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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quijano: A different Miguel Cotto

UNLIKE say, an Ike Quartey or even a Winky Wright—who practically jabbed another Puerto Rican champion, Felix Trinidad into defeat—Rodel Mayol’s jab is nothing exceptional. Which is quite a pity as such a weapon would have served him well against a fading and bleeding champion with a raucous crowd behind him.

Another legitimate option that was available to Rodel was to actually attack more aggressively, damn the consequences.

This is not to say that I think Rodel didn’t want it that much, but as Exhibit “A”, go watch a video on Manny Pacquiao vs. Lehnololo Ledwaba and you will know what I’m talking about.

"Matod Pa Sa Lola ni Noy Kulas." Join the story-writing contest on Cebuano folklore and win prizes.

Coming now to last week’s main event, John Pope mentioned the possibility that some of the judges might have been influenced or intimidated by the predominantly Puerto Rican crowd who were on hand on the eve of a national holiday, and that Clottey in all probability deserved to win that fight.

I wholeheartedly agree with the first proposition as that prejudice was patent in the Mayol-Calderon bout. But I gave that fight to Cotto because he scored a knockdown in the first round which I gave to him as 10-8 and scored the championship rounds for him which to me was enough to overhaul the middle rounds that I scored mostly for Clottey.

But I noticed something about Miguel Cotto.

COTTO DOESN’T WANT IT. Is it just me or has Cotto become a different fighter? Last Rounder Franklin Mercado first suggested that Cotto may be damaged goods and after that fight, I think I’m inclined to agree.

Of course, we will probably need more fights to validate this, but sadly, there is no beta phase for top-tier fighters. It’s either you have it or you don’t.

Watch the fight again. In the early rounds, Cotto stood in front of Clottey and went toe to toe with the rugged Ghanaian.

His efforts netted him a flash knockdown in the first round. That translates to early success and in the ordinary course of things, what isn’t broken doesn’t need any fixing.

But over the course of the bout, he became less aggressive, and seemed to eschew exchanges. Of course, it could have been the cut. But fighters get cut all the time, and Cotto has been cut before.

I suspect that what made Miguel Angel think twice about standing toe-to-toe were the right hand bombs landing on his chin every now and then, thrown with deadly accuracy by the muscular Clottey.

So he opted to box. And this served him well especially in the championship rounds.

TELLTALE SIGNS. But on two separate occasions, Cotto backed away inexplicably after he had Clottey pinned and covering up along the ropes. And he didn’t just take two or three steps.

He backed up all the way as if he wanted to reset the action.

That to me is a telltale sign of a fighter who lacks faith in his ability to finish a beaten fighter. Or perhaps a diminishing belief in his capacity to endure punishment.

Either way, that’s a bad sign for a fighter.

It is beyond cavil that aside from his impeccable boxing skills and paralyzing power, the ability to bully his opponents and proving to be tougher in dishing out and taking punishment was a huge part of Cotto’s game.

That’s why he was such a terrific fighter and was undefeated prior to the Margarito beat-down. That’s why he beat elite fighters like Zab Judah and Shane Mosely.

But the question is whether the present version of Miguel Cotto is good enough to beat the sport’s pound for pound champion?

LAST ROUND. It’s on my companero Atty. Glen Jumao-as. Cheers!

Source: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/quijano-different-miguel-cotto

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