There’s nothing like a big fight night and tonight offers one that stands to out-shine all others in 2015, even the record-breaking box office business that was Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao.
Whereas Mayweather and Pacquiao waltzed through much of their highly-anticipated bout, Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto are expected to slam dance each other into prizefighting glory when they finally meet in Las Vegas this evening.
Canelo-Cotto stands to be just the kind of anticipated and climactic event that could take boxing clear out of the Mayweather era and into a new, yet familiar place where only in-ring warriors apply for big Pay-Per-View purses and the kind of cross-over fame that “Money” used to dominate the sport.
Giving his thoughts to We Are Regal Radio on tonight’s middleweight championship match, its potential cultural import and everything else is Chicago-based artist, educator and amateur boxing trainer Alex Ayala. Catch him and his brother Fermin working out at the Harrison Park District where they give out lessons.
WARR: How much more action can we expect from Canelo/Cotto than we got from Mayweather and Pacquiao?
AA: This matchup will yield a more action packed fight. Mayweather versus Pacquiao was a boxing tactician’s dream, but it not necessarily a great match-up for casual fans to sit through. There was nothing different that Mayweather did than usual but win in a convincing way with his counter-punching and ring generalship. This Canelo versus Cotto matchup has two aggressive boxer punchers who like to initiate and come forward, it will be a battle of left hooks to the head and body.
WARR: This can be seen as the first major fight of the post-Mayweather era. What could it potentially say about where the fight game is gonna be headed in the near future?
AA: Mayweather had a stranglehold of the divisions at welterweight and jr. middleweight, a couple of the most competitive divisions in boxing, his matches were always a draw for those that appreciated his legacy and for those fans those that sat in front of the television with the hopes of watching him lose. Think of the way fans reacted to Ronda Rousey after seeing her taste defeat for the first time.
Mayweather has claimed to have retired, at least in the meantime, him stepping away will open doors to the upcoming talent that is currently out there in the divisions he dominated in. There is already a tournament being discussed by the WBC to pin the top talent at 147-154 to compete for Mayweather’s belts. This is either a going to put the spotlight on the next best at that weight division, or its just a scheme to buy Mayweather and Pacquiao time to put on an encore.
WARR: What meaning does the Mexico (Canelo)/Puerto Rico (Cotto) rivalry give to this particular fight and is that kind of cultural battle the kind of thing boxing should still have embedded in it in 2015?
AA: We cannot deny the cultural rivalry and competitive legacy that exists between Puerto Rico and Mexico in the sport of boxing. Both have produced great champions and historic matchups.
This match has an intriguing storyline. We have the upcoming star trying to prove himself against the experienced veteran building on his hall-of-fame legacy. This will be another match with high potential for the history books and bragging rights as long as it goes down as an action-packed scrap. Both Mexico and Puerto Rico live thru their athletes and the sport is engrained in their culture in the way of family socials and parties when these match-ups take place.
Boxers can become icons to their people as long as the athlete puts forth his best effort to entertain and win, everybody loves a winner. There is also a lot at stake for the promotions putting this on. Boxing is looking to crown the newest “face of boxing,” this match can either make or break the efforts of Golden Boy to crown Canelo as that face after Canelo previously failed to win against Mayweather and had a questionable win against Erislandy Lara.
WARR: Could we be surprised in this fight in anyway like we were by the Ronda Rousey KO last week?
AA: The Rousey KO by Holly Holm was savored by those that wanted to see Rousey lose and it goes down as one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. As a boxing enthusiast, I could appreciate the perfect fight plan executed by Holm to make Rousey look vulnerable and disadvantaged. It was all done with timing and fundamentals, it was truly a beautiful thing to watch.
With this match-up, I don’t see how people are having Cotto as the underdog and Canelo as a 2-1 favorite to win. On paper, it seems like an even match-up. A KO that puts a fighter out for the count would definitely produce a loud statement by either fighter.
WARR: What’s your prediction for Canelo/Cotto?
AA: In the words of Cotto, “this is just another match.” I have Cotto avenging his older brother’s loss to Canelo in 2010. Cotto has the championship fight experience, is more polished and skilled and has the Olympic amateur pedigree, this means that he has been accustomed to facing top opposition for a much longer time than Canelo.
If you use Mayweather as a measuring stick for both, Cotto put up a more competitive effort. Cotto has had to bounce back with resiliency from tough loses and has a hall-of-fame coach in his corner in Freddie Roach. All of this makes a big difference and it’s why I see Cotto winning this one, I expect my card to be 115-113 in favor of Cotto.
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