'3 For The Money': A Look At Kessler/Calzaghe, Mosley/Cotto, and Mayweather/Hatton!
15.10.07 - By Vivek Wallace: In only a few weeks, November 3rd to be exact, the sport of boxing will officially kick off any fight fans dream scenario as three fights in a 5 week frame will all have major implications in their respective divisions, each with potential to be fight of the year candidates. Few fights in recent years have had the ability to leave fight aficionado's second guessing their picks to win, but in this case, even the best of handicapper's would require a second opinion.
Article posted on 16.10.2007
One that still probably wouldn't solidify his gut feelings. On paper, it seems as though each of these fights can go either way, but as we continue to see in this sport, paper burns. In a quick snapshot, we take a good look, as well as a devil's advocate perspective at each of these matches which will make up what appears to be a very 'Formidable Fall.'
Kessler/Calzaghe: Joe Calzaghe (43-0, 32KO's) is simply amazing. He's fast, he's ring smart, and he stays very busy in fights which keep most of his opponents at bay. All of these things we know. What we don't know - but shall soon find out - is how he'll deal with a fighter who has more power and potentially an even greater skill set to match it. Calzaghe's victory over Jeff Lacy was solid, but still a bit pre-visual considering that Lacy is known for power, not necessarily any type of extraordinary skills. Mikkel Kessler (39-0, 29KO's) is a totally different type of animal, unlike any that Calzaghe has ever faced. Power in both hands, a granite beard that has seldom left him hurt, and all the other trimmings in between.
Considering that we've seen Kessler go to grueling wars - (most recently with Librado Andrade) - my pick for this fight hinges on how well Calzaghe can take the punishment of such a powerful fighter and not let it affect his ability to execute down the stretch. Calzaghe has power of his own, but it pales in comparison to what he's gonna be on the receiving end of on this night. The thing about this fight that I'm really starting to 'vibe' with is the fact that Kessler has gotten very vocal about his chances and is now publicly letting Calzaghe know, "you're heading into an all out war"! Of all the three fights under the 'scope', this one is my pick for "FIGHT OF THE YEAR", and neither man will let it slide a notch below the hype.
Mosley/Cotto: This is the one fight within the three that I think every betting man had better be careful with. Both men have elements about them that could cause flying high careers to quickly crash and burn. For Shane Mosley (44-4, 37KO's), although he's one of the best conditioned athletes of this era, 'Father-Time' has been known to stop the water supply to a mans proverbial fountain of youth without warning. For Miguel Cotto (30-0, 25KO's), this is a bigger step up in competition than most have considered and no one knows what his first test against a TRUE tier 1, future Hall of Famer may end like. Cotto is, bar none, the best challenger in the welterweight division to Floyd Mayweather Jr, but the untimely presence of Shane Mosley in the division could probably prevent that fight from ever happening.
The outcome in this fight technically comes down to Cotto's ability to deal with Shane's combination of speed, power, and veteran ability to out think his opposition. Cotto fights at one speed. He plows forward with ripping combinations and power shots, which is great, but less than perfect footwork can often leave him open for an opponent who knows how to pick his spots. In this fight he (Cotto) will have to deal with a man who will 'shuffle the deck' so to speak. Shane will rip combinations, but he'll also sit back and pick his spots of true engagement, pulling the trigger at the exact time when Cotto may be dazed enough to lose his ability to completely recover. To many this is a pick'em fight, and of the three, this one was probably given the most applicable name. When it's all over, I wouldn't be surprised if the very fight dubbed "Fast and Furious" actually ends fast, leaving a rowdy bunch in the Madison Square Garden furious. Just a few years ago this was the same site that another Puerto Rican legend fell to a salty vet who knew when to employ the right strategy to secure the "W". Sometimes history has an odd way of repeating itself. This could be another one of those nights.
Mayweather/Hatton: Just a couple months ago Floyd Mayweather Jr. (38-0, 24KO's) was retired. Or so we thought. What started out as a pathway to a career in promoting and living a family life quickly detoured to a very familiar neck of the woods. And all it took was one mans bold act in front of a national audience, putting the Pound for Pound champ on blast in his own home town. Now, here we stand slightly less than 2 months away from the scheduled showdown and all of a sudden one mans wish has become his reality. This matchup has mega fight written all over it. I would say it pins one sporting country against another but Floyd's antics have left many of his own countrymen pulling for the underdog. All that sounds good in theory but when the bell rings, it'll be Hatton and arguably one of the best - if not the best - skilled pugilist of this era.
Hatton is known for his bruising style and his ability to peck away at his opponents body but for anyone thinking he will be the lone aggressor on this night with Floyd 'dancin' the night away - (no pun intended) - my advice will be to revisit Mayweather's fights against Corrales, Gatti, and Corley. Hatton was recently honest enough to say that he knows Floyd is skilled at fighting many different type of fights, and if there was ever a time when I'd fully expect Floyd to come out gunslingin', it would be this fight. Dela Hoya was too big for Floyd to try this with, so were others like Baldomir. Against someone like Hatton, who categorically loses every battle on the tale of the tape - (height, reach, etc.) - and is viewed as simply a power threat, I expect Mayweather to come out early and test his strength. If Mayweather feels comfortable and finds success early by being aggressive against the smaller Hatton, it could provide a totally new meaning to the name "Hitman", considering that Floyd's speed and ability to land on opponents. I'll hold shy of any predictions here, but one thing I do see is a MUCH more aggressive Mayweather in this fight. Where it'll get him in the end? Either a first class ticket to the land of relativity in boxings G.O.A.T. discussion, or a modified version of Dancing With The 'Stars', as in K.T.F.O.
Wow....November 3rd and everything beyond can't come quick enough!
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