At the lower weights, Miguel Cotto displayed impressive speed of both hand and foot. That swiftness looked to have diminished in Cotto’s back to back light-middleweight losses to Floyd Mayweather and Austin Trout in 2012. In his last two fights, under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, Cotto has looked energised from beginning to end, especially during his 10 round demolition of Sergio Martinez 12 months ago.
As the naturally bigger man, Daniel Geale will be unable to match the champion’s speed but his relentless work rate will go some way in making up for that. With decent footwork, Geale is usually able to work his way inside, albeit sometimes too openly, and utilise his persistent volume punching.
COTTO 8 – 7 GEALE
As mentioned, Geale carries the advantage in size but that does not necessarily translate into an advantage in power. Cotto’s 74% knockout ratio, compared to Geale’s 47%, highlights the disparity. Cotto has not needed the judges’ scorecards for a victory since 2009, when he outpointed Joshua Clottey. One of the best body punchers of his generation, the Puerto Rican has rediscovered the venom in his shots and introduced a successful return of his famed left hook to the body in his last two outings. He blitzed Delvin Rodriguez in three rounds in 2013 before dropping Martinez four times and forcing him to retire in their title fight last year.
Rather than a one-punch knockout artist, Geale hurts his opponents with an accumulation of punches but has shown an ability to drop fighters with single shots, for example when he dropped Darren Barker in 2013. The Australian however is not known for his power and the catchweight of 157lbs for this meeting will do him no favours considering he has not fought at such a low weight since 2007.
COTTO 9 – 7 GEALE
Both men have shown a willingness to fight the best around, but again the edge goes to the champion. You don’t win world titles in four weight classes by fighting B-level opposition and Cotto has continued to operate at elite level for many years. Despite losses to the likes of Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, Cotto holds wins over Antonio Margarito, Martinez, Ricardo Mayorga and Shane Mosley. Cotto was also a successful amateur, competing at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. While this wealth of experience undoubtedly brings its mental benefits, the physical toll Cotto’s fights have taken should also be taken into account. A brave fighter, Cotto has shipped his fair share of punishment and has been stopped twice and, at 34, it remains to be seen how many more times he can go to war.
One glaring gap in Cotto’s resume is a fight with middleweight monster Gennady Golovkin, a man Geale has fought and lost to. The Kazakh is the best fighter Geale has faced to date, but that is not to say he has not fought stellar opposition. Wins over Felix Sturm and Sebastian Sylvester on away turf are testament to Geale’s quality. He also boxed at the 2000 Olympics as an amateur and he followed that up with a gold medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. While not the same extent as Cotto, Geale has had some violent nights and there could well be lasting effects from his devastating loss to Golovkin.
COTTO 10 – 8 GEALE
Both men have been the distance over 12 rounds numerous times and both have sustained an effective work rate throughout. While his stamina has faltered in the past, most noticeably against Trout, Cotto’s renaissance saw him maintain a relentless display against the admittedly impaired Martinez.
Geale’s stamina is one of his strongest assets and has seen him outwork opponents in the past. In his most recent fight, a unanimous decision against countryman and old friend Jarrod Fletcher, Geale dominated from start to finish but perhaps could have forced a stoppage in the later rounds. Again, the catchweight is likely to come into play here and the extra three pounds he has to shed may have a detrimental effect on Geale in the later stages.
COTTO 8 – 9 GEALE
Both have been stopped in the past, but by extremely dangerous opposition. Cotto has shown more of a tendency to be wobbled, though that could be credited to the higher level of opponent he’s faced. The catchweight, unsurprisingly, massively favours the champion in this category as well.
With Geale the only one of the two at risk of being drawn at the weight, his usually solid chin may not stand up to Cotto’s onslaughts. However, the Australian has survived significant punishment in the past, the only outlier being his loss to Golovkin in which he succumbed to the Kazakh’s unstoppable power.
COTTO 8 – 8 GEALE
An area which cannot be affected by the notorious catchweight. Much like their ability to take a punch, there is not much to split the two when it comes to measuring their fighting spirit. Again, and this is likely another by-product of experience, Cotto holds a slight edge. In brutal fights with Margarito (twice) and Pacquiao, Cotto has dug deep and fought back, though not always successfully, through facial swelling, cuts and knockdowns. Regularly dubbed a warrior, the champion has shown bags of heart in the past.
Geale has not been forced to fight through such adversity as Cotto, but has proven a determined grit all the same. When first dropped by Golovkin, he fought back and avoided shrinking into a defensive shell like so many of GGG’s victims. His brutal affair with Barker also asked a lot of Geale and the narrow scorecards reflected the intense competition of the bout.
COTTO 10 – 9 GEALE
COTTO 53 – 48 GEALE
Photo: Rich Kane/Hogan Photos/RocNation Sports