Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Andre Berto Vs. Victor Ortiz: A Fight Worth Watching

Damn! THATS a haircut!

This Saturday evening, WBC Welterweight champion Andre Berto will face 140 lbs. Southpaw dynamo Victor Ortiz.

In this day and age, when boxing has long since become an event driven business; it’s not often that non-pay-per-view match ups could be considered “must see” material.

That being said, consider Berto vs. Ortiz as “must see” as it gets.

Both fighters are in the prime of their physical development.

Both are vying for mainstream popularity and success.

Both are exceedingly heavy-handed.

Most importantly though, both are known to be vulnerable in some respect.

Put it all together, and you get an explosive fight that’s liable to put some serious miles on one, if not both fighter’s odometers; regardless of the actual length of the bout.

Pictured: How both fighters are gonna be talkin after the fight...

That being said, who do I think will win?

Well, even though I’m biased towards Andre Berto, ’cause well; I like him, in all fairness I feel Berto is the logical pick as winner.

As mentioned earlier, both fighters are notably heavy-handed, though it’s definitely worth re-iterating the fact that Ortiz will being fighting at 147 lbs. for the first time in his career.

While weight and body size will always be a factor well worth considering when picking a winner in boxing, in the current age of supplements and sports science; it seems be a factor of diminishing importance when dealing with fighters naturally/healthily filling out to a heavier weight class as opposed to gaining extraneous weight or being forced to move up due to a failing body structure.

Pardon me, I appear to be rambling.

The point you were supposed to extract from all that bullshit above, is that I feel the increase in weight won’t be much of a factor for Ortiz, as at a barrel chested 5’9″ he not only seemed big for a Jr. Welterweight; he also seemed big standing next to Andre Berto.

Berto: "Yeah... Hes biggern me."

On that note, as mentioned previously, both fighters have shown signs of vulnerability; Berto due to his porous defense and willingness to trade punches, and Ortiz for his questionable heart.

While his performances have been consistently energetic and well-fought, the main complaint against Berto these days is derived from his controversial split-decision victory over Luis Collazo, as well as the general dearth of big name fighters on his resume.

While there’s no defending Berto for the lack of A or B grade opposition on his record, given that he had at least 2 chances to make a date with the then recent conqueror of the seemingly invincible Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley; it’s worth mentioning that Collazo, a Southpaw like Ortiz; is just one of “those guys” that can make anyone look bad.

Any opportunity I take to post a picture of Ricky Hatton gettin bopped in the noggin is one worth taking advantage of.

One thing’s for sure though, Berto certainly does take far too many punches in his fights; however to date I have yet to see him actually pay for it.

That is to say, while he may stand toe-to-toe too often with guys; he has yet to lose, and he’s managed to put a lot of guys away in the process.

Moving on, as anyone reading this is probably aware, Victor Ortiz caught the bad end of a vicious back and forth affair with the brick-fisted Marcos Maidana back in 2009.

That fight ended as a TKO due to a cut over Ortiz’ eye, however the general understanding was that he responded in the negative when asked whether he wanted to continue.

This decision cost Ortiz a great deal in the face of the boxing community and his fans, leading to him fighting off of HBO’s telecasts during the early stages of his rebuilding phase.

...During which time he traveled back to 1992 and stole Will Smiths hat.

That being said, similar to Hector Camacho after his brutal encounter with Edwin Rosario; it would seem Victor Ortiz caught a taste of something he didn’t like, and has since made adjustments to his fighting style in hopes of never running into it again.

Once a freight train middle range brawler, Ortiz’ game has recently transformed into that of a more tactile and less volume oriented one.

Make no mistake, he’s still an aggressive fighter; he’s just not as prone to go balls out and leave his chin out in the open.

Anyway, that’s enough Berto/Ortiz 101, let’s get down figuring out what’ll happen when these 2 meet!

While speed is an issue many are speculating about, in my eyes neither guy is a mover, and both fighters seems comparable in terms of handspeed, so until I see them in the ring together I wouldn’t count on that being a determining factor in deciding who will come out ahead.

The real issues I see as being key to determining a winner for this fight, are the one’s that inevitably come up when dealing with left-handed fighters; and that is who gets off first, and who dictates the pace and the range of the fight.

