If I was WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32ko), I might be a slightly worried man right now.
The four weight world champ makes the first defence of the title he won against a crocked Sergio Martinez on June 6th, when he steps in with the extremely capable former 3x world 160lb champ – Australia’s Daniel Geale (31-3, 16ko).
And that isn’t the only problem for Cotto, who has yet to genuinely box at 160lb and is making his first appearance in exactly a year at another catchweight – this time 157 lbs.
Geale’s promoter Gary Shaw has not only reasserted his own fighter’s belief that movement is the key to dethroning the Puerto Rican star – he has also said that the Aussie may blow up to as much as 175lbs on fight night.
With Cotto likely to weigh no more than a couple of pounds over the 157lb on the night – and already giving away 3 inches in height and 4 in reach – it could possibly end grimly for a man who is no more than a big welterweight naturally.
Daniel Geale has massive advantages in that respect.
Shaw said to El Vocero;
“I see Geale moving a lot. He has a lot more movement that Miguel and a lot more reach. Also Miguel could be fighting a guy who could be as high as 175lbs (on the night). It will be interesting to see the effect of the weight in the fight.”
When he spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about Cotto and his own tactics for the fight recently, Geale said;
“I have to be switched on and smart. I have to make him miss, I have to frustrate him. If I stand in front of Cotto, go toe to toe – that’ll play right into his hands.”
“Cotto has pretty good skills, fast hands and everyone knows he’s powerful – so I’m going to make it as hard as I can for him to land those big punches. I’m not going to be a sitting duck. I’ll be punching then moving, then punching again.”
And of his opponent, who has been criticized for seemingly ‘ducking’ Gennady Golovkin – a man he faced, Geale said;
“Cotto is one of those guys I have a lot of respect for. His first fight against Antonio Margarito says plenty about his character. There was a lot of controversy of the hand wraps used (the loaded gloves saga) and while Cotto was hurt – and hurt very badly – he never gave up.”
“And in the 2nd fight Margarito tried to ko him – he went crazy – Cotto used his skills. He boxed smart and it was a good fight. He has my respect as a boxer and a puncher.”
If Geale does as he says he has a massive chance to win this fight – and for me it would not be an upset. Cotto is without doubt a warrior and a quality champion but the two things, size and movement – are going to be absolutely crucial in how this one plays out. As they have been in the past for him – notably against Austin Trout who had similar physical advantages.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Gary Shaw;
“I think this will be a lot like Cotto’s fight with Trout. With a lot of movement – and Miguel has problems with that. That’s what gave him the problems with Trout. Daniel is a good fighter who uses a lot of upper body movement.”
Will it be enough to win the Australian the fight and derail a potential Cotto v Alvarez super-fight in the Autumn/Fall? I think you’d be foolish to put your house on a Miguel Cotto win but it’s going to be a good fight regardless. And while it could go either way, only on June 6th will we truly find out if Cotto can battle through once more.
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