Just a bit of a rant, but I've become Miguel Cotto gaga recently and much more so after the Martinez fight. I mean the man has accumulated quite a career! You might as well call him Miguel "El Gato" Cotto because the man has 9 lives! He must have looked like he was at the crossroads for retirement at least 3-4 times now and at moments in and out of the ring that would have made much younger, inexperienced fighters quit in a heartbeat. In fact, the only person to match his tenaciousness is Paulie Malignaggi and perhaps they've led parallel paths in their given career.
Top Miguel Cotto moments:
1.) I first heard about him as this strong, intense Puerto Rican hitter back in 2006. I heard he was fighting Zab Judah and thought surely Judah, after his one year suspension, will bust a cap in his ass. Of course, that didn't happen but he passed the test.
2.) The Mosley fight: simply a war of nutrition, and it was Mosley's overhand right and lead left hook versus Cotto's left hook and combinations to the body. I thought it could have been a draw or one round in favor of Cotto (maybe two I'd have to rewatch it).
3.) Alfonso Gomez fight: he handled him SO easily as if he was sparring with a kid. It seemed he was operating in 2nd or 3rd gear and having an easy time. Gomez just couldn't handle his body attack nor the huge difference in class.
4.) First Margarito fight: Cotto boxed beautifully for 5 rounds and showed why he was the best welterweight in the world. Then Cotto just destroyed his prime.
5.) Looked back at the Ricardo Torres fight: talk about an action fight that SHOULD have been a similar place marker for Victor Ortiz over Maidana had Victor had that same type of internal resilience that Cotto showed throughout his career (plus Ortiz had power in both hands, was faster, and seemed physically stronger than Cotto at 140lbs). Torres was a crazy fight and a real slug fest!
6.) Floyd fight: I had Cotto 7-5. Cotto bulled him along the ropes, landed the clean shot here and there and used activity and aggression and partial lands to control the tempo and the ring. Floyd's shots and counters didn't move him until Round 12, so I gave Cotto a shit ton of rounds due to Floyd's inactivity and occasionally getting hit. Cotto outdid the best fighter in the world and didn't get much credit for it. My favorite part was in the mid rounds when Floyd felt the urgency to perform a late round rally and forced Cotto on his back foot. Cotto dodged all his shots, threw some jabs and taunted him at the end - end of Floyd's dominance.
7.) The fact that he could have and SHOULD have quit after: the Margarito fight, the Pacquiao fight, the Floyd fight (even though that was an unexpected performance and a high point for him performance-wise), and the Trout fight. Just amazing that he keeps coming back when people have counted him out. He's also been through: Evangelista Cotto, Joe Santiago, Manny Steward, and finally Pedro Diaz before finding Freddie Roach.
I would say Miguel Cotto is an underrated elite fighter; above average talent with exception heart and resilience coupled with intelligence in and outside the ring. He's underrated in pretty much the same way that Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz were overrated. Many fans tend to gravitate towards fighters that have standout talent, but not necessarily stand out internal qualities nor skills (Bhop being another one, maybe Andre Ward even though talent has the elite talent with elite everything else).
Field Notes from Last night (Be free to post your experiences last night!):
So I arrive into town around 5:30pm. I realize a few things: Pakin can't make it because his f'n flight was cancelled, that I now have $1,500 worth of tickets without a dance partner and I don't care to resell the tickets. I finally had a few people want to go: a few boxing fans I met at a Kinko's where I picked up the tickets sent from P-bomb, and I had to perform work (let's call them TPS reports), a mutual acquaintance who DOESN'T follow boxing but somehow assumed he was a shoe in for the fight spot (he tried to come down from Long Island, I had to disappoint hiim, that would have been a waste, as is people's suggestion of taking a hot woman... sorry, but getting laid uses a different part of my brain, it's all boxing all day here), and then my friend, amateur MMA fighter (and former amateur WKA national champion) Yuting - his favorite fighter is Bernard Hopkins and get this: Andre Ward! (2015!) He boxes in local gyms, trains wrestling, and fights in Sanshou/Muay Thai/MMA also. Pretty all around good fighter. ALSO: it was at this moment in Kinkos that I wanted to find someone from BLH to take the place of Pakin, but sadly Matt Miller answered the call 1.5 hours after I posted! Too bad! Maybe next time. I was dead serious in giving a $750 ticket over to someone here:
Anyway, I'm still working at Kinko's at 8:15pm and I'm like fuck it, I have to go and take the subway to the Garden. Yuting tells me it's only 2 blocks away. I will have to bring my laptop and work on it from a ringside seat
Andy Lee starts outboxing him; he lands jabs and circles left at times to lure the guy's right hand in which he dips from his waist to avoid and counters with his left hand. He's doing well and the guy just lays him out with a looping right hand and he crashes on his back. Crazy!
