*Note: WBC title on the line for Canelo Alvarez only, after Cotto allegedly failed to pay a WBC sanctioning fee.

Latin fury gets unleashed when Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto defends his WBC middleweight crown against Mexico’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas, this Saturday night at midnight.

Glynn Evans canvasses a dozen of the fight industry’s ace faces in search of a winner.

Adam Booth (London trainer): 

Adam Booth

I see Alvarez winning. I hope it’ll be a good fight to watch but I can see it being one sided.

Since joining Freddie Roach I don’t think Cotto has been in a defining fight that shows dramatic improvement of late. He flattered to deceive against Sergio Martinez because the champion was shot to bits and Daniel Geale simply didn’t offer any resistance.

Now he’s facing the fighting freak that is ‘Canelo’ Alvarez who’s still only 24 years old. Not only is Alvarez a fighter of the very highest grade, he’s the naturally bigger man. I see him being too big, too young, too strong, too fresh. I’d not be surprised if ‘Canelo’ stopped him.

VERDICT: CANELO

*** 

Jamie Cox (world rated super-middleweight):

Jamie Cox

This is easily the best fight of the year, better than Mayweather-Pacquiao; two proper fighting men.

Cotto has always been a hero of mine. He’s a wicked fighter, such a precise puncher. I love him. But I’ve sparred with ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and I believe he’ll prove the more consistent, sharper puncher. He’s also bigger and hits a lot harder.

What makes ‘Canelo’ special is that he lures you into a comfort zone, just catching shots, then suddenly explodes on you. I rate him so highly. I see him stopping Cotto between rounds six and eight.

VERDICT: CANELO

***

Andy Lee (WBO middleweight world champion):

Andy Lee

I’m going against the grain and picking Cotto. He’s boxing very cleverly at the moment and I see him using all his experience to box around ‘Canelo’. At his best, Miguel has excellent rhythm and I believe he can use that to frustrate Alvarez who I expect will come looking to take him out with one spectacular punch. Cotto on points.

VERDICT: COTTO

*** 

Barry Jones (ex WBO Super-Featherweight world champion):

Barry Jones

For me, the fight has come at the wrong time for Miguel Cotto and I think ‘Canelo’ stops him.

Despite the fact that Miguel is world middleweight champion and Alvarez is coming up from light-middle, they’re naturally different sizes. ‘Canelo’ is far the bigger man. He’s been struggling to make 154 for some time now.

Cotto has definitely experienced a new lease of life of late since linking up with Freddie Roach and looked rejuvenated stopping Sergio Martinez and Daniel Geale. But let’s just say, ‘Canelo’ isn’t Daniel Geale. He’s an altogether more formidable beast.  I see Cotto lasting until about round eight because I know how proud and tough he is but eventually ‘Canelo’ will overwhelm him.

VERDICT: CANELO

***

Billy Joe Saunders (WBO Middleweight challenger):  

Billy Joe Saunders

Cotto’s a true warrior; a crippling body puncher and an underestimated technical boxer. But he’s starting to slow down and his defence has always been leaky. He’s there to be hit.

‘Canelo’ can either box or stand and trade and he’s gonna be too big and too fresh. He’s the true middleweight here. There’s a compactness about him. Cotto’s a bit short and ain’t a genuine middleweight. If he were, he’d not keep insisting on these catchweight fights.

It’ll be a very good fight in stages but I expect ‘Canelo’ to control from the off and to stop Cotto late.

VERDICT: CANELO

*** 

Brendan Ingle (Hall of Fame Sheffield trainer):

Brendan Ingle

I see a very thrilling fight between two great fighters. At this elite level neither can afford to make a mistake until the last bell rings.

I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again in the future but I see Cotto causing a surprise here. Everyone knows he’s very tough but he’s also very clever and brings unexpected movements. I see him winning a close decision or possibly by stoppage due to cuts.

VERDICT: COTTO

***

Frank Warren (Hall of Fame promoter):

Frank Warren

One thing I’m very confident of is that it’ll be a great, great fight for BoxNation subscribers. Whenever Mexico comes up against Puerto Rico there’s always a lot of pride and machismo involved.

Miguel Cotto is a good, good fighter who appears to have rediscovered his mojo since moving to Freddie Roach but his age is against him.

‘Canelo’ is something special. People forget that when (Floyd) Mayweather mugged him, Alvarez was forced to boil down to an unnatural weight (152lbs) and he’s always been tight at light-middle anyway. I see him having too much for Cotto at this stage and think he could even stop him after half way.

VERDICT: CANELO

***

Tommy Langford (world rated middleweight):

Tommy Langford

This will be a terrific fight to watch for as long as it lasts. Cotto is such a well schooled fighter but I fear his best days were at welterweight and below.

Both are only light-middles and ‘Canelo’ is the bigger light-middle. Whereas Cotto’s had his share of real hard toe-to-toe wars, Alvarez has breezed through his fights bar Mayweather.

I think he’ll draw Cotto into a ‘tear-up’ and prove too fresh. ‘Canelo’ by stoppage.

VERDICT: CANELO

***

Liam Smith (WBO Super-Welterweight world champion):

Liam SmithLiam Smith

This can’t not be a good fight. Stylistically, they’re two of the very best to watch. I don’t believe I’ve seen either of them ever hold. It’s gonna be unbelievable.

And, you know what, I’m gonna go with Cotto, probably on points. Too many have written him off too soon but he’s enjoying a new lease of life under Freddie Roach. He holds an edge due to the experience from all the big fights he’s previously been in and I just see him ‘old manning’ Alvarez, similar to how Floyd Mayweather did.

VERDICT: COTTO

*** 

Steve Collins (ex two weight WBO world champion):

Steve CollinsSteve Collins

Cotto’s a very good fighter but he’s been beaten several times already. People have worked out the formula to beat him. The blueprint is out there. ‘Canelo’s’ lost just the once to Floyd Mayweather when they messed him about a bit with the weight.

Alvarez is the bigger, stronger man. I expect him to prove too good on the night and to win inside the distance.

VERDICT: CANELO

***

Paul Butler (ex IBF Bantamweight world champion):

Paul Butler

What a cracking match-up. I really hope Cotto can pull off an upset but I can’t see it. I think the miles will finally catch up on him.

Cotto’s had some good wins of late but he’s forced middleweights to boil down. Alvarez looked sensational against (James) Kirkland and I fear he’ll be too big, too young, too fresh, too sharp. I expect ‘Canelo’ to win by stoppage somewhere near the round ten mark.

VERDICT: CANELO

*** 

Gary Lockett (Welsh trainer):

Gary Lockett

Whenever Mexico meets Puerto Rico there’s always lots of national pride at stake and this promises to be right up there with the best fights we’ve seen between these two nations.

Cotto’s quality and has found a new magic formula since moving to Freddie Roach after losing to Austin Trout. Roach has improved technical aspects. But Miguel’s not a natural middleweight. He’s defending the 160lb title with a 155lb cut-off which says it all.

I go with ‘Canelo’. He’s younger and sharper. He could even stop him. At light-middle/middle, he hits harder than Pacquiao and Pacman stopped Cotto (at welterweight). Though ‘Canelo’ is moving up a division, he’s the bigger man here. Cotto appears to have been around forever but now it’s ‘Canelo’s’ time.

VERDICT: CANELO

*** 

FINAL SCORE: COTTO 3 ALVAREZ 9.