By Lee Payton
Call up your buddies and let them know there's a damn good fight on this Saturday night. Tell them Miguel Cotto is fighting Joshua Clottey and if they say they've never heard of Clottey just ask them to trust you on this one.
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I don't know about you guys, but I'm expecting something pretty great when these two start swapping leather. Mix Cotto's fabulous offense with Clottey's trustworthy defense you get a stylistic match-up that is difficult to figure out. Throw in the fact that neither man is exactly shy about letting loose with left hooks and the potential war begins to come together.
I'm sure some are wondering how one can be so excited about a fight involving the rock hard fighter from Ghana, considering that some past efforts have been less than inspiring. It's true that he doesn't do much in there that catches the eye (though I am a sucker for a triple left hook), and he could put his foot to the floor more often, but I've always respected his measured approach and assumed that he's just another one of those guys who fights as hard as he has to in order to win. I believe that when pressed, he'll push back hard. Especially on this night.
Throw these two in with the same guy and way more times than not, you'll walk away thinking Cotto did the job with more style. Whether it's Malignaggi's grotesque mask, the smack of his lethal hook to Quintana's ribs, the humbling of Judah, or the visious combos that bounced off Margarito's face, he always gives the fans something to remember. Cotto has definitely been more fun over the years, but does that mean he should be favoured as heavily as he is? No way.
Boxing history is littered with examples of guys who were thought of as little more than solid pros spoiling far more celebrated and exciting operators. A couple semi-recent examples that spring to mind are Wright-Mosley and Raheem-Morales. I think there's some of that going on in this case.
The odds clearly reflect the difference in popularity. I've seen Clottey recently as high as +325. As a tool for measuring the competitive nature of the fight, these numbers are useless. However, they do provide an opportunity to make a little extra cash with what I would consider to be a very smart bet on the underdog.
Some will disagree with me, but I think that these guys are on the exact same level, and with no edge in class it comes down to styles. I've thought about it since the fight was announced and I have to give that edge to Clottey based on far superior defense.
I think Cotto is going to have a helluva time landing clean in there, which will create some doubt in his mind as to which style he should use. Does he press the fight and get nailed with clean counters and uppercuts? Or does he risk gassing out by using his legs? Can he really "outbox" a guy who consistently does a better job at that whole "hit and don't get hit" thing?
I doubt it. I've also heard the theory that Miguel will just throw way more punches, but I'm not so sure. Is he really a whirlwind? I don't know that his backers can rely on him to outwork this opponent by a significant margin.
Enough analysis for now though. This is going to be a war, one way or another. Surely the fighters realize what's at stake. With so much on the line you have to think that they're ready to lay it all on the line. Clottey wins and he can no longer be ignored. Cotto wins and it's big business at last. Who is willing to dig deepest?
I can't wait to find out!
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