I cheer Andy Lee on and he takes over the fight for about 60-70% of the time and then the other guy would just lay it on him again for about 3 more times. Then here comes Andy trying to set up his counter right hand over and over again when he's buzzed and he drops the guy like a sack of potatoes; I don't think I'll ever see a cleaner, crisper knockout in person. It all happened so fast. The crowd is already 70% full and they LOVE that performance and give Andy Lee some love. The first thing after the KO, Andy looks at the crowd and I stand up and give him a number one sign with my hands up, then it hits him and he cheers and runs around the ring, hysterical. This guy who was almost taken out by Craig McEwan (which would have led to a retirement) and beat up badly by Chavez Jr., and here he is at it again. And this guy seemed very experienced, young, and heavy handed. Lights out!
Then it gets fuzzy as my attention goes back to my laptop and I nerd away as one action fight transpires (some real good toe-to-toe action) and that Sosona fight which dragged on forever.
Finally, Cotto WALKS first! I was so surprise despite all the "A-side" talk or maybe it was a gesture: I am a challenger and I am going to beat you silly.
Fight starts and I'm like Sergio is gonna light this guy up! Instead, Cotto finds range immediately and lands that left hook up top - I remember saying Cotto is going to hurt him up top within 4 rounds. I thought it was just silly talk but I've never seen Sergio HURT like that so badly with ONE punch. Sergio drops like a sack of potatoes and judging by his body language (head nodding sharply to himself which indicated he was discouraged or frustrated or know he's in a bad spot) and I see his eyes are a bit hazy and his balance is not completely there. He drops two more times from just the blow of the wind and runs and holds for his life for the rest of the fight.
Besides that, I just saw Cotto do as he pleased and he could never miss that left hook and that occasional straight or looping right hand that lands CLEAN! I saw so much sweat fly off Sergio from those left hooks.
Analyses & Patterns:
1.) Jab as a distractor:
- Cotto used the jab to the body to get Sergio's attention. Unlike Floyd's or other fighter's jabs to the body which can be an annoyance or mild damage/balance deterrent, Cotto's jab is like a hammer. Also, the first stagger in round 1 was caused by Cotto lowering the level of his head and feinting low and looking like he was going to throw a jab and then landing the hook up top (kind of like what: Maidana did to Broner round 2 and what Gonzalez did to Mares round 1).
- Cotto's left hook up top: It came over Sergo's low guard, it countered Sergio's jab, it countered Sergio's right hook, every time Sergio opened up more than two punches Cotto would just let that left hook rip and it never missed. I saw the sweat fly off of Sergio every time he got hit clean. That left hook to the body really hurt Sergio. I was surprised that Cotto's left hook upstairs had relevance against a real middleweight (he never even showed that type of power at 140 or 147lbs). He has now slaughtered two fighters that have never been slaughtered in that way: Rodriguez and Martinez. I also realize that perhaps some fighters are more susceptible to certain kinds of punches or power like the way Mosley was susceptible to Forrest, Duran was to Hearns, Ponce De Leon was susceptible to Juanma and will always be etc.; perhaps it was this way with Sergio as opposed to him purely "being shot."
How can Duran get slaughtered by Hearns but could go 12 rounds with Hagler? WTF?
- Cotto's right hand: the first time he hit Sergio clean in round 1 was with a looping right that went past his guard. He changed up between straight and looping right hands. He just couldn't miss; esp. when he had Sergio against the ropes.
- Slick fighting: I saw moments when Cotto would dodge a 1-2 (jab cross) or 1-2-3 (jab cross hooK) cleanly and snap a jab out that would knock back Sergio head. He did this several times with a lead right hand too after slipping shots - just super clever and such a great method of fighting in the pocket without running and also being economical (not a lot of movement or wasted energy).
