It's the fight that the boxing media and boxing fans have wished for since about 2007. Yet now, just a few days away from Cotto-Mayweather at the MGM Grand on May 5, some are burying the bout as a mismatch.
The same reporters who screamed "Redemption" after Cotto beat Antonio Margarito last December in the highly-charged rematch of Cotto's 2008 bloody beating are now saying that the Puerto Rican fighter is damaged goods.
So, which is it? Is Miguel Cotto a shot fighter limping into the MGM Grand on Saturday for one more payday? Or is Miguel Cotto a fighter who turned a struggling career around and has regained momentum coming into, arguably, the biggest fight of his career?
Here's a look at both views of Miguel Cotto as he prepares to face Floyd Mayweather:
Miguel Cotto is Rebuilt
After suffering his bloody 2008 beating at the possibly plaster-loaded hands of Margarito, Cotto could've been described as a broken man. Then, following his in-ring dismemberment at the hands of Manny Pacquiao 16-months later, the lid seemed to be closed on a once-elite fighter.
Cotto would move up in weight and win the WBA junior middleweight title against Yuri Foreman. Then, he'd defend it, via stoppage, against Ricardo Mayorga and arch-nemesis, Antonio Margarito.
Now, Two-and-a-half years since the Pacquiao loss, Cotto has put enough time between the present and his past struggles to legitimately claim a clean mental slate. Add to that the brief influence of legendary trainer, Emanuel Steward and a family life that has settled down greatly.
Now, a more mature Miguel Cotto, with new trainer Pedro Diaz, is in a much better place as a boxer. No longer a fighter basically training himself amid wave after wave of familial strife, the Miguel Cotto of 2012 is a physically and psychologically healed fighter and, despite the doubters, just as dangerous as he ever was.
Miguel Cotto is Repackaged
Antonio Margarito, whether he wore plaster-coated knuckle pads for their 2008 bout or not, put an end to Miguel Cotto's run as a legitimate elite, world class fighter.
Since that beating, Cotto has been hesitant and gun shy as evidenced by his near-loss to Joshua Clottey and TKO loss to Manny Pacquiao-- two bouts where Cotto resorted to flat-out retreat when pressed.
Victories over a light-punching, Yuri Foreman, who had hurt his right knee in the seventh round of the contest, and a TKO of all bluster, no blister Ricardo Mayorga were marginal wins, at best. Even his supposed "redemption" bout against Margarito was hardly the spectacular feat some had claimed. Margarito, sporting a surgically-repaired eye, was still able to push Cotto backwards and fight a very similar fight to the 2008 bout, only to lose via physician stoppage due to concerns over that damaged eye. On paper, it was a sweet victory. In reality, though, it was merely a paper win.
So, despite the hype surrounding his upcoming bout, Miguel Cotto is really just the same fighter who was physically and mentally damaged by Margarito back in 2008. The packaging may be different, but the man is the same. The same self-doubt and mental paralysis will come back just as soon as he finds himself in a tight spot again.
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Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. He is also a contributor to Fox Sports. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
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