From what I’ve seen of both men, Ortiz is a middle range, in-and-out type fighter, while Berto prefers to step in a little closer and dole out high-low combinations until he’s given a reason to back off.

Pictured: Both fighter

While this logic would suggest Ortiz as being the one most likely to dictate the flow of the fight, given that he’s more likely to step in to engage rather than hang back and rely on his jab; truth be told I think Berto’s aggressiveness will lead to him pulling the trigger earlier and more often.

In addition to that, one must also consider that Ortiz is the taller man by a scant half-inch, however Berto has the reach advantage of 2 inches.

In my mind, this translates to Ortiz’ middle range fighting taking place very much inside of Berto’s comfort zone; leading to prolonged exchanges in the latter’s favor.

Looking at both fighter’s repertoire of punches brings even more evidence in favor of this hypothesis.

Ortiz’ money punches are, like most Southpaws; his right hook and and his straight left hand.

He has a good jab, but in recent days he’s used it more as tool for keeping rhythm or measuring distance as opposed to a combination starter or actual weapon.

Pictured: The vaunted Ortiz jab...

His punches come from some pretty slick angles, however he rarely takes advantage of his Southpaw stance in creating them; preferring to square up with his opponents and step out of range to avoid punches as opposed to slip or block them.

Berto on the other hand, fights from a conventional stance and relies on short hooks with both hands, as well as a magnificent right uppercut.

While the uppercut probably won’t be helping him all that much against Ortiz, given that their opposing stances will force him to reach with it, an inherently double-edged sword of a punch; in order to connect with it, I feel that the speed  and sharpness of his hooks will give Ortiz fits every time he steps in.

While none of this points to either man winning out on paper by a clear margin, the length and frequency of Berto’s jabs and left hooks will likely create some difficulty for Ortiz in countering over the top with right hooks.

Perhaps most important of all though, Berto has recently begun using a straight right hand as a key punch in his arsenal; clearly a product of training for and fighting Southpaws post-Collazo.

BOOSH!

Ask anyone how to fight a Southpaw and they’ll tell you 2 things:

Keep your lead foot outside of his, and feed him straight right hands until he chokes on them.

In the end, I think Berto’s tenacity and combination punching will ultimately win the day.

Make no mistake, both guys are likely going to be sore in the morning after this one…

Prediction:

Both guys “do what they do,” but Berto forces, and ultimately wins the majority of the exchanges.

Berto, TKO stoppage Round 7.

Anyway, I’ve ranted and rambled enough about this one for tonight.

As anyone can tell, I’m uber-excited for this one; so hopefully it turns out to be worth the 1200 word post.

G’night.

"Innnn West Philadelphia, born and raised..."

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Thoughts On The Fight Night Champion Roster

Last night I visited the wikipedia entry for EA’s upcoming Fight Night Champion boxing videogame.

As an avid follower (and critic) of the series since it’s inception, I found myself looking through the page taking in all the little tidbits of anticipated gameplay features.

While the “darker” (translations from gamerspeak: bloodier, more profane, and possible T&A) tone of the game does little to peak my interest, in fact if they push it too far I might view it as a detriment to the sport and my enjoyment of the game; my greatest hope is that EA takes the time to improve their character creation system, as it was truly ass in Fight Night 4.

Unfortunately, most of the gameplay and features of Champion are still very hush hush at the moment; so there’s not a whole lot to be said about it.

One thing that I noticed though, was that most of, if not the entire roster of real life fighters included in the game has already been released.

Boxing enthusiast/fan/walking encyclopedia that I am, I feel it is my duty to go through this list, fighter by fighter; and scrutinize the fuck out of it.

Below are my thoughts on some of the fighters that stuck out to me as being weak additions:

Tommy Morrison:

"YOU AND ME TOMMY, WE WAS LIKE THIS! AND YOU BLEW IT TOMMY! YOU BLEW IT!!!"

Though he was featured in the previous Fight Night, I’m still puzzled as to why he was selected to be in the game.

Honestly, as far as accomplishments go, the coolest thing Tommy Morrison ever did in my book was almost get decapitated by Ray Mercer in one of the nastiest knockouts I can recall.

