The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Cotto vs. Foreman

Or as Bob Arum has helpfully all-but-subtitled it, Puerto Ricans vs. Jews. I have had the week from hell, so this is nothing but short bullet points:

– Early projections say this show is going to draw 25,000-30,000 to Yankee stadium. On some level this is an obvious win when you’re talking about tens of thousands of people watching boxing live. On the other hand, there’s three major debits to keep in mind on this: the level of local advertising for this show has been truly massive, this number is artificially inflated by the one-time-only novelty of this being the first New York stadium fight since my grandpa was my age, and the innate draw of tribal ethnic hatred appears to be-blessedly- waning. Tonight’s crowd may be the maximum size of a boxing audience that can be drawn in New York without having one of the sport’s handful of true superstars headlining. Taken in that light it’s not nearly as impressive; perhaps the best spin that can be put on it is that it reveals just how much the center of gravity for the sport has shifted towards the west coast.

– There may be plans for him if things don’t go as expected, but make no mistake: this is the cash-out fight on Miguel Cotto. It’s not an accident that Foreman is a fight Freddie Roach absolutely refused to accept for Manny Pacquiao; he’s a solid to big 154 pounder, he’s slick, he’s skilled, he moves, he has a good jab and while his fights are frequently war crime-level bad and he can’t crack tissue paper, he’s absolutely the worst kind of matchup for a stumpy midget like Cotto who once upon a time was considered too small for welterweight. On paper, Cotto’s giving up 4 inches of height and 5 inches of reach- realistically it’s probably more, and Foreman will likely outweigh him by the time the fight kicks off as well. Bob Arum is obviously trying to get rid of Cotto at this point, having used him for everything he could get. The writing was on the wall when he chose to support Antonio Margarito over Cotto in the hand-wrap controversy, likely because Arum wants Margarito available as a fallback plan for Pacquiao. The problem for Arum- and for boxing- is that Foreman will never be the kind of attraction that Cotto is. Most likely, something will be lost tonight in terms of the total star power in the sport.

– For a fight pick, I guess I’ll take Foreman. He’s just too damn big, and the current version of Miguel Cotto can’t really deal with his style. People somehow keep fooling themselves into thinking Cotto will fight like JC Chavez again, marching forward to drop the left hook to the body, but he hasn’t been that guy for years if he ever really was. He got out-slugged by Shane Mosley and got up on his toes and moved behind a jab late to take that fight; for one reason or another he lost a slugfest with Margarito and ended up moving and jabbing in that fight; he got smashed early by Josh Clottey and once again resorted to boxing. If anything he ought to get more credit for being as good a boxer as he is- part of the reason he’s kept fighting that way in recent years is because it’s worked for the most part. Once in a while he’ll still play destroyer against an out-matched punching bag like Fonso Gomez, but it’s not his default strategy anymore. Ordinarily a fighter like Foreman would fall into the punching bag category, but he out-sizes Cotto so badly that simply by dint of bulk he doesn’t offer the opportunities for Cotto to walk through power shots in order to work the body and go for a KO. Cotto’s going to have to box with Foreman, which is a bad idea. Foreman UD12. If Cotto wins it’s simply by being 27,000 times more talented, and Foreman may freeze on the big stage.

-Manny Steward is training Cotto for this fight, and I don’t care. Steward is a hall of fame trainer, but in recent years his failures (Jermaine Taylor) have been as numerous as his successes (Wladimir Klitschko) and his default strategy for every fighter of staying tall and dropping big rights behind a jab is completely the wrong idea for Cotto unless Manny’s had the rules changed so Cotto is allowed to stand on a box or wear stilts during the fight. Combine this with the number of bizarre things Steward says on commentary on any given night these days, and I strongly suspect he’s lost his fastball as a trainer. The fact that he sounds utterly morose in his public comments probably isn’t helping the confidence of a fighter who’s coming off of a big loss and by most accounts has had major, major disruptions in his personal life of late either.

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June 5, 2010 - Posted by | Boxing

3 Comments »

  1. I hear what your saying, but I think you’re missing one simple point: Foreman isn’t a good fighter. Bigger, sure. But this is the perfect fight for Cotto (though I may be proven wrong). In boxing, class will rise to the top, especially when there is such a huge gulf in talent.

    But, with that said, my jaw won’t drop if Foreman wins. And I think it will be much better for boxing if Foreman wins, so they can keep on banging the Jewish drum. Love it or hate it, this is a sport made of ethnic rivalries. I, personally, love it.

    Comment by Tony M. | June 5, 2010 | Reply

  2. For whatever it’s worth, I hope you’re right. I don’t think Foreman is really any good; I just think he’s a lot bigger and Cotto has declined- the man’s just taken some egregious beatings in recent years. I’d love to be wrong, especially if Foreman wins; I’m not convinced there’s enough of a Jewish boxing audience these days to let Foreman be much of a draw, especially given his heinous style. But what do I know? Maybe they’ll get a huge walk up. We can hope.

    Comment by theshipbesinking | June 5, 2010 | Reply

  3. I hope you’re wrong… I hope Cotto isn’t shot.

    I guess we’ll find out tonight!

    Comment by Ken | June 5, 2010 | Reply


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