Miguel Cotto: On The 'Brink'?, Or Not What You Think?

miguel cotto18.10.07 - By Vivek Wallace: Explosive.... Thunderous ... Powerful ..... Entertaining ...Dominant. The list goes on. For a young stud who's known for giving fight fans what they want, the list of adjectives are perhaps endless. A professional prize fighter for only 6 years, and already, this young man has placed himself at center stage in the sports 'Battalion of Young Stallions', the very deep welterweight division.

For years, his position among the ranks was carefully crafted, leaving many cynics to believe that he was a bit sheltered, and in a sense non-deserving of the sudden praise that became synonymous with his name. That belief wasn't helped by the fact that his demeanor isn't that of a typical 'KO Artist'. A family man and moderate outside of the ring, the young Miguel has demonstrated the sheer ability to go from a rather 'quiet' storm to a brute 'hurricane' inside.

On November 10th, in the world renowned Madison Square Garden, Miguel Cotto will face what is arguably his stiffest boxing challenge to date. For years he pounded lower level opponents. As the questions increased, so did his level of competition, as he faced a number of "Mid-Range" fighters. Fighters in the likes Victoriano Sosa (37-3-2), Carlos Maussa (17-0), DeMarcus Corley (29-3-1), and Lovemore N'Dou (38-6-1). With the rumblings of his abilities ceasing to slow down, he stepped up his level of competition once again, taking on many "B - Level" fighters such as the hard hitting Ricardo Torres (28-0), Paul Malignaggi (21-0), and Carlos Quintana (23-0). Then after polishing off this "B" list of fighters, Cotto finally went on to conquer the best 'bridge' fighter in the game, Zab Judah. (I use the term 'bridge' because there's no better example of a fighter who sits firmly entrenched - without the ability to crossover - between the "B" list fighters and the actual elite in the sport).

Despite the resume', the one thing that separates each of these men from the plateau that Cotto now awaits is the fact that although most of them were undefeated, much like Cotto, none had ever truly tested the waters on the Tier 1 side. Cynics hold this against Cotto, but it should be noted that he has done his job by defeating each of these men to separate himself from the pack. Now, here he stands on the brink of stardom and a notch away from being able to solidify his legacy for a long time to come. He's handled speed (Zab), he's handled power (Torres), he's handled craftiness (Malignaggi), and he's handled a seasoned vet (Corley). Despite passing those test with flying colors, the thing that separates this new task is totality. Totality in the sense that the man he now stands across from - Shane Mosley - encompasses each of those things in one. A true aggregate.

For the Cotto 'faithful', this is their man and their sticking with him. For the cynics, the questions continue. For those of us who reside somewhere in the middle, this is the situation we all crave for, considering that this is the type of moment where stars are born. Does Cotto have it in him to be part of that Tier 1 group of fighters? Yes. Does he still have questions to answer about his fight game? Yes. Can those questions be answered by a helluva fight that shines as his careers defining moment? Yes. Years ago we saw his opponent define his own career against the seemingly invincible Oscar Dela Hoya while facing the same odds. Now, we await the evening of November 10th to see if the young Cotto can also put his indelible mark on the sport. Ready or not Miguel, you now sit on the brink. This is your defining moment. Now it's time for you to let the world know how you wish to be defined.

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Article posted on 18.10.2007

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