Other than that, he was white heavyweight with a good punch and poor stamina, he came a few rounds away from getting steamrolled by George Foreman, he was in Rocky V, and oh yeah, he was a white heavyweight.

If we’re gonna’ play the race card, personally I’d have rather seen Baby Joe Mesi get thrown in there…

At least that would’ve made me laugh.

Seriously, Tommy Gunn or not, Morrison just doesn’t cut it for me.

Cristobal Arreola and Eddie Chambers:

Man, heavyweights are fat these days...

I list both of these guys together, because they’re on my naughty list for the same reason.

That reason being the Klitschko brothers.

Not long ago, both of these guys were quickly climbing the ranks and looking good doing it.

Then they each met a Klitschko, and each had a big fat Ukranian dump squatted out on their reputation.

Of the 2, I feel that Chambers has fared better since then, largely because he hasn’t lost since then, (truth be told he hasn’t fought, but it’s better than going on to mangled by Tomasz Adamek like Arreola was) and because he conditioning has actually showed improvement over the years, unlike Arreola who just seems to keep getting fatter.

 

Aw... I made the fattie cry.

While both guys are decent fighters, this is just a case of bad timing for EA.

Butterbean:

On the strength of this photo alone, Butterbean is now officially "awesome."

Outside of the novelty, name recognition, and an opportunity to show off realistic fat jiggle physics, why the fuck does Butterbean deserve to be in this game?

Oh well, chances are I’ll end up beating his ass to relieve stress, kind of like I used to do with Ricky Hatton in the previous Fight Nights…

Joe Calzaghe and Chad Dawson:

Let’s get one thing straight, both of these guys deserve to be in this game.

As much as I hate Calzaghe as a person, and as a home-turf fighter; the man has a laundry list of accomplishments in the sport, and I tip my hat to him.

The only problem is, all of those accomplishments were achieved in the Super Middleweight class, not Light Heavyweight.

It may not be that big a deal to the people over at EA, but I feel that including the intermediary weight classes (the supers and juniors) is necessary both to pay the proper respect to the various real-life fighters in the game, as well as to balance out the roster.

That being said, having just 2 guys that never even came close to fighting each other listed for a weight class is just plain stupid.

Not only that, as with the case of Arreola and Chambers, Dawson recently went from being regarded as the guy at 175 lbs., to becoming somewhat of enigma overnight.

Truth be told, I’d rather see a legend like Matthew Saad Muhammad, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, or hell, Michael fucking Spinks featured at Light Heavy, but if EA wanted to “please” us with a contemporary fighter (nobody gives a shit about Light Heavy since the glory days of Roy Jones) then I guess they got their wish.

Carlos Monzon:


Another fighter featured in the previous game, Carlos Monzon is somewhat of an oddity in the cast.

Most likely unknown to most casual boxing fans, especially younger ones, Carlos Monzon was one of the greatest, and longest reigning Middleweight champs of all time, however there’s a catch to that accomplishment.

Monzon was a champion that really didn’t fight that many truly great fighters.

Sure, he bested Nino Benvenuti, Emile Griffith, and Jose Napoles; but who the fuck other than myself and the old guys down at the barbershop knows 2 out of 3 of those guys?

Other than the opportunity to put Monzon head to head with his successor, Marvelous Marvin Hagler; I don’t really see why Monzon is in the game.

I’d have put Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano in instead, but that’s just me…

Jermain Taylor and Danny Jacobs:


Let’s just call this bad timing and call it a day, shall we?

Seriously, Jermain = Damaged Goods.  Danny Jacobs = Overrated.  ‘Nuff said.

Anthony Mundine:

"And next week I'm gonna' fight a paraplegic cancer patient! That'll put the naysayers to rest!"

Anthony Mundine was in the previous Fight Night, and my reaction to his presence hasn’t changed since.

Mundine is a decent fighter, but he’s been fighting tomato cans for too long now, and he’s barely relevant outside of his native Australia anymore.

“Wow, Fight Night must sell well in Australia, ’cause other than that, I absolutely cannot justify why anyone would ever want to put Anthony Mundine in a videogame.”

That’s what I feel on the matter, and I’m sticking to my guns.

The problem with that, is the fact there are so many great Australian fighters out there to choose from.

