I know that I'm not going to make any friends posting an anti-Cotto screed, and I know there's nothing brave about betting on the favorite to win the fight. However, I did bet on Sergio, and I was surprised to find that I could put money on Sergio at -200 as a 2:1 favorite! I believe that Sergio is at least a 4:1 favorite and possibly as big as 7:1. I really don't see how the bookmakers and internet posters are giving Cotto such good chances to win.
For starters, Cotto has never fought at middleweight. He was arguably not even a Top 10 junior middleweight. There are several belt-holders (Floyd, Andrade, Baysangurov, Mexican Carlos Molina, and Klappert). There's also Trout, Lara, and Canelo, as well as Kirkland, who should all be favored.
Cotto the Hall of Famer?
For years now, people have been saying that Cotto is a surefire Hall of Famer. However, he only has 38 wins. There's only a handful of fighters who get in to the Hall with that few wins. Some are legends like Joe Frazier and Sugar Ray Leonard, some made it mostly for amateur accomplishments (e.g. Laszlo Papp), and others appear to have made it due to their nationality (e.g. Jeff Fenech from Australia and Barry McGuigan from Ireland).
Cotto the Cherrypicker?
Everyone says that Cotto always fights the best. But he never fought Vernon Forrest, or Paul Williams (who sought out Cotto regularly from 2007 to 2012), Cory Spinks (whose career overlapped Cottos' both at 147 and 154), Angulo (who was asking for Cotto since 2010 and who was actually good before Canelo took his soul), Kostya Tszyu (who was cleaning up 140 in the early 2000s). He never fought JMM. He came up in weight too late to fight Winky. He turned down Canelo for a career-high $10 million payday. He avoided Erislandy Lara, who has called him out for a few years now. He left 140 before the rise of the new generation of killers & stars (Provodnikov, Khan, Mauricio, Postol, Mattyse, Danny Garcia).
A rundown of his recent fights, the superstar latter portion of his career, shows that he just isn't that good anymore and he does have a tendency of selecting aging and injured opponents. He just hasn't done well against fresh opponents.
Sergio Martinez. 39 year-old recovering from hand fractures and multiple knee surgeries returns for a career-ending cash-out fight. Sergio was still on crutches when negotiations with Cotto began. Cottos’ team has openly admitted targeting Sergio in the hopes that Sergio would still be injured on fight night.
Austin Trout. Paulie had it 6-6. Honestly, I found it hard to give Cotto any rounds at all. 11-1 Trout
Floyd Mayweather, 35 years old. Some viewers had this a draw. Cotto won rounds 6 & 8 only. 10-2 Floyd.
Antonio Margarito II. Margarito had previously suffered career-ending injuries in the Pacquiao fight, including a blowout fracture of the orbit, a massive retinal tear, vitreous detachment, and severe lens trauma requiring cataract surgery. Margarito was not medically cleared to fight Cotto, but due to some last-minute behind the scenes shenanigans, the fight was allowed for this shameful cash-out fight. I will admit that I was cheering for Cotto (the "good guy"), but it was a sadistic show with Cotto’s gameplan of targeting Margarito’s eye. Of course, due to the eye injury the fight could not continue.
Ricardo Mayorga. In his prime, Mayorga was one of the beastliest fighters in the world. Mayorga retired after getting knocked out by Mosley. He had back surgery (lumbar spine), but decided to return 2.5 years later at the age of 37 for a cash-out fight against Cotto. Mayorga was still fierce, but Cotto did an excellent job handling the old bull. Mayorga he broke his hand and the fight ended due to injury.
Yuri Foreman. Foreman’s first title defense. Foreman entered the fight with an obvious right knee injury (he was wearing a knee brace and he showed visible signs of impairment). During the fight, his knee gave out several times , and the fight was waived off due to injury…and then, in a display of sadism and extreme referee corruption, the fight was on again! Foreman was brave and fierce, and even landed some decent combinations, but due to injury Foreman was a sitting duck. This was basically a career-ending cash-out fight.
Manny Pacquiao. A prime Pacquiao knocked Cotto down twice and viciously abused Cotto until the fight was stopped. Manny won all 12 rounds, including the "close" Round 1 (Pacquiao’s straight left’s landed harder than Cotto’s jabs).
Joshua Clottey. Clottey outlanded Cotto and won more rounds, but Cotto scored an early knockdown and he finished the show strong. Cotto won by split decision, but this easily could have been a loss.
Michael Jennings. Jennings’ first world title fight. From the opening bell Jennings was bouncing and dancing and running all over the ring, looking incredibly nervous and crossing his feet repeatedly. Jennings stayed out of range the whole fight and couldn’t figure out Cottos’ defense. Cotto was the bigger man in this fight and eventually trapped Jennings and put the hurt on. A good performance by against an overmatched opponent.
Margarito I. Cotto was winning most of the rounds, but Margarito the machine just.wouldn’t.stop, eventually wearing Cotto down and destroying him in a late round. Margarito was possibly cheating.
Alfonso Gomez. Gomez’s first world title fight. Gomez broke his hand 5 months earlier and had undergone hand surgery; his fracture was likely not fully healed on fight night. During training camp a month before the fight, Gomez was hospitalized for over a week with a serious illness. Cotto proceeds to outclass and pound the living crap out of a frail Gomez, who couldn't hurt Cotto at all. After 5 rounds of punishment, Gomez quits on the stool.
Shane Mosley, 36 years old. Cotto’s biggest win. This was not a prime Mosley, but still a world-class fighter. Both fighters land the same quantity of punches, but Mosley lands the harder punches because he can’t miss with that right-hand. Cotto probably takes 7 rounds, giving him a close win in a fight that could have (should have?) been a draw.
Oktay Urkal. Who? A game and crafty 37-year old Turkish fighter decided to fight one last time in a career-ending cash-out fight against Cotto. Cotto slowed down and was unable to stop Urkal. The fight ended in the 11st when Urkal’s corner threw in the towel in protest to point deductions against Urkal.
I used to like Cotto...back when he would terrify his opponent with a relentless body attack. Back when he rocked an Afro and didn't mess with the skin-lightening creams (although not as bad as Sammy Sosa) and tattoos. Now he demands catch-weights and demands to be treated like the champion when really he's the unranked and unproven challenger. He turned Canelo away on the logic that "Canelo is going to be around for a longtime, I can get that fight anytime," not realizing the possibility that the fans and Canelo might not want Cotto anymore after Sergio gets through with him. If Sergio smashes Cotto, is Canelo-Cotto (whoops, I meant Cotto-Canelo) a viable PPV or even a desirable matchup?
For the first time, I'm going to be rooting against Cotto, this Saturday night.