Tonight’s fight between Miguel Cotto (35-2, 28KOs) vs Ricardo Mayorga (29-7-1, 23KOs) for the WBA Junior Middleweight Championship belt figures to be entertaining while it last. Both weighed in at 154 pounds.
Now, people can can say whatever they want about Ricardo Mayorga but one thing I do give him credit for is that he knows how to sell fights. Let’s be honest here. It is because of his trash talk that a lot of people are going to tune in tonight to see Cotto knock him out and shut him up. Ricardo Mayorga did the job that King and Arum couldn’t do and that is promote the fight. This is what Mayorga does best. He knows how to sell fights and he does it pretty good. Boxing needs fighters like Mayorga to run their mouth and hype the fight so that more people can get into the Sport. As much as we boxing fans don’t like fighters who talk trash and don’t know how to back it up, we get sucked in to the entertaining aspect of Mayorga’s crazy rants and wild predictions.
Tonight’s fight is a big fight for both boxers. For Miguel Cotto, a win and he gets to faced Antonio Margarito. For Mayorga, a win would enable him to jump into the Pacquaio sweepstakes but more importantly gives him the confidence to fight the better 154 pound fighters. Mayorga states that if he wins, he wants to face Pacquaio. I am not sure that will happen but that is a good motivation. Can you imagine how the pre-fight promotion would be if Pac fights Mayorga. What kinds of things would come out Mayorga’s mouth?
I expect Cotto to take a page from Trinidad and De La Hoya to fight Mayorga. Cotto’s sharp jabs and his left hook is going to be the key in the fight. If Cotto can box him inside and work the body, he has a chance of tiring Mayorga and stopping him in the later rounds. For Mayorga, the only chance I see him winning the fight is by landing one lucky wild punch. Mayorga’s defense sucks. He is a straight out brawler. Mayorga is all offense, and his punches come from all angles. If Mayorga is able to fight at a distance and unloads those bombs, it will be interesting to see how Cotto absorbs those punches.
One thing that we must be watching is what would happen if Cotto gets caught with a wild punch. How will he react to it and bounce back from the punch. We know that Mayorga can take a punch and a beating. We don’t know at this point of his career if Cotto can do the same. Would he suffer from the Margarito Syndrome? Would he suddenly become a defensive fighter? We will be able to see an improvement in Cotto based on how he handles adversity in the ring.
If Cotto sticks to his plan and boxes inside and works the body then comes back up with left hooks, I see Cotto defending his belt. If Cotto allows to get sucked into Mayorga’s fight and let’s Mayorga into his head then chances are that Mayorga might pull off the upset. Mayorga has nothing to lose and a lot to gain. A win puts him back into the spotlight. A lost for Cotto would be catastrophic and would put Cotto in a state of depression. Cotto has a lot to lose on this fight. He is the one with the pressure on his shoulders. He is the one that has to execute and do what everyone expects him to do and that is to go out there and knock out Mayorga within the 8 rounds. I expect a lot of fireworks in the first couple of rounds. Cotto should pull this off by the 7-8th round. If Mayorga is able to land huge bombs in the early rounds and is slightly losing by a couple of points in the middle of the rounds, it can get very interesting. At this point, Mayorga has a wild chance of landing one lucky punch and knocking out Cotto. In Boxing, anything is possible. Let us be treated to a great fight, for however long it last.