Saturday, September 23, 2023  |


Fight Picks: Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez

Fighters Network
Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda

Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda


Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez lock horns in the latest chapter of the storied Puerto Rico-Mexico rivalry at a 155-pound catchweight when they contest THE RING magazine middleweight championship. The HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast begins at 9:00 ET/PT.

Cotto (40-4, 33 knockouts) had been set to also put his WBC title on the line against Canelo (45-1-1, 32 KOs) until he balked at paying a reported $1.1 million – a $800,000 step-aside fee to IBF/WBA beltholder Gennady Golovkin and $300,000 in sanctioning fees. He was then stripped and now only Canelo can win the WBC strap on Saturday at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Event Center in Las Vegas.

The bout is widely thought of as a 50/50 fight; however, our experts firmly believe the scales will tip in one man’s favor.

It pits Cotto’s experience vs. Canelo’s youth. Who will prevail?

Online gambling group lists Canelo as a favorite at 3/10 (-333), while Cotto is priced at 5/2 (+250). asked 25 boxing insiders for their picks:

Kenny Adams, trainer of 25 world champions
Canelo Alvarez KO Miguel Cotto: Canelo, I think in the later rounds. I like his youth, his power and I think Cotto’s, on this side, over 50 percent shot. He hasn’t had viable fights for the last two or three fights, nothing special there, but what he’s been able to do (by winning) is because he’s got nothing in front of him. Canelo’s busy-ness and his power and everything, I pick him.

Yori Boy Campas, former junior middleweight titlist

Canelo Alvarez dec. Miguel Cotto: It’s going to be a great fight. I feel because Canelo is younger and has some decent experience, it’s going to be a great battle but I think Canelo is gonna win. Cotto is very strong, so it might go the distance. I’m not going to predict that (a stoppage).

Cameron Dunkin, boxing manager

Canelo Alvarez KO Miguel Cotto: I like Canelo a lot. I’m a big Canelo fan and I think he’s gonna stop (Cotto). I think he’ll stop him sometime late in the fight, (round) nine, 10, something like that.

Kathy Duva, promoter, Main Events

Canelo Alvarez PTS 12 Miguel Cotto: I keep going back and forth in my mind. Canelo is bigger. Cotto has the more impressive resume. In the end, I am going to go with youth and size over experience this time. So my pick is Canelo by decision.

George Foreman, two-time heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist

Canelo Alvarez KO 9 Miguel Cotto: It will be a battle of wills as they are evenly matched. In my opinion, things will start to separate after that. Canelo Alvarez punches like a mule. Cotto just doesn’t have the heart to run; he will stand to fight after six rounds and, by the ninth round, he’ll most likely be KO’ed by Canelo.

Norm Frauenheim, The Ring magazine/

Canelo Alvarez TKO 10 Miguel Cotto: Canelo 10th round TKO. Cotto has the smarts and the right trainer in Freddie Roach to make all the adjustments. But smarts and adjustments don’t take away the years, which are there like lines in a crosshairs. Scars from Cotto’s many wars crisscross his forehead like rings on old tree. Canelo’s combos, his most effective weapon, will target them with accuracy, resulting in punishment that will force a late-rounds stoppage.

Jeffrey Freeman, KODigest.TV

Canelo Alvarez SD12 Miguel Cotto: Forget the catchweight issues that swirl around this muddled middleweight title bout and focus instead on the intangibles that win big fights. In Miguel Cotto’s corner is the invaluable experience of having faced the very best fighters of his generation. In the corner of Canelo Alvarez, there is youth and peak. The Mexican is just 25 but a veteran of 47 prizefights, three more than the 35-year-old Cotto. On Nov. 21, I see a highly competitive encounter in which Canelo scores a flash knockdown early, rumbles on even terms with Cotto throughout most of the fight but then tires in the championship rounds. A late rally from the defending champion will hurt Canelo to the body, set up by the left hook, but it will be too little too late. The early knockdown will prove critical on the judges’ scorecards and Alvarez will be awarded a hard fought but well deserved split decision. Close enough and good enough to do it again, Gennady Golovkin will have to keep waiting because there will surely be a big bucks Canelo-Cotto rematch.

Sean Gibbons, Zanfer Promotions matchmaker

Canelo Alvarez KO 10 Miguel Cotto: My heart’s with Cotto. I love Cotto. I was with Cotto in the very beginning. I matched his pro debut with Bruce Trampler, so I’ve known Cotto over the years very well and I wish he would win but, if I was the betting man, I just have to go with Canelo.

Even though Freddie’s tremendous, he’s put some life back in Cotto. When you look at Cotto, do you see a big guy? He’s got a frame more like a welterweight, a smaller guy.

Cotto’s had a long, illustrious career. He started at a smaller weight, worked his way up. I don’t view him as a big 154-pounder, so it’s the old adage: You have the older guy in Cotto, who looked very good in his last fights because he’s fought the right guys. I just think Canelo’s a little bigger, a little more physical and he’s going to break Cotto down as the fight goes on. I could possibly see a 10th round stoppage.

