I expect a close fight where Rodriguez's height and reach give Cotto fits. I can even see myself having Rodriguez ahead on my own scorecard. But I seriously doubt the judges will agree with me. Delvin will carve Miguel's face up but will succumb to Cotto's body work and superior activity. Or the opposite could happen too. This is a tough fight to call. How much does Puerto Rico's last superstar really have left? Cotto UD-12.
Miguel Cotto has been one of my favorite fighters of this generation, a gutsy, skilled, quietly charismatic guy who has been a star because he deserves to be. He didn't avoid anyone -- he fought Mayweather, Pacquiao, Margarito twice, Mosley, Clottey, and Judah just at 147. He also fought Paulie Malignaggi, Carlos Maussa, and Carlos Quintana when they were fellow unbeaten fighters. He faced slick boxers, big punchers. Cotto has never feared any challenge. At this stage of his career, though, Cotto has half a foot out the door already. He's not planning to fight much longer and has an exit strategy in place: three fights and gone. Delvin Rodriguez, a tough, experienced, and credible veteran is fight number one on that journey. Rodriguez really shouldn't win this fight, because Cotto is a much better fighter than he is, but if Miguel is already thinking ahead, Delvin could be at least a minor issue for him, even if he doesn't win. I do think Rodriguez will take a few rounds and make this one somewhat interesting, but in the end Cotto will find a groove and take it home solidly. Cotto UD-12.
Fraser Coffeen, Bloody Elbow
I don't know why, but I keep getting this sneaky suspicion that Cotto is kind of shot. I shouldn't though. He didn't look bad against Mayweather or Trout, he didn't get beat up badly in either of those losses, and he's now working with a great trainer to get himself back. Still, I can't shake the feeling that this is Cotto's last run... and that it's going to end poorly. All that said, does Rodriguez have what it takes to be the man to end it? Not at all - unless Cotto is REALLY shot. And that I don't see. Cotto UD-12.
I really like Cotto and want him to succeed, but I cannot forget how small he is at 154. Even though he is much more talented and the better boxer, the size will mean something in this fight. Rodriguez is going to try to keep Cotto on the end of his jab and hold him when he comes inside. Cotto will attempt to pressure Rodriguez and work him to the ropes where he can do his best work.
I see this being a bit of an ugly fight, with a good amount of clinching and jabbing by Rodriguez. He is going to try his best to make the fight happen at a controlled distance. But as the rounds wear on, his legs will tire a bit and Cotto will keep coming. I don’t think it will be pretty and the scores could be very close, but I like Cotto to pull away late to take a decision based on his activity and consistent pressure. Cotto UD-12.
This fight will come down to how much Cotto has left and how much he wants to win. There's no denying he's been a great fighter, and he may still be a very good fighter, but he's no light-middleweight and looked poor last time out in losing to Austin Trout.
The way Cotto faded down the stretch against Trout may be an indication that he's either in decline through wear and tear or through a lack of desire for hard training. With Cotto's unwillingness to go back down to welterweight, I'd say it looks like a lack of desire. I'd be very surprised if Cotto was unable to get down to 147lbs. Rodriguez is a solid fighter, almost the epitome of fringe world level. He holds significant height and reach advantages over Cotto, both of which he'll need to use to maximum advantage if he's to score an upset here.
Cotto should win, the ease of the win will come down to which Cotto turns up. If Cotto is in top shape and has fire in his belly, he should win via a wide points decision, if he's sluggish and fades the way he did against Trout then it could prove to be a hard night. I'm thinking the second of those is the most likely with Cotto edging a close points decision around the 115-113 mark. Cotto UD-12.