By Brandon Chacon (@Brondoo34)
BROOKYLN – Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KO’s) will defend his WBC World Middleweight title against the Australian Daniel “Real Deal” Geale (31-3, 16 KO’s) live on HBO at 10:30 p.m. ET. Even though Cotto-Geale will square off for the WBC Middleweight title, the bout will take place at a catchweight of 157lbs.
Geale’s promoter Gary Shaw was reluctant to accept the bout due to the idea of having a catchweight for a title fight, but Cotto’s strong stance on having a catchweight gave Shaw no choice. Either way Cotto-Geale promises to be a decent fight and could prove to be a rather interesting bout.
Cotto is one of boxing’s biggest superstars and became the first ever Puerto Rican to win a title in four different weight classes. Last June, Cotto beat a faded Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez via a tenth round TKO to capture the WBC Middleweight Title. It has almost been a full year since that victory and now Cotto looks to make his first defense of his title.
Madison Square Garden has long been the home of Cotto but now at age 34 he will shift boroughs and make his in-ring return at the Barclays Center since earlier this year he signed a new promotional contract with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Recently Cotto has been attracting a lot of heat due to his strong stance on catchweights especially since he is a champion at 160 but doesn’t seem too keen on actually fighting at 160. Nonetheless, there are still big fights on the horizon for the Puerto Rican veteran but all of that will prove to be futile if he is unable to get past Geale.
Geale, a natural 160lber, hails from New South Wales in Australia and looks to play the spoiler role for Cotto’s return party. Though Geale isn’t a big name in America, he isn’t an opponent Cotto can take lightly, Geale is a three time Middleweight Champion and a former IBF, WBA and IBO Middleweight champion. His best win came against former Middleweight Champion Felix Sturm in Germany, there Geale retained his IBF title and won the WBA Super Middleweight title. Geale still remains as one of the best Middleweight contenders and if this fight were to be at 160, the odds and hype would call for a closer fight.
In America however, Geale hasn’t had much luck and has gone 0-2 fighting here, with his losses coming against Englishmen Darren Barker and against one of the P4P best Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Geale only lost by one point in a SD loss to Barker and against Golovkin he put on a spirited effort which saw a very confident, active and elusive Geale at times. For this fight, Geale looks to turn his luck around by pulling the upset and becoming a four time World Champ in the process.
Cotto will come into this fight as the smaller man but what he is missing in size, he will make it up with his talent. He is one the best well-rounded fighters in the game who can do a little bit of everything. He carries good power in both hands and has one of the best left hooks to the body in the sport. Cotto has a very good body punching game, excellent combination punching and can be very effective when cutting off the ring against opponents. He was able to surprise many with how good his pressure style can be when he squared off against Floyd Mayweather back in 2012. His overall ring generalship and boxing IQ allows him to get on the inside of most fighters. Also Cotto’s excellent jab allows him to control the tempo and distance in most of his fights and he will look to capitalize on this with his fight against Geale.
The only thing that may work against Cotto is his size, Geale has a three inch height and a four inch reach advantage. Cotto’s game plan will be to control the pace of the action and to get on the inside of Geale. The body work of Cotto will be another key factor on this fight, it will tire Geale and allow Cotto to freely get on the inside. If Geale proves to be more elusive than we thought, then it can potentially be a long night for Cotto, who we already have seen struggle against a tactician like Austin Trout.
Geale, who is also 34 years old, is a high-volume boxer who carries a tremendous heart and fights with no fear. He always looks to swarm his opponents with a high work rate, but looks to be in and out of the pocket. Geale isn’t a fighter to just flat out brawl his opponents and he rather fight in bursts to avoid getting hit too much. Golovkin can do a number on anyone so Geale’s stoppage loss to Golovkin doesn’t say much. Geale was and probably still is the best fighter Golovkin has ever faced. He is a tough rugged fighter who outside of Golovkin has never been stopped, so the safe money would be on this fight lasting the full 12 rounds.
In order for Geale to pull the upset he needs to remain as elusive as possible and use his awkward style to disrupt Cotto’s rhythm. Attacking from the outside and keeping the action on the outside can prove to be very important. At some point however, Cotto and Geale will be on the inside and here Geale needs to use his size advantage to bully the smaller man but at the same time avoid any big punches while grappling with Cotto. A Geale victory shouldn’t be a monumental upset but it doesn’t seem likely, Cotto may be too talented and at this point in his career it’s almost a must win for Cotto.
Cotto has done a lot in the sport of boxing but with big fights still on the horizon, there is a lot he can still achieve to keep padding his future hall of fame career. Geale is no push-over, he fights without fear no matter the stage and his attitude can make it difficult for anyone fighting him. This fight would have created a lot more buzz if it wasn’t at a catchweight however, Cotto-Geale is still an interesting match-up that makes it must-watch TV.by