Left-Hook Lounge: Is ‘Canleo’ Ready For Mayweather, and Could Cotto Be Next?

IMG_2071Reggie B. (Dallas, TX): I’m still not sold on Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. I don’t think Trout fought his best fight. Do you think Canelo is ready for a Mayweather fight?

Vivek W. (ESB): I have to be honest and very direct in saying that I simply feel people just aren’t ready to give Saul Alvarez credit. Coming into this fight I knew that Trout would have to be at his best and that he would need to execute somewhat flawlessly to even have a shot. Despite his activity rate, he didn’t do any damage, and furthermore, he didn’t do enough to truly seize the victory from Canelo. I think we have to be honest in saying that the deck was already stacked against him – in the sense that Canelo was the house fighter. It was Mexican “Fiesta” weekend in San Antonio, Canelo is the bigger name and the international name, and despite Trout’s victory over Cotto, Canelo was the one who carried the promotion.

When you enter the ring with this many cards stacked against you, there’s no room for era. Trout started the fight wrong by showing far too much respect. On my radio show hours before the fight one of the main points I focused on with the callers was that Trout would have to come out and make his mark and earn his respect early. He didn’t. He allowed Canelo to, and that’s where his problems started. He didn’t seize the moment, and the sad thing for him is that he may never get a moment this grand again. He has defeated Cotto. What’s left? He won’t get Canelo again any time soon. So at ’54, who can he really build his name with?

I think Canelo proved that he is in fact a steady work in progress. He showed us more head movement. He showed us a good selection of punches. He showed us he can be disciplined enough to refrain from getting in dangerous situations. I thought he showed a lot of growth, but the one area of concern to me is stamina. Down the stretch, he just looked very slow and very tired. There are times when nerves can zap a fighters energy. But he looked very poised from the beginning so it wasn’t nerves. That could hurt him against better competition. And to answer your question about him being ready for Mayweather? Absolutely. He’s as qualified as Ortiz and Guerrero. He certainly has far greater drawing power. Why would anyone say he isn’t ready for Mayweather?

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Talent wise, he brings the necessary heart. We knew that. What he established against Trout is that he also brings the necessary skill. I really think a bout between he and Mayweather is a toss up. A nail-biter at best. Some will take offense to my position but my response is “see me after the Guerrero fight”! Because as of now, we have no idea which Floyd is going to show up. Will it be the one who got banged up by Cotto en route to victory? Will it be the one who got wobbled by Mosley before taking over? What we know is that at 36 and counting, it won’t be the won that defeated Corrales (RIP). All things are relative. Canelo is 23 and right now he’s on the rise. FMW will need to bring his A-game if they square off, because absolutely, he is ready for the Mayweather challenge.

Carlos Z. (Boca Raton, FL): I saw your tweet about Cotto possibly getting a shot at Canelo next. After what Trout did to him, do you think he even has a shot against Canelo?

Vivek W. (ESB): Absolutely. I won’t say it’s a huge shot. But I wouldn’t sit here and say he has no shot either. It’s no secret that the age old adage “styles make fights” is alive and well. And it continues to play a very intricate role in how things play out in the sport today. In Trout, Cotto faced a very dangerous southpaw with a stiff jab and most of all, very little respect for him. In Canelo, Cotto will be facing a man closer to his size, who’s an orthodox fighter, and much more likely to get baited into a dog fight. One other element that looms in the backdrop of this potential affair is the fact that as I previously stated, Canelo seems to have a stamina issue down the stretch.

Cotto just went 12 rounds with Floyd Mayweather and although he was stunned a few times, he was still very much alive and fighting in the 12th round. Under Cuban trainer Pedro Diaz, Cotto appeared to do very well with stamina and conditioning late in fights (Mayweather and Margarito). He’s no longer with Diaz, but I think it’s safe to say whomever he works with will be able to build on the conditioning foundation he set. I really think Cotto can make for an interesting fight against Alvarez. I think his body punching and his warrior spirit will help. More importantly, I think his ability to box and deliver power with both hands will give Canelo more to think about than he did with Trout.

Canelo learned early in the fight against Trout that he was facing a man who couldn’t hurt him. That was the beginning of the end. Now, he would be facing a man who actually packs a decent punch. And enough of a punch to make him respect him. Again, I won’t say that Cotto wins. I will say that Cotto puts in a better performance than we got from Trout. And I will say that the Cotto fight ends much closer. Some wouldn’t agree. But add his style the looming fact that he knows one more loss spells the absolute end and I can assure you, we will see a solid effort and he will go out on his shield like he always has. I think this is the fight we will see next. And I would welcome it at this stage.

Greg N. (Denver, CO): You spoke on FaceBook about Saul Alvarez being “much bigger than Floyd Mayweather” and how he should perhaps consider his middleweight options. How can you justify this statement if Mayweather defeated Cotto at the same weight class?

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Vivek W. (ESB): I think this statement was taken out of context by some. For the record, although I’ve said from day one that this fight is a nail biter for Floyd, my statement was not in any way, shape, or form, an admission that Canelo beats Floyd Mayweather. Neither was it a way of saying Floyd should avoid him. My point of contention all centers around the fact I can’t recall a fighter anywhere in the sport (outside of a Klitschko opponent) who faced a man that out-weighed him by as much as 20lbs on fight night. Against Trout, Canelo entered the ring at 172lbs. The heaviest weight Mayweather has ever entered the ring in his career, and that was only once, was 152lbs.

Few seem to consider this position, but categorically, there are weight classes for a reason. This same type of scenario is what led Pacquiao to go with catchweight stipulations. Unfortunately, Mayweather won’t look in that direction. So this presents an interesting angle on a fight between the two. I’ve always felt it would be a tough fight for Floyd. But considering the weight difference, suddenly I give far more credibility to those who have taken issue with Canelo for facing guys coming up from lower weight classes like Josesito Lopez, Gomez, etc. Clearly, Canelo is much bigger and that has to be in the back of Mayweather’s mind. There’s a reason we didn’t see him jump to take on someone like Martinez, and a few of the others out there.

I think in the case of Canelo it’s the biggest money fight to be made so we can expect to see it made at some point. But no doubt, the fact that FMW has never reached the jr. welterweight limit and has no plan to campaign there regularly, it does make me wonder if there will be any stipulations to come into play in order to make this bout happen. When Dawson called out Ward, he went down in weight. Could Mayweather require Canelo to come to his natural habitat as well? Canelo campaigned there only 3 years ago, so anything is possible. We’ll have to just wait and see! Stay tuned.

(Vivek “Vito” Wallace can be heard live on tonight at 9ET/6PT at Left-Hook Lounge Radio. Also he can be reached at 954.300.5692, vivekwallace@ymail.com, Twitter (@vivekwallace747), Instagram (viveksview), and Facebook).