Well, here we are on the verge of another big Cotto fight at Madison Square Garden and I will be there with my ticket in hand! I like Cotto in this one all the way as I think his power and working with Freddie Roach will be enough to beat the sh** out of old man Martinez. Cotto will go down as one of the best ever and the best ever from Puerto Rico. So, I was wondering who you like in the fight and what you think of Cotto as an all-time great? – Julio from Puerto Rico but living in NYC baby!
Well man I gotta’ say that I love your enthusiasm! You seem pretty jacked up about the fight on Saturday night and I can’t say as I blame you there. A Cotto fight at MSG is something every boxing fan should experience and it really should be quite an event and the atmosphere will be incredible. Two nights that were just nuts when I was in the house was Cotto vs. Zab Judah and then against Joshua Clottey. In particular for the Judah fight, I thought Cotto’s Puerto Rican fans were going to blow the roof off the old Garden. The sound of the cheers was ear-splitting as I was only four rows back from the ring in the press section. I turned around and looked up as it sounded like a jet had landed in there! OK, anyway, onto your questions. You probably aren’t going to like my answers, but here goes: I think Sergio Martinez is going to lay a hurting on Cotto tomorrow night. He’s the bigger man, a southpaw, used to fighting much larger guys and besides all of that Martinez has mad skills. The first time I saw Martinez live was when he fought Archak TerMeliksetian at Mohegan Sun just about exactly six years ago. I was one of the press row judges for the Showtime network that night so I got an up close view of the mad skills that Martinez possesses. Bottom line is that he has the best footwork and movement of any fighter I have ever seen in person. Hands down the guy is sweet on his feet and when he moves like that he is untouchable. Add to that the fact that he can punch pretty good, is a southpaw and is more of a true middleweight than Cotto and I think all of that leads to problems for Cotto who had his best days at 140 pounds. I look for “Maravilla” Martinez to put on a marvelous performance and bust Cotto up. The strategy of Cotto and Roach seems to be to pressure Martinez and go for the knockout. It’s their only chance as they can’t outbox him – but I think that strategy plays right into Martinez’ hand. Sergio is going to nail Cotto on the way in, break him down and maybe even stop him late. If not I say Martinez by a decision with scores like 116-112, 117-111 or something in that vicinity. As far as Cotto as an all-time great? I would say no, not even close. He just doesn’t rank anywhere near guys such as Robinson, Ali, Duran or Armstrong. That is not even a conversation worth having to be honest with you. As far as the best ever from Puerto Rico? I don’t see that either. As you know, Puerto Rico has produced a ton of great fighters and for my money Cotto ranks pretty far down on the list there, too. Names such as Carlos Ortiz, Wilfredo Gomez, Wilfred Benitez, Hector Camacho, Sr. and Felix Trinidad all are ahead of him. Then there’s others such as Sixto Escobar, Alfredo Escalera, Esteban DeJesus and Wilfredo Vazquez. I don’t have a hate on for Cotto – but I’d say he’s in the top 10 of best from Puerto Rico but definitely in the lower half of the top 10.
I hope all is well with you brother! Not sure if you remember this or not but you and I met and spoke in Vegas at the Pacquiao – Cotto fight in 2009. I was the guy wearing the red hat and red shirt with Pac-Man all over it. Always a pleasure my man and I always like to read your stuff! I most enjoyed your book. So, having blown all that smoke up your ass, what do think about the big shake-up at Golden Boy and what it does or doesn’t mean for Oscar’s company and also what it might mean for Manny Pacquiao fighting some Golden Boyers such as Canelo Alvarez or Danny Garcia? Hang tight brother and take care! Brandon Hall, Chandler, Arizona.
Hey Brandon! What’s up?
