flashes of his prior form. The perception that he was shopworn was much stronger than whatever we may be thinking about Cotto. Some insiders were fearful about what might happen to Evander against an apparently resurgent Tyson. Were the experts correct? More like: What were they thinking?
Then you think of Shane Mosley, presumably well past his prime, putting on a clinic against Margarito, and it should make us hesitant to give fighters this tag the next time around. Remember what most observers were saying about Mosley before that fight? Does what we saw in the ring have any connection to those opinions?
What were people saying about Bernard Hopkins, age 44, a loser in three of his last five, before he fought Kelly Pavlik? Now take that image and juxtapose it against what we saw in the ring that night. Did Pavlik win any 15-second portion of that fight? Not only were the experts wrong, they were as colossally off-the-mark as one can be.
As a young follower of the sport, I remember watching Roberto Duran, the King of reversing form prove the doubters wrong multiple times. Written off after his early-80’s slump, he came back with another successful title run. Then against Iran Barkley years later, he did the same thing, proving that you can’t handicap human beings like horses. Sure a fighter might have a run of troubling performances, but we often jump the gun in writing a guy off. We don’t account for the human spirit, a force that can lift a man to do things his circumstances shouldn’t allow.
Final Thoughts and Looking to Pacquiao vs. Cotto
So we see it’s not an anomaly when a presumably faded fighter is somehow able to hit the “RESET” button for at least one more night. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. Will it happen with Cotto? This writer tends to think there is some truth to the belief that Cotto is damaged goods. But I urge those who share that thought to consider some of these examples, and realize that if we are wrong, it wouldn’t be that big of a shock.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Ricky Romero / Creative Commons 3.0 License