While I’m aware of the inherent licensing difficulties that come with dealing with real-life sports figures, I would’ve loved to have seen Jeff Fenech, or Lionel Rose, or hell, if they wanted another fairly contemporary fighter, I would’ve been happy to have seen Paul Briggs or Kostya Tszyu in there.

But no, instead we get Anthony fucking Mundine…

Peter Manfredo Jr. and Sergio Mora:


Okay, I am officially getting tired of seeing Contender alum in the sport of boxing.

Jesse Brinkley had a decent run, until being dismantled by Lucian Bute recently that is, Cornelius Bundrage recently snagged himself a world title strap from an aging Cory Spinks , and, uh, Alfonso Gomez bleeds a lot… And, fuck it, y’know what?

I’m done trying to talk up the Contender guys!

Bottom line:

Sergio Mora was a poor addition to the previous game, and Peter Manfredo is an even worse one to this one.

Put ’em together, and you get 2 piles of ass occupying 2 slots in historically one of the most prestigious weight classes in the sport.

Good job EA, way to take the money and run…

Diego Corrales:


Let me just start off by saying, Diego; rest in peace.

Corrales was always amazing to watch, but his ever-present status in the Fight Night roster has always felt odd to me.

While the man was indeed talented, it was the fights in his career, not his skills; that carved his place in history.

The man will forever be remembered as the man that made Floyd Mayweather’s reputation, the man that gave Joel Casamayor fits, and the man that ultimately gave everything he had to defeat Juan Luis Castillo in one of history’s greatest bouts.

That being said, while I would never say that including Corrales is a bad thing, I feel it’s foolish if none of the aforementioned fighters are included in the roster as well.

Seriously man, it should be a rule of thumb to include at least 1 real-life former opponent for every fighter in the roster.

Maybe it’s just me, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing out real-life matchups in my boxing games.

Vinnie Pazienza:


First things first, I refuse to call him “Vinnie Paz.”

His name is Vinnie Pazienza in my book, and that it shall remain.

Moving on, I know he’s got one hell of a devoted fan club, but what the fuck man?

Sure, he beat a bloated and washed up Roberto Duran, and he got flattened by Roy Jones, but other than the appeal of getting a chance to reverse/replay those matchups, who the fuck gives a shit about Vinnie Paz anymore.

EA could’ve at least included Greg Haugen or Ray Mancini, y’know; good fighters that fought Vinnie Pazienza at a point in his career when it mattered, but oh well, he was in the previous one, and now he’s back again.

Whoop-dee-fuckin’-doo…

Closing Thoughts:

I’ve got other complaints with the roster, but I’m tired so I’m gonna’ call it quits here.

The only other thing I feel I need to say, is that I object to the inclusion of the Junior Welterweight and Flyweight classes.

The former because it’s a random weight class to include, being as there’s so much real-life talent in it at the moment, but only 2 fighters in the game for it, and the latter because there’s only 1 fighter to represent the weight.

Why is Junior Welter the only intermediary weight class included besides Light Heavy?

It just doesn’t make sense to include those 2, but none of the others.

Not only that, but of all the fighters to include at that weight, why Emmanuel Augustus and Victor Ortiz?

Sure, both guys are fairly popular, but they’re not at all connected to one another, nor are they all that good compared to some of the other talents floating around out there.

On the same note, Timothy Bradley should be moved down to Junior Welter, as that’s definitely his proper weight.

As I mentioned earlier, no fighter should ever be listed without at least 1 other fighter that has fought/will fight them, and to have only 1 guy for a weight is just plain ludicrous, especially when Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire are so close to having their superfight… At Bantamweight.

Good job placing Nonito in the right weight class EA, really shows you’re paying attention.

Oh yeah, it’s dumb, but I feel it needs to be said that now that Fernando Vargas is in the roster, we really need to get Felix Trinidad in there.

Jus’ sayin’ is all…


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Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito Prediction

This is going to be what I like to call a “political” prediction.

That is to say, I’ll post my genuine, honest to God feelings as to what’s going to happen in the fight; but I’ll do so while mentioning some of the other potential outcomes.

In other words:

I’m hoping to make my prediction while covering my ass.

Anyway, here’s what I think:

Manny Pacquiao has demonstrated in his previous fights in the 140 lbs+ weight range, that his speed, tenacity, and chin have survived the climb in weight.

