Well here we go again, second weekend in a row with a great matchup as Sugar Shane Mosley 44-4 (37 KO’s) takes on unbeaten Miguel Cotto 30-0 (25 KO’s) at storied Madison Square Garden in New York.
The two break down as follows. Physically most of the advantages go to Sugar Shane who at 5’9” (maybe in shoes) will have a few inches on the 5’7” (maybe in shoes) Cotto. Mosley also will have a decided 7-inch reach advantage and that is something with his speed he could really use to his advantage and he will have to if he is to win. Mosley, even at age 36, which is nine years older than the 27-year-old Puerto Rican, is much faster than Cotto and this might surprise you, but Mosley I feel is the stronger of the two physically.
Both fighters are conventional but that’s where the stylistic comparison ends. Mosley, a former lightweight, welterweight and light middleweight champion, is an excellent boxer/puncher. Mosley showed his true boxing skills in twice defeating Oscar De La Hoya when Oscar was still in his prime. Mosley also can fight. He is not shy about trading punches, which could put him in trouble against the powerful Cotto. This fighting spirit of Mosley will also just about guarantee us a great fight. Mosley can be a very good combination puncher, and also works nicely to the body of his opponents. He is best when he makes constant use of his left jab. Sometime he has a bad habit of just flicking it out there and when he does a good fighter like Cotto can time him.
Mosley’s only losses came against two fighters in Vernon Forrest, twice in 2002, and Winky Wright, twice in 2004. Forrest and Wright were much taller fighters than Mosley and both Forrest and Wright did not apply real pressure against Sugar Shane; they boxed. Forrest and Wright fight nothing like Cotto who applies constant pressure, he comes right at you.
Cotto is an excellent body puncher, has a devastating left hook to the body and wears his opponents down, not only physically but mentally as well. That’s exactly what he did in his last fight at Madison Square Garden in June when he broke up and down Zab Judah before stopping Zab in round 11. Judah had some good moments during the fight and did appear to stun Cotto a few times but not enough to slow Cotto down. Cotto does get hit and hit a lot. We have also seen him down and really hurt and even on the brink of being out, but he has always had the intestinal fortitude to rise up and pull himself together and come back and not only win but stop opponents. However, he has never faced anyone nearly as good, nearly as skilled as Mosley.
The only real intangible in this one would be that Cotto will be fighting before a full house of vociferous Puerto Ricans which should help spur him on, but remember Felix Tito Trinidad had the same crowd rooting for him at the Garden when he was stopped by Bernard Hopkins in round 12 in 2001.
Okay, here I go again, conventional boxing wisdom would be to pick the younger unbeaten Cotto fighting as close to home turf as he could without actually fighting in San Juan. Conventional boxing wisdom is he will be able to survive the early Mosley stuff and break the older fighter down just like he did against Judah. But Judah is no Sugar Shane, so here’s my pick. I have gone against conventional wisdom twice this year and lost so obviously I have learned my lesson. Call me a glutton for punishment but Mosley is a much better fighter than Cotto and I still think he has enough left in his tank to win this fight so I’m picking Sugar Shane. It should be dramatic great fight fought at a very high level. Enjoy it!
I want to make a quick comment on two stupid comments I heard this past week. The first was by HBO’s Max Kellerman who, when interviewing Mikkel Kessler following his fight with Joe Calzaghe, out the blue, asked him did he ever think about taking a knee during the fight. Wow. Then ESPN’s Brian Kenny who called the Contender final with Sakio Bika vs Jaidon Codrington perhaps one of the greatest fights ever. Give me a break Brian, obviously you have not been around this game that much. It was an exciting fight fought very amateurishly by Bika a solid fighter against a club fighter. Whatever happened to telling it like it is?