SAN DIEGO, June 6, 2014 – Last year’s middleweight title fight victory by Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico over a hobbled Sergio Martinez of Argentina restored his reputation, made him the lineal champion, the first four division champion ever from Puerto Rico, and resurrected his career. Not bad for one night in the ring.
One full year has passed without Cotto getting back in front of the fans and staying relevant. Of course boxing heads wanted him to fight a big name like Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin, but something would have been better than nothing. When Australian middleweight Daniel Geale got the nod at a 157 pound catchweight, the public let out a collective sigh of disappointment.
At least Cotto is back in the ring and in front of his devoted fans in New York at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which will be televised Saturday on HBO at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Catchweights seem to be all the rage these days, don’t they? No one likes them, but to make fights they’ve become a necessary evil. Cotto (39-4, 32 KOs) can get a payday without putting his valuable WBC lineal title at risk aginst the naturally bigger Geale (31-3, 16 KOs).
Geale will have a weight, height, and reach advantage over Cotto, and they will mean nothing. Cotto doesn’t have a lot to fear from Geale’s power, and he will have the edge in experience. The veteran’s skillful approach in the ring will allow him to strike at Geale, who fights in an aggressive manner but leaves himself vulnerable, as he did with Gennady Golovkin who scored on body shots and eventually a knockout that was a counterpunch off a solid Geale right hand.
The fight sets up a fascinating dynamic in the division, one of boxing’s best at the moment. Yes, Cotto is the lineal middleweight champion, despite not being anything close to a natural middleweight. The best middleweight, titles aside, is Golovkin, who dismantled Geale with ease. If Cotto does anything less, this bout will not advance his reputation. It will merely buy him time to make a decent matchup this fall.
Alvarez’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya says talks have already started and he will be ringside Saturday in Brooklyn. Cotto vs. Canelo would be the biggest PPV fight on the books for North American fans – and yes, that’s even assuming Floyd Mayweather fights Amir Khan. Who knows, it isn’t out of the question to see a Mayweather vs. Cotto rematch.
The fight looked like it might be won or lost on the scales. Geale was reported to weight 167 pounds at the seven day weigh in before the fight. He made weight at 157; Cotto weighed 153.6 pounds, which puts him under the junior middleweight limit. Credit to Geale for making weight as agreed. He could have come in heavier, but still not put the title at risk as long as he didn’t hit 160 pounds. Geale said he was a professional, he’d do it and he did. He did seem drained, but the performance will tell whether the effort took any toll. Geale says he’ll rehydrate to 168 pounds for the bout.
See the weigh-in video here. (It starts at about the eight minute mark).
Most fans in Brooklyn will be happy to see their favorite fighter in the ring. No matter the outcome Saturday Cotto’s legacy is solid an unassailable. He earned it and it cannot be taken away. It might get a few dings but a bigger fight later this year would fix those right up.
From the lackluster undercard lineup, HBO is taking a pass on televising any of them. This is the first bout for the network produced by Roc Nation Sports, the new promotional arm of rapper/producer Jay-Z’s empire. Roc Nation wants to put on a good show and if it can’t do so in the ring with athletics, they’ll fill in the gaps with DJs, rappers, and celebrities on hand ringside. You’ll see plenty of them Saturday. I’ll set the under/over on famous faces in the crowd that get air time at a solid dozen.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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