In Antonio Margarito, Pacquiao will be facing a naturally larger opponent, creating perhaps the largest size disparity he’ll have faced up to this point.

Despite the size issue, here are some of my thoughts Pacquiao as a fighter in general:

 

Manny Pacquiao, being awesome.

Manny’s greatest assets in my book, are his impeccable footwork; wherein he keeps his feet set and primed for leverage and power regardless of his positioning, his calculated exploitation of the obscure punching angles granted to him by his Southpaw stance, and his tendency to breach his opponent’s comfort zone for slightly longer stretches than most fighters are capable.

What I mean by that last statement, is that Pacquiao uses in-and-out tactics with his power punching; but with greater emphasis on the “in” than the “out.”

Most fighters dart in for a few shots, reset; and start from scratch.

Manny darts in for A SHIT TON of shots, changes angles, and comes in for some more; all while generally remaining (or at least feigning that he is) within his opponent’s perceivable punching range.

This results in many opponents chasing Manny in instances when he’s really not far enough away for such actions to be a viable option I.E. Ricky Hatton.

 

A little to the left Mr. Hatton. Jus' sayin'...

Lunging/charging fighter + Filipino with superior handspeed = Filipino with another KO notch on his belt.

In terms of punching angles, to my knowledge Manny’s best shots come straight down the pipe ala a Southpaw Kostya Tszyu, or swatting down from above with a right hook to the point of the chin.

In general, like any good middle range fighter, he aims to connect at the height of extension, though in his case he tends to aim for the chin with his hooks instead a broader target like the the temple or sinus.

 

Sorry to spam the Hatton pics, but you have no idea how happy I was to see his clinching ass flattened...

And you wonder why he’s been knockin’ fools out all these years?

Enough about Pacman, it’s time to show Antonio Margarito some respect:

 

Antonio Margarito, being awesome while pointing.

Antonio Margarito’s best assests are his granite chin, the tremendous volume of his punch output, and his capacity to continually build momentum throughout the fight.

The Tijuana Tornado has a chin, I don’t think anyone would argue that.

To date, Shane Mosley is the first and only fighter to knockout Antonio Margarito, in what was an incredibly one-sided affair.

Despite this, one has to take into consideration the fact that ‘ole Sugar Shane had to club the mighty Mexican across the jaw with overhand rights for nearly 8 rounds straight before his legs began to wobble.

 

9 rounds of THIS. Even Tony Zale would've gone down once or twice...

Make no mistake, water droplets can crack any rock given enough time, and in the case of Antonio Margarito, it took around 24 minutes of torrential downpour for it to finally happen.

The man was knocked out, yes; but in no way should that make anyone discount his ability to take punishment.

Moving on, Margarito is a very large Welterweight with average handspeed, but with a round-to-round punch output and well-varied repertoire of punches to make up for it.

He’s a classic example of the “Bionic Mexican (TM)”:

"I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle..."

A momentum and pressure based fighter with an incredible chin that loves to go to the body, but will gladly throw at whatever you show him in the meantime.

That being said, Margarito is an especially large example of the Bionic Mexican, particularly at his weight.

No doubt aware of this, Margarito stalks his opponents and keeps his gloves in their face all night until they mentally break down.

While said strategy often results in him eating a lot more shots than most trainers would like to see their fighters deal with, it also has the added benefit of causing fighters to fight on the move, forcing opponents with foowork issues to throw the majority of their punches from weak stances, thusly diminishing the power of their shots I.E. Miguel Cotto.

This was hard for me to watch. *Sniff* Cotto was my boy...

In terms of best punches, I have to say that I’ve always felt Antonio Margarito had a particularly nasty uppercut with both hands.

Given the length of his arms, I’d imagine it comes from below many fighters periphery, as well as reaches farther than most would expect; thusly resulting in a elusive and powerful punch that is hard to see coming.

"Hello, Golden Johnson." (2 minutes and 28 seconds later) "Goodbye, Golden Johnson."

Not only that, it should also be mentioned that said punch is usually backed up by about 20 other punches from several different angles.

Add it all up, and you have a whirlwind of solid shots from all angles, with one particularly nasty one hiding out somewhere just below.