- Countering Sergio's left hand: most southpaw-orthodox matchups proceed as each fighter counter each other's cross by dipping from the waisting and coming back over top similar to what Tarver, Russell, Pacquiao (a side step outside can also be done to create space for the counter while also take one out of harm's way: Check 1:34 of this video:
10 Manny Pacquiao Boxing Tricks (via expertboxingvideos)
However, Cotto didn't dip to his right when the left came and then come back over top. He did a few things: he kept his distance so the punch would be out of range, he blocked with his right glove glued to his temple, or he would slip LEFT and throw a looping or sweeping right hand at the same time so that it would land as Sergio's punch was still extending to its imaginary target. I saw Cotto land this about a dozen times. Plus, when Sergio reverted back to combination punching or strictly throwing his jab or right cross Cotto would land counter left hooks up top since Sergio's hands are so low. In other words: Cotto took out ALL of the bullets or punches from Sergios chamber (the left cross, the jab, and the right hand - he doesn't throw uppercuts or any other weird punches). In other words, every time Sergio tried to press the fight or open up more he's get that left hook counter fo' sho!
- Distance : Cotto played with distance. He was ALWAYS either slightly out of range so that Sergio couldn't catch him unless he lunged or got off balance or rushed his punches, OR he would be inside of Sergio's range so that he would avoid the "danger zone' or Sergio's dangerous mid to long range punches and combinations. This partially allowed Sergio to never get a rhythm because he never established range, and because he never established range nor landed shots he never got his timing going the way Cotto did. Cotto never allowed him to find his distance for any length of time.
- Footwork: Cotto's new and improved footwork consists of small shuffles and gallops while always in a set, sideways stance so that he is ready to throw at all times. However, he still remained balanced when he is in motion. The old Cotto liked to waste energy bouncing here and there with his little jig to get his rhythm. Here, Roach took out the squaring up, the unnecessary bouncing, and just had Cotto cut oft the ring nice and slow (he was able to cut off the ring, close distance, or stay out of range with great efficiency and minimal wasted movement). Also, I noticed when Cotto cuts off the ring he doesn't just "meet the guy where he will end up" like how a typical pressure fighter like Santa Cruz or Rios would do; instead of going 90 degrees to the other side to meet the guy he moves at 45 degree-ish angles to catch his opponent and never a wasted movement.
- Right Cross Left Hook combo: this is just a common two sets of punches that can't go wrong against someone who mirrors your stance: the right cross goes in between the guard, and the left hook for orthodox goes around the person's offensively-set-front-hand guard in front of his head. Also the right hand can be looped or swept once the person puts their back glove down the middle and right down the middle if the guy's glove goes to his temple.
- The Probing Jab and Level Changes: simple: Cotto has that probing jab that goes up and down from body to head like how he knocked out Rodriguez. It does a few things, namely blind the opponent, and confuse them as to where he will hit next. He also regularly changed the level of his head, his left hooks, and his punch selection which made it difficult to defend against.
- Disguising the left hook as a jab: Cotto did this beauitfully. He would jab to the body to get Sergio used to defending it and then hook up top, or he would double the jab a few times and then when Sergio got used to the double jab he would hook the second jab. He would also feint with a jab or cross to create openings for the left hook to the body or head and/or throw a series of punches only to set up an opening and position to land that left hook. tt was beautiful.
- Physical strength: Cotto has always been a top heavy kind of fighter which leads to his being physical in the clinch and having very strong shoulders and lats. Despite Floyd being a strong and physical fighter he couldn't push Cotto back to get off the ropes and neither could Sergio. Also, I've never seen anyone muscle Cotto in the clinch or push him back from a clinch. However, being top heavy he also has weaker legs that may tire easily due to how he uses his strength//energy and he and Canelo need to pace themselves as they have upper bodies built for short explosive actions tire over a short period of time.
- Pivoting: sometimes Cotto would throw a 3-5 punch combo and pivot out of the pocket. That was silck boxing.
Possible next opponents:
1.) GGG - murder (in fact I rememer someone yelling during the fight "put him in a body bag!" lol)
2.) Winner of Canelo Lara
3.) Maidana - yum!
4.) Amir Khan
5.) Rematch with Trout - I think this version of Cotto whoops Trout.
6.) Chavez Jr.
12.) Porter (for the last two: yes, he would)
13.) Danny Garcia
16.) Andre Berto
I know a lot of these guys are welterweight-ish, but since Cotto is a welterweight naturally I thought it wouldnt' be a stretch and most opponents would do so for the money.
That's it. That's my Miguel Cotto rant! :D