At the end of the day, I just think it’s youth over experience and Canelo will prevail somewhere late in the fight.

Tom Gray,

Canelo Alvarez TKO 12 Miguel Cotto: I’ve given this fight plenty of thought over the last three years or so and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Miguel Cotto, for me, is the more technically gifted of the two and his movement is vastly superior. One of the reasons I picked Floyd Mayweather to school Canelo is because the Mexican is flat-footed and that’s not something that’s likely to change.

Canelo, however, is a fierce puncher and Cotto has been hurt by fighters who don’t punch anywhere near as hard. Also, despite being slow of foot, the challenger has terrific hand speed and if he gets himself into position to punch, the results can be devastating.

For the reasons above, I see Cotto getting off to a magnificent start and he could even make Canelo look ordinary. The problem is that the Puerto Rican icon doesn’t have impenetrable defense and, somewhere along the line, he’s going to get nailed. When he does, I can see Canelo finding more openings when the champion slows down and I think he can force a very late stoppage.

Either way, this will be a great fight.

David Greisman,

Canelo Alvarez dec. Miguel Cotto: Cotto has looked great again since teaming with Freddie Roach and brings in far more experience at a higher level than Canelo Alvarez. That should help give Cotto early success against Canelo. But, in this fight, I believe Alvarez’s youth and size will lead to him seizing command of the action en route to a career-defining victory.

Lee Groves,

Saul Alvarez TKO 11 Miguel Cotto: I think the stars are lining up for a Canelo victory and here’s why: First, the 155-pound catchweight won’t be a problem for Alvarez because he was 155 when he destroyed Alfredo Angulo and out-pointed Erislandy Lara, plus he was 154 1/2 when he blasted out James Kirkland. Second, Canelo has the dual benefit of being 10 years younger yet having more pro fights than Cotto (47 to 44). Third, he has the advantages in height and reach, plus he is arguably the best combination puncher in the sport. Fourth, while I believe that Cotto has found new life in his partnership with Freddie Roach, one can’t forget that he defeated a ring-rusty and gimpy Sergio Martinez, an overpowered Delvin Rodriguez and a Daniel Geale that, first, was weight-weakened, then overly bloated. This time he’ll meet a younger, fresher, stronger and primed borderline pound-for-pound talent. The jump in caliber will be exposed as Canelo scores a late-round TKO.

Andreas Hale,

Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Miguel Cotto: As impressive as Miguel Cotto has looked in his past few fights under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, his victories have been a bit of a smokescreen, considering he was facing weight-drained competition and a once-great middleweight who never got right after knee surgery. Canelo has youth on his side and won’t come into this fight battle-worn or coming off injury. And that youth isn’t in the sense of actual age, rather, the amount of wars Cotto has been in. Not to mention that Canelo appears to have a distinct size advantage, whereas Cotto barely fills in at the junior middleweight limit.

For that reason, I anticipate a highly entertaining war between the two but the lessons Canelo learned while losing to Mayweather will come handy in the later rounds and that, coupled with disciplined body punching, ever improving footwork and a stellar chin, will lead the talented Mexican to a close but unanimous decision victory over the future Hall-of-Famer.

Rafael Herrera, former bantamweight champion

Canelo Alvarez KO Miguel Cotto: It’s a really healthy rivalry. It brings out these wars. It brings out these fans. I really like it.

It’s going to be a very difficult fight. The way I saw Canelo’s performance, in his last fight, I see a very effective Canelo. He’s very strong, so he should be able to win this fight by knockout.

Sugar Ray Leonard, six-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist

Miguel Cotto PTS 12 Canelo Alvarez: I like Cotto for sentimental reasons and for what he has meant to the sport and boxing fans! Canelo has developed and grown along the way and was taken to school against one of the best in Mayweather. If Cotto becomes that Miguel Cotto I remember, he will win by a smart, technical and fearless decision.

Lennox Lewis, undisputed heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist

Miguel Cotto dec. Canelo Alvarez: I’m picking Cotto over Canelo because he has the most experience.

Tom Loeffler, managing director of K2 Promotions, which promotes Gennady Golovkin

Canelo Alvarez dec. Miguel Cotto: I think it will be a great fight between two proven champions with lots of heart. I lean toward Canelo by decision as he is the younger and physically bigger fighter but you can’t take anything away from Cotto with his experience, especially now with Freddie in his corner.

Antonio Margarito, former welterweight champion

Canelo Alvarez dec. Miguel Cotto: Although I don’t think this will be an easy fight for either one, I have to go with Canelo. It’s obvious that Cotto will be on the defensive. Canelo is too young and strong for Cotto to want to stay in the inside. Canelo has to pressure Cotto and take his legs away. Cotto is a very smart fighter. If Canelo does not go into this fight with the correct fight plan, Cotto can win a decision.