Now then, let’s get to the prediction, shall we?:

Manny Pacquiao, UD or TKO round 6-8.

As with all of Manny Pacquiao’s fights since he started his journey North of 135 lbs, the only way I see him losing if the other guy gets to do “his thing.”

In the case of Ricky Hatton, I felt that if Ricky could only win if he could get his annoying ass “clinch and hit” game going.

He didn’t, and the result was one of the grandest blow-outs I can recall seeing on live TV.

 

Yay! No more clinching!

In the case of Miguel Cotto, I felt that if the stout Puerto Rican could stymie Pacman with his jab, and then play him into his left hook to the body, he might have a chance at taking the fight.

While Cotto managed to do both of these things, for about 10 seconds; he was ultimately unable to cope with the footwork and angles of Pacquiao, and was thusly hurt too early in the fight to build any sort of momentum.

 

... Not exactly the best way to win a fight there Mr. Cotto.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s all about the comfort zone with Pacquiao.

In short, he denies his opponents of ever acquiring one for themselves over the course of the fight.

Fighters like Juan Manuel Marquez, that have the benefit of a sturdy chin and the capacity and to adjust mid-fight, as well as the willingness to stand and trade in order to weather the storm, are exactly the types of fighters that have what it takes to handle Pacquiao.

The boxing equivalent to yelling, "Get the fuck out my face, son!"

Bear in mind I said “handle,” not “beat.”

In Margarito I see a fighter that has all of the traits I just mentioned, except for the ability to adjust.

While I would never go so far as to say that Antonio Margarito is a one-dimensional fighter, (he’s not) I don’t see him as having the sufficient level of science in his fighting to take a step back and say:

“This isn’t working.  Let’s start over next round.”

As such, I have a feeling that this fight could end up being another case of Pacquiao doing his thing, while the other never gets a chance to show what he’s got… While eating an ungodly amount of punches.

While that is my gut feeling and my official prediction for the Pacquiao\Margarito fight, there are a few alternate scenarios I feel are worth mentioning:

First off, Margarito’s chin, coupled with his punch output; could in fact put Pacquiao in his place.

Unlike Ricky Hatton, whose rigid head and neck posture caused his damage to pile up prematurely, Margarito, much like his fellow contemporary Bionic Mexican brother Librado Andrade, is amazingly skilled at rolling with the punches.

Uh... Good job?

While Pacquiao’s hardest shots come straight down the middle, thusly negating this maneuver; said technique could allow the Tijuana Tornado to power through some of Pacman’s more superficial punches, thereby allowing Margarito to land some shots of his own, thusly turning quick potshots into full-blown exchanges.

Make no mistake, if Margarito can exchange with Pacquiao as he’s attempting to step in or out of range, the momentum factor could make for some interesting later rounds.

Another aspect of the fight to take into consideration, is the fact that neither fighter is known to clinch very often, if at all; and yet both display a vulnerability to the technique.

In the case of Margarito, the clinch was instrumental in Shane Mosley’s victory over him, as it allowed him to smother his punches, as well as land heavy shots on the way in without the danger of follow-up shots to contend with.

While I have yet to witness anyone able to successfully clinch with Pacquiao with any sort of regularity, my gut tells me he too would have issues contending with it.

He’s a middle-range fighter with impeccable and commanding footwork, meaning if you take those factors away from him, he’s left with a crippled offense and the fatigue brought on by the constant grappling.

While I honestly don’t see it happening, if Margarito really wants to win, (and lose the respect of his fans in the process) it would be interesting seeing him stoop to the level of using the methods of his previous conqueror to take on Pacman.

Truth be told, while clinching is supposedly a form of cheating according to the official rules of the sport, for this fight it would make a lot of sense for Margarito to try.

He’s got the height and wingspan to take full advantage of it, and the disparity in size would most certainly wear on Pacquiao, regardless of how deep his stamina reserves may be.

Anyway, after a long day of work this is just about everything I can think of to say on the subject of Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito.

I probably won’t be seeing this one live, so make sure to check it out for me!

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Miguel Cotto: I Worry Some Times…

I worry about Miguel Cotto.

Ever since the first time I saw him fight, back in ’05 against Muhammad Abdullaev, he was supposed to be my guy in boxing.

