Tomorrow night's HBO Championship Boxing show features two of the best welterweights in the world in one of the year's most anticipated fights.
Who's going to take it? The crowd favorite boxer/puncher from Puerto Rico or the upset minded crafty Ghanaian? It's an intriguing match-up and The Boxing Bulletin writers are far from in agreement as to the outcome.
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|Clottey is a solid fighter, I just don't see where any of his strengths match up with Cotto's weaknesses. the only question is if Cotto is fully recovered from the Margarito fight. If he is, I'm hard pressed to find a scenario where he can lose.|
Plastergate has definitely benefited Miguel mentally. I'm sure he feels like he was cheated and considers himself invincible. Clottey doesn't carry enough pop to threaten Cotto by stoppage, nor the stamina to outlast him in a war of attrition. It will be tight for seven or eight rounds with clottey's hand speed and defense keeping him in it. Josh will fade and Cotto will pull away and dominate late, winning a very clear and fun UD.
- Mark Lyons
|Cotto cannot win this fight standing in front of Clottey. He doesn't really do that with solid, strong guys that he respects anyway, and he won't do it here. If he tries it out, he'll get tagged and smarten up quickly.|
I think he'll give up the center of the ring for the most part while moving on the outside, and eventually his back will start to hit the ropes, as has been the pattern when he chooses to implement a run and gun style. He's going to need his wheels to get in and out of range, similar to what he has done in the past with N'Dou, Abdulaev and Margarito. I'm not even sure he can really "win" fighting that way either, though crowd noise could get him a couple close rounds when he's banging on Clottey's forearms which could make it closer on the cards than it probably should be. I think he's gotta do a bit of a Ray Leonard impression in there.
It's interesting that so many people think he can simply outbox Clottey if he chooses to so because as a pure boxer, the man from Ghana is just better. If you consider the point of boxing to be "hit and don't get hit", it's a no-brainer. I also don't believe that Cotto is going to walk through this guy's best.
Clottey by clear decision. He'll press the action steadily and do the most damage with his cleaner blows. I just hope the judges are paying attention. Should be a very good fight, as most fights involving Miguel Cotto are.
- Lee Payton
Check out my previews of tomorrow night's fight...
Miguel Cotto vs Josh Clottey Preview
Cotto vs Clottey: The Big Fight Approaches
|I agree with Lee.|
Also, there's a prevalent notion that Clottey can't hurt Cotto so Cotto will be strong late and do what he wants offensively without consequence. That's doubtful. While Clottey doesn't have a lot of concussive power, he's a physically punishing fighter. He leaps in with punches and pushes down on the back of his opponent's neck if the punch is ducked. His body punches sting. His head punches cause a ton of facial damage, and his opponents generally look like a mess by the middle rounds. If Clottey lands the amount of uppercuts and right hands I expect him to, Cotto will likely fight the majority of the bout with a busted nose and compromised breathing.
In other words, despite Clottey's reputation for fading late, there's no guarantee that Cotto's going to be the stronger man down the final stretch. Cotto punches harder and is more punishing than Josh, but Josh is a lot more durable.
I think Clottey pulls off the upset and wins a 8-4 or 7-5 type decision.
- Michael Nelson
|I think this will be a very competitive and enjoyable fight to watch. I don’t think Cotto will choose to stand and trade with Clottey early on, I believe he’ll be looking hit and move before trading more and more as the fight goes on.|
I doubt whether either boxer has the power to hurt the other early on, if there’s going to be a knockout or a stoppage win then it’ll come in the later rounds due to an accumulation of punches rather than a one punch knockout. I think Cotto will win via a unanimous decision but he might have to come through a tricky patch in the middle rounds to do so.
- Dave Oakes
|And I agree with Mark.|
Bottom line to me in this fight; if Clottey can't hurt Cotto, he loses, because he won't keep up down the stretch; he chronically takes time off in the second half of fights. Also, if he does happen to hurt Cotto, but doesn't put him down straight away, I don't think he'll finish him off. Cotto recovers quickly, and has an innate ability to put bad moments behind him.
The X-factors are Cotto's corner changeover and possible hangover from the Margarito beating, and point deductions either way, whether from Clottey using his head or Cotto going low. Clottey may look for an excuse if things don't go his way, maybe a foul, maybe an injury; these things have been part of his modus operandi.
I like Cotto to win a clear victory. It should be a close, tough, fight for awhile, but I think Cotto distinguishes himself as the superior prize fighter in just about every category tomorrow night.
- Jeff Pryor
|I think we've got two very well matched fighters here and I don't have the same confidence that some of the other Bulletin writers do in picking a winner. I see an extremely close fight that goes to the cards. 7-5 either way, or 6-6.|
In terms of stamina, yes that's definitely an issue with Clottey, but as Michael mentioned, Cotto's lack of durability evens that out. Sure Clottey's not a big hitter, and lacks a killer instinct, but he's a sharp enough puncher to steadily take the steam out of Cotto and when we get to the late rounds, I expect to see both fighters looking a little spent.
- Andrew Fruman
This match up, between two top contenders near their primes and in their natural weight classes, is the rare fight that appears nearly even going in. It will be a very long night for Cotto in Madison Square Garden. Cotto has strengths that Clottey can nullify, and Clottey has weakness Cotto can exploit. Cotto, however, owns only slight edges over Clottey in speed, footwork, and versatility. The edges Clottey has are more pronounced: defense and chin are lopsidedly in his favor. He also has height and reach advantages. His tendency to go defensive for too long is probably his biggest weakness and the one Cotto will most likely isolate. Clottey also underutilizes his right hand and has shown a lack of power against top-notch fighters.
It is up to Cotto to maintain a high work rate and keep Clottey off balance with movement and angles. Clottey, as Michael notes, is a bruising fighter, and he will be putting the pressure on from the opening bell. If Clottey raises his game a notch, there is the real possibility the he will wear Cotto out by the late rounds and spring the upset. For Cotto to win, he will have to execute his game plan flawlessly. If he can maintain the fast pace and keep his jab going throughout the bout, he should win a razor thin decision. Like Andrew, however, this is not a pick I feel confident about.