WITH an announcement about a fight between Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez imminent, bookmakers have started to offer odds on the potential superfight.
The two look set to meet in Las Vegas in November, either at the Thomas & Mack Center or the MGM Grand.
The younger Alvarez has been installed as an early favourite, with some bookies offering 2/5 and others a slightly longer 4/9.
WBC world middleweight champion Cotto can be backed at 7/4 or 15/8 at the moment while the draw is offered at 20/1 at every outlet offering odds on it.
So, should “Canelo” be the betting favourite?
On paper, the Puerto Rican’s experience dwarfs that of his Mexican counterpart having fought the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley and Sergio Martinez and picking up world titles in four weight classes.
At just 24 however ‘Canelo’ has already garnered an impressive amount of in-ring knowledge against Mayweather and Mosley and more recently Erislandy Lara.
A fully-fledged light-middle, and former world champion at the weight, Alvarez is the naturally bigger man despite Cotto now operating in a higher weight class (albeit only fighting at catchweights so far).
“Canelo” stands at 5ft 9ins while Cotto is 2ins shorter and Alvarez’s reach extends 3.5ins longer than Cotto’s at 70.5ins.
Cotto however has been successful against bigger men in the past. Yuri Foreman, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito were all larger than Cotto when he beat them, although the latter also holds a victory over him.
Cotto’s experience as an underdog is patchy – he lost to Mayweather and Pacquiao as one but upset the odds against Martinez.
His youth gives Alvarez a natural advantage – at 34, Cotto has been in his fair share of wars and while he still looked spritely in the later stages with Martinez, his stamina down the stretch has faltered in the past.
Both men can box off of their jabs or trade on the inside, although if the fight were to take place at close quarters one would have to favour Cotto and his vicious hooks. Alvarez arguably has a wider variety of shots at his disposal and his lead uppercut is particularly spiteful.
Cotto has a higher knockout rate at 75% compared to Saul’s 68%, but many of his early wins have come at smaller weights – although every one of his victories above welterweight have been stoppages or retirements. Neither man has an obvious edge in power, but a discrepancy between the two is their ability to take a shot.
Cotto has been stopped twice and visibly hurt on other occasions, while Alvarez is yet to be put down as a pro although, interestingly, Miguel’s brother, Jose Miguel Cotto, did wobble “Canelo” momentarily – only to be stopped in nine.
155lbs has been a rumoured catchweight for this fight, which would not majorly favour either fighter given that both have fought at or around that weight regularly but, as mentioned, the smaller Cotto may well come in under that limit.
The intangibles – heart, grit, composure under pressure – will all play their part and both men have them in abundance. However, “Canelo” is yet to be dragged into a real battle of attrition, and Cotto may be the man to do it, but perhaps that is testament to Saul’s skill set and natural strength.
The odds are perhaps a little too favourable towards the flame-haired Mexican but his youth, size and obvious talent make him a rightful favourite. Just.
What can be banked on, however, is that this will be a fight to remember.