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Cotto vs. Rodriguez: Can Delvin derail Cotto’s big plans in 2014?



This Saturday night Miguel Cotto makes his 2013 debut when he faces the crafty vet Delvin Rodriguez from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. The odometer’s of each fighter is at the tip of everyone’s tongue when discussing this fight and possible outcomes.

Will either have enough left in the tank to make it competitive or at the very least entertaining? Both fighters are clearly past their prime but skill will ultimately rule the day.

Miguel Cotto is one of the best and most liked fighters of his generation. Haven fought the who’s who of names ranging from the 140 pound division all the way up to junior middleweight, giving us thrilling drama on the way.

Naturally a left hander, Cotto fights out of an orthodox stance, building his legend with one of the best jabs in the business and a left hook to the body that has left many of his opponents day dreaming about a cold bath mid fight.

On his way to stardom Cotto was hurt a few times early in fights, only to come back even stronger getting his revenge by way of knockout. By 2008 talks of Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto were all the rage until a tornado from Tijuana blew in the Las Vegas that summer.

On July 2008 in his fight with Antonio Margarito, the two put on a brutal symphony of violence that will stick in the brains of hardcore fans across the world for two main reasons. One, being the actual fight which added to an already deep pool of fights featuring a Mexican versus a Puerto Rican.

The other was a potential toxic issue of hand wraps in the taped hands of Antonio Margarito. That night Miguel was forced to take knees from the pain he received all fight long at the hands (bricks) of Margarito.

Not only did Cotto lose his coveted “0″, he also bled out of every pour of his face, losing parts of his soul that every fighter has and relies on throughout their career.

Cotto showed a true warriors heart, only taking the knees, he somehow managed to stay on his feet even after all that punishment he received that summer night.

The next summer he got severely cut nearly losing to Joshua Clottey.
Later that year in November, Pacquiao’s hand speed and power proved to be too much for the once unbeaten Champion.

Cotto rested up and showed signs of life, giving his body time to adjust to the junior middleweight division.

The performance that he put up versus Floyd Mayweather was very impressive, doing what many of “Money’s” foes haven’t been able to do, sticking him on the ropes, digging to the body behind that jab, a jab that bloodied Mayweather’s nose.

In his last fight against Austin Trout about 10 months ago, Cotto looked average and every bit past his dominant days. In fact Austin Trout, who himself is a very solid thrifty fighter, made both Cotto and Delvin Rodriguez look slow and clearly not the fighters they once were.

Rodriguez bounced back with two decent wins and with this Cotto fight is now looking to capitalize on a moment that could extend his career.

Rodriguez will have the overall height and length advantage over the smaller and stocky Cotto.

At his best Delvin is fundamentally sound on both ends, using a jab, foot movement and combination punching with a high volume. When on his game he is a very sharp fighter who can be difficult to hit cleanly or land on without something coming back in return.

At his worst, maybe best for fans, he can get thrown off his game plan fairly easy which has gotten him in deep trouble in the form of a stoppage or ending up on the wrong side of the scorecards.

Even with both fighters not in their respected peaks, I can’t help to think Rodriguez better hope that the Cotto we saw in with Trout, is the true Cotto and a year off will only add rust.

Not that I think it’s impossible for Delvin to win this fight much in the style that Trout was able to do it. But can he keep up that same pace that Trout had with constant activity and movement?

Maybe it was the style matchup that gave Delvin trouble with Trout and he will be more at home being hunted by Cotto. Cotto on the other hand has to face a similar style of fighter in Delvin Rodriguez.

The biggest differences between the Cotto then and the Cotto now, it seems he has lost that killer instinct. He had Mayweather and Pacquiao’s on the ropes for portions of both fights, but he never followed up enough on it like he had in the past. Before Margarito, even if he was taking shots in an exchange he would show no hesitation to attack the body.

Also and possible more importantly, is how well the skin around his eyes can hold up. That could be the deciding factor on the length left for Cotto, who might not be able to fight like he used to just base off of facial damage alone.

How long will it take for Cotto to shake off the rust and will his new trainer Freddie Roach install anything new tricks for this old dog.

Will we see that Delvin from the first fight with Pawel Wolak which was a war, or will we see the guy who in the second fight fought much smarter easily beating Wolak?

Does Delvin have a clean near perfect performance left in him to come out on top on the scorecards, the cards that will be against him the moment the bell rings?

This fight intrigues me based off the two combatants pedigree’s and their last losses coming by the hands Trout, who made both looked slow and over the hill.

Future PPV paydays for Cotto include Sergio Martinez and Canelo Alvarez. One can only assume that he is trained properly for this fight, a fight that won’t be as easy as many think. He will have to bring his hard hat along with his world class jab to make the fight easier.

Cotto has taken more beatings in his career and those beating are main reason for his decline. Delvin is no spring chicken either. Does Rodriguez have enough power to change this fight?

My official pick is that Cotto will have more offensive skill and fire power to get the job done with a 9-3 type unanimous decision for Miguel Cotto.

Written by Chris Carlson Owner and Host of Rope A Dope Radio at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio
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