Author: MARK LYONS
As the year winds down we still have some major events ahead of us, one of them takes place tomorrow night when Miguel Cotto takes on Austin Trout in a Jr. Middleweight unification fight. I can’t tell you which alphabet belts are up for grabs and I don’t care to look it up, let’s just say two good fighters are squaring off in a significant match up. A match up that has carried an eerie feeling of Shane Mosley versus Winky Wright for me since the moment I saw it was signed.
Miguel Cotto is one of the few names that resonate beyond the hardcore faction of boxing fans. In today’s sport, where top guys fight twice a year and one loss means you suck to the majority of fans, when a guy of Cotto’s stature is taking on a relative unknown it usually means it’s a soft touch. That’s not the kind of fighter Miguel Cotto is and he should be applauded for it. Austin Trout is a dangerous southpaw with nothing to lose and Cotto is fighting him because he deserves the opportunity and Miguel always seeks the utmost challenge.
That one loss mentality of modern Boxing fans couldn’t be more evident than in the case of Miguel Cotto. He’s been “shot”, “exposed” and “finished” a few times over. The tales of his demise were always premature. What I’ve seen is a fighter display more versatility than most thought he possessed. As he progressed up in weight he was no longer able to just bull people over with physicality and has had to rely more on his Boxing skills. That isn’t shot or gun shy, it’s called adapting and he is a guy that never seems to get his due from the masses. He damn sure will get his props from a raucous New York crowd that always produces a great atmosphere for a fight.
While I don’t think he has more than a few more years at the top, I haven’t seen a bit of slippage in Cotto. His major weakness is a little more pronounced now that he is boxing more than slugging and that is his inability to move and punch at the same time; against Trout that shouldn’t be an issue as Miguel should be on his front foot looking to bang the body and break his foe down.
Austin Trout is a young, unbeaten fighter who is high on skills and low on publicity. He too is subject to the armchair scrutiny of keyboard warriors who deem his victories over fighters like Delvin Rodriguez dull and use that as an indicator of his inability to match skills with the elite. I won’t lie, that fight was dull but it was also a concise victory over a viable opponent and that’s the kind of outing you can expect from a fighter with Austin’s style. The danger in categorizing guys like Trout and Winky(I know he hasn’t yet reached that level) is that a lot of times those guys are able to maintain their level as they upgrade in opposition. The same “dull” stuff works.
Austin will carry a significant reach advantage into this fight and the plan has to be to keep Miguel on the end of his southpaw jab. That being said, you have to get the respect of a fighter like Cotto or he will walk right through you. So I’m guessing Trout will stand his ground more early to let Cotto know he is there and then go into his true game plan of out-boxing the Puerto Rican icon.
This is really a difficult fight for me to visualize, one thing’s for sure- Cotto doesn’t do dull. I’m expecting quite a few momentum shifts and a back and forth battle between Trout’s jab and Miguel’s beautiful combinations. I’m very close to pulling the trigger on the upset but I think Cotto’s body work will pay dividends late, not to mention a close fight is unlikely to go against him, and he will edge out a tough decision win that should elevate both fighters but will more than likely add another chapter to the Miguel Cotto is “shot” internet saga.
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