He was supposed to be the fighter whose career I would fervently follow and admire, win or lose.

He wasn’t supposed to be the fighter I was always worrying about.

Miguel Cotto is, in many ways; the quintessential Puerto Rican fighter.

While his style consists of a combination of pressure-based infighting and skillful counter-punching, (backed by an impressive jab) everything he does has a “swagger” to it, a sense of theatricality and flash.

Unfortunately, it is this “swagger” that has always made me worry about Miguel Cotto.

Boxing is a sport that is, above all; won through skillful observation and analysis.

Occasionally, a fighter will come around that can overcome their opponents with pure athleticism and raw physicality I.E. Roy Jones Jr., but in most cases it is a fighter’s mind, timing and reflexes that win the day.

It is a sport wherein predictability and tendencies are a fighter’s worst enemy.

Miguel Cotto has quirks, and they aren’t the good kind.

Most of these quirks are fairly minor, and aren’t really an issue, such as his tendency to cross his legs or readjust his footing prior to stepping in.

The most visible of these quirks however, is one that seems to surface in-between exchanges, particularly when Cotto parries, or is caught by a right hand.

For whatever reason, Cotto has a tendency to tuck his chin against his left shoulder, drop his left arm to his waist, and cup his right glove against his temple.

Don't even try to tell me that's a shell defense...

My theory as to it’s existence, is that Cotto has a habit of “hanging on to” his perceptions and visualizations of the fight.

That is to say, the image in his head of what he should have done tends to linger and cause him to physically carry out the appropriate action just a moment later.

I swear I’m not a psyche student.  Scout’s honor.

In my eyes, it’s an immensely visible, and more importantly; exploitable tendency that I’ve always feared would lead to Cotto getting steamrolled by aggressive fighters with accurate punches and/or high workrates.

Oh wait, that happened already.

Twice.

Now don’t get me wrong, I started out this post being pro-Cotto, and I intend to end it that way too, but it goes without saying that Miguel Cotto is a fighter that, at this stage in his career; is all too vulnerable.

Just to remind everyone, he’s only lost twice.

The first time, against the bionic Mexican, Antonio Margarito; he may have been facing a man with loaded gloves.

The second time, against Filipino phenom Manny Pacquiao; he was facing one of the best (active) fighters alive.

Neither loss should stand as a condemnation of Cotto’s standing as a fighter, however both losses were very hard to watch.

Not because he was pummeled so horribly, (he was) but because of the way he handled it.

Early in Miguel Cotto’s career, as a Junior Welterweight, he made his mark in the sport by being a “comeback kid” of sorts.

He was a dynamic and explosive fighter that had a reputation of being floored in his fights, only to get up and mount punishing offensives that would send his opponents packing.

After Cotto moved up in weight to Welterweight, a weight he claimed was healthier for him, his somewhat questionable chin seemed become less of an issue.

Personally, I feel that Cotto will never find an ideal weight class in boxing, (he’s too short for Junior Middleweight, and not all that big for a Welter) his chin will always be an iffy subject,  it just wasn’t until years later that we saw it tested again.

In his fight against the talented, but RETARDED, Zab Judah; Cotto took a monster left uppercut to the jaw during the first round that had him reeling.

He never went down, and he went on to win the fight by KO, (though Judah’s ADHD may have had more to do with that than anything else) but the point was, he was seriously hurt in that fight, and it showed.

Hell, he only punched Zab in the balls like, 30 times that night, sounds like the behavior of a hurt and/or pissed off fighter to me.

The next time we saw him seriously hurt, he was being swept away by the human tidal wave known as Antonio Margarito.

Pictured: The Bionic Mexican, Antonio Margarito

I remember the Cotto/Margarito fight vividly.

I was watching it with my parents, and my dad was rooting for Margarito, while I was backing the Puerto Rican.

My dad and I both knew Cotto was probably going to lose, but unlike my dad; I had a personal stake in the fight.

I wanted Cotto to win.

That’s what made it so hard when my guy looked the slickest he ever had in the first 5-6 rounds, only to slowly, and decisively; get clubbed to death against the corner post.

I remember my heart sinking the moment I saw Cotto take a knee without taking a punch.

It was like my generation’s “No Mas” moment.

