After interminable negotiations, it’s on — Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will challenge Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto for the lineal middleweight championship of the world on November 21 in Las Vegas on HBO pay-per-view. Never mind that neither man has so far campaigned as a true middleweight, this is one of the best fights that can be made in boxing: Cotto and Canelo are two of the sport’s biggest stars and both men feature in the TQBR pound for pound list.
More importantly, they’re both action fighters. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which this fight fizzles. Canelo is the favourite, and rightly so — he’s younger, sharper and a bigger puncher. But Cotto brings an almost unrivaled offensive arsenal and years of experience. The most obvious disparity, however, is in size. While Cotto holds the lineal middleweight championship, he’s clearly no middleweight. And while Canelo has been fighting at junior middleweight (at least officially), his skeletal weigh-in appearances and dramatic rehydrations speak to a maturing 25-year-old body.
A Canelo win would be an obvious passing of the torch moment — already an idol, the Mexican ginger is ready to move into the realm of superstardom. It’d also free up the middleweight belt Cotto has more or less held hostage since he won it from Sergio Martinez in 2014. Canelo seems much more inclined to fight dangerous foes, including the most feared man in the division (and perhaps the sport), Gennady Golovkin. A Cotto victory, on the other hand, would cement the Puerto Rican’s Hall of Fame credentials.
What’s not to like? Boxing might not have given us everything we’ve wanted in 2015, but it’s given us the two big ticket items: Mayweather vs Pacquiao and Cotto vs Canelo. Unlike the former, the latter won’t disappoint.