With two of boxing’s biggest names and best talents coming into Saturday night’s bout in the middleweight division, there is no doubt fireworks are bound to explode at the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Igniting a boxing rivalry between two Latin countries, dating back 81 years, Miguel Cotto (Puerto Rico) and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (Mexico) are undoubtedly two of boxing’s most electrifying and skillful Latin fighters. They have each built incredibly immense and passionate fan bases around the world.
Cotto 44-4-0 (33 KO) comes into this fight as Puerto Rico’s (although born in Rhode Island, U.S.A) most prolific boxer being the only Puerto Rican fighter to win four titles in four different weight classes. The already decorated champion, with a left hook rivaled by very few, has added even more to his arsenal. This addition came, nearly three years ago, in the form of hall-of-fame trainer Freddie Roach.
Rededicating himself to boxing, Cotto gained a new love for the sport. “Freddy and I create a good chemistry,” said Cotto. “I feel rejuvenated in every aspect of my work”.
Their first test together came in June of 2014 for the middleweight championship of the world against hard-hitting Argentinian, Sergio Martinez. Roaches imprint on Cotto was felt in a flash when he scored three knockdowns in the first round. Facing the Puerto Rican’s new and improved footwork and precise punching accuracy, Martinez’s corner threw in the towel in the 10th. Their next bout was against Australian Daniel Geale, who felt Cotto’s punching power in round 4, and he did not recover. “The guy was a former two time world champion,” Roach confessed. “He’s a good fighter but just wasn’t in my guy’s class”
Saul Alvarez who was given the nickname “Canelo”, which when translated in English means cinnamon, due to his distinct red hair. Don’t let the spiced nickname fool you, once Canelo steps in the ring he transforms from a soft-spoken baby faced 25-year-old, into yet another one of Mexico’s boxing warriors. In his last bout against the heavy handed and always dangerous James Kirkland, Alvarez displayed incredible ring work, as well as smooth, crisp, yet powerful punches, delivering a knockout-of-the-year candidate with an overhand right that knocked Kirkland out before he even hit the canvas.
Nearly 10 years younger than Cotto, the No. 1 junior middleweight in the world, Alvarez has amassed an astonishing record of 45-1-1 (32 KO). This being such a scary number considering he is just now coming into what seems to be the physical prime of his life. The one loss Alvarez suffered was to one of if not the greatest fighter of our generation in Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather also handed Cotto one of his only four losses.
Alvarez, hailing from Guadalajara, Mexico, is by far the countries most famous and beloved athlete as well as one of the most sought after boxers for fans to watch. With his relentless fighting style, incredible power, and combinations that are usually only seen by his opponents on the replay, Alvarez seems to be at the pinnacle of boxing.
“This is a guarantee. Without a doubt, this is a fight,” Alvarez stated. “We are both coming to win. We are both going to fight. We are both going to lay it on the line, and without a doubt, this is a fight for real.”
With Saul weighing in at 155 pounds and Cotto coming in at 153 ½ pounds, don’t be fooled by their seemingly small stature, the punches from these two Giants of the sport will be felt from Nevada all the way to their respective Latin nations. Cotto – Alvarez will be talked about for years to come.