Well we’ve finally arrived at our destination. Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez stepped into the ring Saturday night and produced an entertaining bout. The bout was more technical than many anticipated, but it didn’t detract from either man’s performance. In my view the Pay-Per-View as a whole was the most entertaining since the December 2012 fourth match up between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. A great boxing match in the vein of Marquez – Marco Antonio Barrera or James Toney – Mike McCallum where the skill level on display was just as entertaining as the action.
The story of the bout played out with the story of the bigger fighter beating the smaller fighter. Alvarez showed some skills that went either unnoticed in previous bouts or were worked on between bouts. Alvarez showed that while he doesn’t have the fastest feet it doesn’t translate to him having bad footwork. Not once in the entire bout was Alvarez out of position or off-balance when attacking Cotto. Not only was Alvarez on balance when attacking, but his defense also showed improvement. Alvarez was able to pick and evade many of Cotto’s punches throughout the bout. A beautiful sequence in the seventh round where Alvarez evaded a right hand by Cotto to land an uppercut and then dodge an oncoming left hook. In the end, professional boxing is about doing damage to your opponent and the quality of the punches landed. Alvarez was able to land the harder shots throughout the fight. Alvarez at times could have pressed the action further as he did in the eighth and twelfth round to possibly score a knockdown, but Cotto may have kept him from doing so by constantly answering Alvarez’s attack with one of his own. Surprisingly both men’s left hooks were not a factor in the bout which didn’t do Cotto any favors.
Miguel Cotto, in a losing effort, should hold his head up high. Cotto had his moments in the bout and many websites who were covering the bout scored the bout a draw or 7-5 for Alvarez. Ironically, the Mexican TV station TV Azteca scored the bout 117-111 in Cotto’s favor. What Cotto showed was that his improvement with Freddie Roach was no mirage. Cotto fought the biggest and strongest opponent of his career and walked away without being knocked down or wobbled once. Cotto even escaped the bout without much bruising on his face compared to other bouts that he lost in the past. Cotto’s defense and conditioning have improved tremendously as he was able to stay on the back foot and box for all 12 rounds. While Cotto’s left hook went missing until the twelfth round, Cotto was still able to land body shots and jabs on Alvarez that made the bout competitive all night.
The only downside of the night was when the judge’s scorecards were read. All three had a scorecard of a lopsided fight where Cotto stood no chance of winning a decision. Burt Clements had the bout 118-110, Dave Moretti had the bout 119-110 and John McKaie had the bout 117-111 all for Alvarez. McKaie had the closet scorecard to what happened in reality and to what most on press row had the bout at 116-112. There were many close and competitive rounds in the bout that could have been swing rounds, but two of the judges must have filled out their scorecard early and missed the fight while at the bar. Rounds 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 were all close rounds that could have been scored for Cotto or Alvarez. F our or five of those rounds belonged to Cotto. Hopefully this isn’t the last time we see Cotto in the ring and returns to fight men his own size without any catch weights. It’s clear that his power when fighting on the back foot isn’t nearly as effective, but he still has the experience and intelligence to compete with most fighters today.
In the annals of the Mexico – Puerto Rico rivalry, this bout won’t rank as one of the best in terms of all action in the vein of Wilfredo Gomez – Lupe Pintor or Felix Trinidad – Fernando Vargas, however it will fall in the middle as a great technical boxing match that put two of boxing’s biggest stars in the ring in the second biggest event of the year 2015. For Alvarez this was his coming out party. Alvarez is now more than just media hype. More than just the Mexican kid with red hair. He is a real fighter and it will take a special fighter with either the right style or on the right night to defeat him. If Alvarez fights top competition and puts on exciting bouts, boxing will be in good hands.