Erik Morales, former four-division world champion

Canelo Alvarez KO Miguel Cotto: It’s gonna be a difficult fight. Cotto’s gonna have to keep his distance, avoid the pressure, use a lot of leg movement. I feel it’s gonna be something that is going to be difficult for Cotto to do against a powerful young fighter that hasn’t has as many wars as Cotto has, so he’s going to have a very difficult task in front of him. I feel the Mexican, in this case, Canelo, has more opportunity to win this fight. I feel it should end in a knockout.

Diego Morilla,,,

Saul Alvarez W 12 Miguel Cotto: Puerto Rican superstar and future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cotto has faced every style imaginable in the ring, and with only four exceptions so far he has been able to adapt his game to every challenge. But the same can be said about his cinnamon-freckled opponent Canelo Alvarez, an equally talented young fighter with a ring experience that has nothing to envy Cotto’s (it’s hard to believe that the 25-year old Canelo is already a 10-year veteran of the fight game). Cotto’s cold-headed, methodical approach will clash with Alvarez’s equally technical but much more physical approach in a fight between two battle-tested veterans in which the Mexican fighter will have youth and power on his side as two of the main (if not the only ones) arguments to beat Cotto in what is shaping up as an instant classic. I expect Alvarez to weather the storm early on against a fully focused and committed Cotto, only to wear him out down the stretch for with a punishing body attack to score a decisive win on points.

John J. Raspanti, Boxing Show

Canelo Alvarez TKO 11 Miguel Cotto: The boxing year ends with a big bang as lineal middleweight champion Miguel Cotto meets former junior middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.

Cotto’s “Back to the Future” rebirth began when he hired Freddie Roach as his trainer. Roach returned Cotto to what he once was – a hard-charging, hard-hitting, knockout machine.

Alvarez looked dynamic last May when he knocked James Kirkland out in three action-packed rounds. The win was expected as Kirkland’s chin isn’t exactly made out of cement. Cotto captured the middleweight title by defeating an over-the-hill Sergio Martinez.

Alvarez is the younger man by 10 years. Cotto has been in with the stiffer competition. Both fighters have solid chins.
Cotto is quicker but Alvarez is slightly bigger. Cotto could have the edge in stamina.

I see a close fight throughout with Alvarez stopping Cotto in round 11.

Matt Richardson, and BWAA vice president and secretary

Canelo Alvarez KO 11 Miguel Cotto: I think this will be a great fight with swings in momentum but it’s hard for me to pick Miguel Cotto. I just think Canelo Alvarez is too young, too sharp and, by fight night, probably too big. I think Cotto can and will outbox Canelo early on but as the fight progresses, Canelo will be able to close the distance and start connecting. From there, it’ll be a matter of who has more in the tank and, at 25 years old, that’s going to be Canelo. It’ll be fun and exciting but ultimately Cotto’s unreliable chin will betray him again as Canelo scores a late-round TKO to become the new champion.

Salvador Rodriguez, ESPN Deportes

Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Miguel Cotto: I Pick Canelo by UD. The youth, strength and skills give him the victory over the smart warrior Cotto.

Cliff Rold,

Canelo Alvarez KO Miguel Cotto: Still not buying the rebirth of Cotto. All those miles aren’t gone. They just haven’t been faced with a physical threat. Alvarez is younger, bigger and has the maturity and countering ability to bust Cotto up.

Michael Rosenthal, editor-in-chief, THE RING magazine

Canelo Alvarez TKO 9 Miguel Cotto: I have tremendous respect for Miguel Cotto and his accomplishments but I believe his recent success – three straight victories – is misleading. Delvin Rodriguez and Daniel Geale are solid but limited and a gimpy Sergio Martinez was a shell of what he once was when they met. I believe the Cotto who lost to Austin Trout is closer to the real Cotto. And that will play out against Canelo Alvarez, who is too big and too good at this point for the Puerto Rican. Alvarez by ninth round knockout.

Dominic Verdin,

Canelo Alvarez TKO 4 Miguel Cotto: Miguel Cotto is at the end of his marvelous career. Cotto has accomplished so much as a professional boxer; win, lose or draw against the younger, fresher and the perceived stronger man of the two will not hurt his credentials.

Cotto, 35 years old, has looked tremendous with renowned trainer Freddie Roach. However, Cotto’s competition has not been the sternest and has led many to question whether or not Cotto has what it takes to take on a man who is 10 years younger with much hunger to become champion in the middleweight division.

Canelo continues to prove his skills and his tremendous will to face the best competition in boxing today. Canelo has looked superb, explosive in training, something I did not witness in Cotto’s training camp.

I simply believe Canelo’s hunger, youth and weight advantage will simply be too much and overwhelm Cotto inside four captivating, compelling rounds.

Final tally: A resounding 23-2 in favor of Canelo Alvarez to win Saturday’s middleweight showdown with Miguel Cotto.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at