Of course I remember it dude! We both agreed that Pac was going to win. If I remember correctly you predicted that Manny was going to stop Miguel late and you were right on the money. Thanks for the props man! I appreciate it, I really do. As far as Richard Schaefer’s exit from Golden Boy I would say that it creates a huge hole that will need to be filled and filled quickly. Schaefer is intelligent, is an extremely hard-worker and he is excellent at building relationships. The guy was tireless when it came to setting up deals, working the phones, having face-to-face meetings with sponsors and really selling them on advertising and sponsoring boxing. It was Schaefer that brought Tecate beer and DeWalt tools into the sport on a big-time basis. There were many others, but those are two that immediately come to mind. It was also Schaefer that brought regular boxing to FOX Sports and of course Showtime the way it is now has a lot to do with his efforts. It was also Schaefer that was the promoter behind Floyd Mayweather, Jr. these past several years. There is really nothing that Schaefer did not do as a promoter at Golden Boy. His skillset cannot be replaced and will not be easily replaced. The relationships that Schaefer has with the fighters, sponsors, as well as casino and television execs simply cannot be replicated. With Oscar taking over the controls all I can say is he is going to need help in running Golden Boy Promotions. Right now he doesn’t have that as it appears as though Bruce Binkow will also leave GBP. I don’t believe the company will collapse as there seems to be a solid infrastructure there, but Oscar will need to work quickly to bring stability, show leadership and then start putting together some big fights. With Mayweather saying he will no longer be promoted by Golden Boy it will put a major crimp in revenue so that will also have to be replaced. In regards to Pacquiao and Golden Boy I think it’s awesome. I’m pretty tired of watching Pacquiao against the Top Rank diet which mainly consists of Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley. I don’t want to see Pacquiao versus Marquez for a fifth time! I don’t think Pacquiao vs. Alvarez will ever happen – nor should it. Alvarez is too big and too young and too strong for the aging Pacquiao. I like a Pacquiao vs. Danny Garcia fight and I like Pac at 140 pounds more than I like him at 147. Manny can’t keep taking on bigger guys and expect to last so anybody over at Golden Boy that he can take on I would love to see it.
Tommy! How are ya man?
Just want your thoughts on some fantasy match-ups. (1.) Ray Leonard vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr (2.) Roberto Duran vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr (3.) Wladimir Klitschko vs. Mike Tyson (4.) Manny Pacquiao vs. Alexis Arguello (5.) Thomas Hearns vs. Canelo Alvarez – Keep up the great work my friend! Jacob, Allenton, PA
All good matchups! I’ll cut right to it.
(1.) Ray Leonard vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr - Leonard is a different animal and better in every facet except defensively where I give Floyd the obvious edge. But Leonard is the bigger, stronger and faster fighter at 147 and 154. Leonard is a better puncher and could crack with his left hook. His chin was totally solid and he showed he could come back from adversity and win. I think he’d match Mayweather’s quickness and reflexes so after that what does Floyd have to stop Leonard with? Mayweather’s power is not there and if Leonard could stand and trade with Duran, Hearns and a 160-pound Marvin Hagler how does Floyd ever show him anything? I like Leonard big in this one as he was also a busier fighter than Floyd and not afraid to mix it up and trade and go for the knockout. Mayweather is not as good defensively as Wilfred Benitez was and you saw what happened in that one. I say Leonard by wide unanimous decision or likely a mid-to-late rounds stoppage.
(2.) Roberto Duran vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr – Again, Roberto Duran is in a different league. I make Duran the favorite at 135, 140, 147 or 154. No matter the weight I think Duran beats Floyd every day of the week. When Duran was on he was one of the best ever and I feel his defense and his ability to slip and roll with punches is on par with Mayweather. Duran fought a much greater variety and much better fighters than Mayweather ever has. Duran also carried his “Hands of Stone” and his chin with him from lightweight all the way to middleweight. I could go through the list of all the great fighters and bigger fighters that Duran beat on his way to greatness, but there is no need for that. Duran is top 4 greatest of all time right up there with Robinson, Ali and Armstrong. Duran knocks Mayweather out mid-to-late rounds. Floyd wouldn’t be able to deal with him at any level and Duran would make him look ordinary.
(3.) Wladimir Klitschko vs. Mike Tyson – I’ll assume we’re talking of a prime Tyson here, so that being the case I say Mike by KO 1. That’s right. Probably a 90-second KO.
(4.) Manny Pacquiao vs. Alexis Arguello – Whoa! This would be an absolute scrap. At 130, 135 or 140 it’s an awesome fight! Arguello was one of my all-time favorites and he was just a great fighter and great person in every sense of the word. Both guys are such nice guys that I hate to pick one over the other. But having said that, I would go with Arguello here. The "Explosive Thin Man" was a little more intelligent inside the ropes and he had better power. Arguello was also a true 15-round fighter who carried his power late into fights. Defense is not Pacquiao’s forte and if he was nailed cleanly by Alexis then it would take a toll. Pacquiao is faster, quicker and a southpaw so that would make the fight very, very competitive. I could see Pac jumping out to an early lead, knocking down Arguello and even holding that lead right up until the point that Arguello knocked him out somewhere after the tenth. I think Arguello who was a master technician and tactician would steer Pacquiao into a right hand and that would be that.
(5.) Thomas Hearns vs. Canelo Alvarez – You can’t be serious? Haha! Really, though? The Hitman at 154 would embarrass poor Canelo so badly. If this fight made it to the third round I’d be shocked. Hearns takes him out with a big right hand. Period.