THERE are many things to like about this contest, not least the fact it is for the world middleweight championship. If all sanctioning bodies were to disappear overnight, Cotto’s claim to be the leader in one of the sport’s flagship divisions would be the strongest historically, by virtue of his hold on the ‘linear’ title (he beat the man who beat the man).
Admittedly, it’s a shame this will be at a catchweight but at least it’s a situation that will suit both fighters rather than giving one an unfair advantage.
In terms of interest alone, one has to go back to the unification battle between Bernard Hopkins and Felix Trinidad in 2001 for a fight this appealing to have graced the middleweight class.
Adding to the spice is the fiery rivalry between the combatants’ nations; when Mexico and Puerto Rico collide inside the ropes drama ensues. From experience, Cotto – who split a pair of savage and controversial humdingers with the villainous Antonio Margarito – knows only too well the level of national pride at stake. As a toddler his great countryman Wilfredo Gomez managed to topple Mexicans Lupe Pintor and Carlos Zarate but, in 1981, came up short in a hellacious featherweight superfight against Salvador Sanchez.
And Alvarez – whose popularity is almost off the scale in his nation – will also be well aware of the rivalry. Back in 1999 his promoter, Mexican-American Oscar De La Hoya, was on the wrong end of a bitter loss to Trinidad.
Click below for the impact the fight will have on the middleweight scene