Well, maybe not that dramatic, but it was important to me.

I wasn’t mad at Cotto for giving up, I was just blown away by the fact that actually got up and tried to fight.

It was stupid.

Pictured: An Idiot. It's Ricky Hatton, look him up.

When Arturo Gatti, or Jake LaMotta, or Tony Zale did their thing, nobody could stop them because they couldn’t stop themselves.

In their prime, you could beat any one of those guys over the head with a shovel, and somehow their mind, their body, no matter how fragmented and crippled; would find a way to stand in front of you and just keep swinging.

Hell, they used to say that Gatti was no good unless he was bleeding, God rest his soul.

Good thing he was usually swollen and/or bleeding on his way down the ramp.

Pictured: Arturo Gatti BEFORE the fight.

Seeing Miguel Cotto stand up and expect to turn the tide, after 4-5 rounds of awkwardly circling and half-heartedly jabbing at Antonio Margarito, was just plain sick.

When Miguel Cotto gets hurt, he makes mistakes.

When fighters make mistakes, they get hurt even worse.

Dissecting Miguel Cotto’s behavior while in “survival mode,” is painfully simple, even for a armchair quarterback like me.

Keep in mind, we’ve only really seen Cotto in this way on two occasions, though in this case, two times is twice too many.

Everything about his fighting reverts back to his quirks.

In short, his boxer’s mind sort of fizzles out, and all he’s left with are the comforts of his muscle memories.

Only problem is, most of his muscle memories are wrong.

He crosses his legs, he crouches too low, he retreats straight back, and he does that weird thing where he drops his hands, all while staying on his feet, but doing very little to keep himself in the fight.

Well, short of this anyway.

There are situations when the trainer should step in and stop the fight, and both of Miguel Cotto’s losses were those sort of situations.

Against the genetic freak, Manny Pacquiao, Cotto was in serious trouble for most of the fight.

In the early rounds, he did alright, landing the first real decisive blow of the fight, (a jab) and maintaining a degree of composure for the most part.

I was non-partisan for the Cotto/Pacquiao fight.

I remember watching the fight in a bar with some friends and saying to myself in the third round:

“Aw fuck, his feet are all over the place.  Pac-Man’s runnin’ circles around him.”

And it was true, Cotto was caught on far too many occasions, clumsily trying to reset his feet as he tends to do, while Pacquiao would dart in from the clever angles that have always made him dangerous.

This, is not one of those angles.

Let it be said also, that Cotto’s forehead centric guard is tailor made to make him eat straight left hands to the jaw.

Not a good thing when that’s your opponent’s money punch.

After Cotto went down, he was out of the fight.

Perhaps if he had better powers of recovery, or hadn’t been fighting as aggressive and accurate a puncher as Pacquaio, he may have been able to regain his senses and get back in the fight.

This was not the case however, and, while Cotto managed to keep Pac-Man at bay with the occasional stiff jab off the ropes every now and again, his legs spent the whole night fighting a losing battle against Pacquiao’s constant pressure.

It was truly unfortunate, for me anyway, to have had to watch Cotto stumble around, making all the same mistakes as he had in the latter rounds of the Margarito fight, for almost the whole of 12 rounds.

On a side note, I got a similar feeling of disgust watching Yuri Foreman hobble around on one leg for 3 rounds during Cotto’s most recent fight.

Mercante: "C'mon kid, suck it up." Kind of hard to do when YOU HAVE ONE LEG. Dumbass...

The Cotto/Pacquiao fight should have been stopped in the 9th round, or perhaps even sooner; end of story.

Maybe Cotto’s “survival mode” is just too good for his own safety.

Maybe he does just enough to keep the ref happy, and his opponent at bay in the hopes of hearing the final bell.

Maybe it’s his own damn fault he doesn’t just get knocked the fuck out and call it an early night.

I don’t know what to think of Miguel Cotto when he’s hurt, and all of the familiar quirks and bad habits boil to the surface.

I would never go so far as to say that Cotto’s days are numbered, and that his career is on the downward spiral, however that doesn’t keep me from worrying.

I’ll never stop watching all of Miguel Cotto’s fights, and he’ll never stop being my guy in boxing.

I am a Miguel Cotto fan, and by golly, I worry some times…

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