Fight fans who savour a scrap rather than a circus shall be tuning into BoxNation on August 26th to watch Hall of Famer in waiting Miguel Cotto attempt to win a sixth world title at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

The 36 year old Puerto Rican warlord confronts Japan’s Yoshihiro Kamegai for the WBO Super-Welter title recently vacated by ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and can expect a proper rumble. The Tokyo terror, 34, holds the edge in height and reach, and has lost just three of 32 with 24 victims toppling early. Unlike Cotto, the Japanese ironman is yet to be stopped.

Ahead of their sequel in Newcastle in late October, Britain’s feuding world class super-welters Liam Smith and Liam Williams cast their expert eye over the principals and predict how the punch-up will pan out.

Liam Smith

I’ve been a huge Cotto fan since his pro debut. A coach at our amateur club got me onto him and I started to model his techniques as a kid. He was deadly at light-welter before weight (issues) started to hurt him, then he had some very good wins at welter, like that stoppage of a peak Zab Judah.  I loved Cotto’s hooks to head and body and that huge Puerto Rican fan base in New York. He was never in boring fights.

Clearly he’s at the back end of his career now – his next loss will probably be his last loss – but he’s still a tough fight for anybody at 154. 

Cotto will shift tickets in LA, his new base since he joined Freddie Roach, but it’s a pity it’ll be overshadowed by the Mayweather-McGregor farce in Vegas the same night. You’ll be lucky if the media fill one row of the press section. It’s mad the way boxing has become. Skills are no longer the most important thing.

Cotto definitely deserves a shot at the vacant belt, 100%, but Kamegai is just a welter. I’ve got good knowledge of the division and I’ve watched quite a few of Kamegai’s fights. At welter, he was game and tough. He’ll bring a good fight to watch. He’s been in a couple of Fight of the Year candidates against Jesus Soto Karass. I know Kamegai’s got loads of stoppages but it’s more his punch output than sheer power. He’s all action, throws lots of shots.

And sometime soon, youth and freshness will do for Cotto. After all those wars with the likes of Margarito, Pacquiao, Mayweather and ‘Canelo’, I don’t think he could handle a fast paced fight against the fresh young talents of the division. He’s got millions in the bank so I’m not sure he still has the youth and hunger to go to war.

But I expect he’ll have enough to see off Kamegai and become world champion again. Kamegai’’s there to be hit and too small to hold off Cotto. Miguel has the variety to find the gaps and open him up.  Cotto stops him around mid way.’

Liam Williams

I’ve been a massive Cotto fan for many years and I’ve even got him tattooed on my back! He can box, scrap and his fights are always very exciting to watch. Stylistically, he’s got good movement, a great jab, and a big punch when he lets his hands go.

Today, obviously, his punches don’t possess the power and snap they did a few years back and he no longer has the intensity or punch output of his prime. But I still believe he has a lot to offer. He’s certainly not shown any signs of vulnerability before this period of inactivity and he’s still got all that experience and knowledge. He’s still well above average.

He’ll be attempting to win his sixth world title so it’s a bit of a farce that all the attention that night will be diverted to Floyd Mayweather – still ‘The Man’ – against someone who’s never had a boxing fight. It’s very unfair to a deserving fighter. A piss take.

Obviously Cotto deserves to contend for the vacant belt and, if the WBO deem Kamegai worthy, who is to say otherwise. You have to respect that.

I’ve seen a few clips and he’s decent. He’s not that skilful but seems very tough and resistant, brings high intensity and pressure, punches hard and in volume. It’s hard to assess against the opposition he’s fought but he looks very strong physically. If Cotto allows him to get on the front foot, he’ll be in for a tough night.

The way to beat the Miguel Cotto of 2017 is to make him work very, very hard, round after round. At this stage of our careers, I’m very confident that I have the power and counter punching ability to execute that and make Miguel pay for his mistakes. But does Kamegai?

Kamegai will no doubt try to put in on Cotto from the first bell but I expect Cotto to bring a good game plan, outbox and outmanoeuvre Kamegai, perhaps walk him on to something. Skillwise, Miguel should still have far too much and will probably win every round to take a 12 round points verdict.’


Buy BoxNation to watch Miguel Cotto v Yoshihiro Kamegai on Saturday night.