“The Miguel Cotto of Old has Emerged!”

Those are the immortal, and stupid, words uttered by Jim Lampley in about round 6 of the Miguel Cotto vs. Joshua Clottey fight.  Nothing further than the truth can be said.  Cotto was having a good round because he had just body slammed Clottey in the previous round and Clottey was rendered immobilized and stationary.  Cotto banged away, but did no real damage.  So what happened to the Old Miguel Cotto?  The Old Miguel Cotto, or as I call him, the OMC, used to systematically and incrementally break his opponents down with his trade mark left hook and wearing them down to the body.  He would break his opponents down until they quit or until he could bang on their heads in the late rounds, or continue to the body for the fateful last blow to the body in which they fall like a wet rag.  Cotto has worn down Quintana, Mosley, Judah, and Gomez.  So then what happened?  He hit the brick wall!  Literally!

So two things have permanently altered his career:  1.)  Fighting Antonio Margarito, who probably used Plaster of Paris 2.)  Breaking off with his Uncle.  At first, I was quick to jump on the bandwagon hailing Cotto’s downfall and like of finesse in his later fights due to the Margarito fight.  However, on closer look, the comeback fight against Michael Jennings shown that Miguel Cotto was still there.  He was tentative at first, but then he proceeded to wear Jennings down with his left hook.  Many including myself wrote this fight off as an easy comeback fight against the weakest link in the welterweight divison, which it was. BUT, it also represented the LAST time we’d see Cotto in training camp with his Uncle Evangelista Cotto.  Many looked forward to Cotto’s first “real” fight against Joshua Clottey when in fact, the real fight in Cotto had already left.  Cotto fired his veteran uncle in favor of rookie coach/trainer Joe Santiago. Santiago helped patch up his defense some, and improved his conditioning.  However, the result was a Miguel Cotto who used his power and aggression to win rounds from then on out by acquiring clean points whether to the body or the head.  The target was no longer important, as long as he landed something.  Gone were the days when he would put money in the bank by wearing his opponent down to the body so that by round 9 the fighter would be easy prey.  Gone  are the days where he would dislocate an opponent’s shoulder with a left hook.  I personally feel the lost of his veteran Uncle Evangelista Cotto signified the end of his old style of fighting, which was powerful and awe-inspiring.  It was strong enough of a style that I feel Alfonso Gomez patterned his style of fighting after it.  Gomez also likes to put money in the bank by hooking to the body.
IMO the old Miguel Cotto at 147 would have kicked the living daylights of Manny Pacquiao any day.  The old Miguel Cotto would not have shy-ed from a war.  The old Miguel Cotto would have invested to the body early instead of winning rounds.  You can’t outspeed nor outbox a Manny Pacquiao.  Had the old Miguel Cotto stuck to what he knew best he would have broken some ribs, and taken Manny Pacquiao out in the 10th round, and would have lost a close decision to a prime Floyd Mayweather Jr. but would have given him all he could handle. The old Cotto was great, the #1 welterweight in the world, almost a complete fighter, deadly, undefeatable, indestructible, and a force of nature. Alas, that time might be over, however, Manny Steward could still re-ignite what made Miguel Cotto great in the first place. Holler!


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