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Miguel Cotto Vs Ricardo Mayorga: Saturday’s Showtime Showdown

By Rodell Bautista

One thing you can’t say about Ricardo Mayorga is that he’s dull and bland. Known for his machismo and brash, colorful public persona, “El Matador” has made a habit of getting under the skin of his opponents and occasionally putting his heavy hands to effective use.

Mayorga faces Miguel Cotto this Saturday night for the WBA Super World light Middleweight Title, and odds makers and most of the boxing world have Mayorga as a huge 4 to 1 underdog, and that suits him just fine.

Mayorga shocked the boxing world in January of 2003 when he not only knocked out then WBC welterweight Vernon Forrest to unify the WBA, WBC and The Ring Welterweight titles, but defended the title in December of that same year. Forrest was a pound for pound monster that no one really gave Mayorga a chance of beating. Not only did he beat Forrest in the rematch he did so taunting the former champ by dangling his chin out in front of him.

“I wanted to let him know I was the boss, I was his Daddy, and I was the champ,” explained Mayorga post fight in true El Matador fashion.

It’s that type of bravado that Mayorga brings to the table. Miguel Cotto knows all about it, having to endure him taking jabs at everything from his sexual orientation to the fact that, according to Mayorga, after the fight Saturday night all Puerto Ricans will leave Mayorga fans. It’s all part of the package he brings to any of his fights. The guy brings excitement to all of his fights and plays the heel to perfection.

You can always expect a circus around the craziest man in boxing outside of the ring. When Don King calls you truly insane then you know you might be missing a screw or two. The combination of King and Mayorga are the epitome of a boxing spectacle in its own right.

Two things Mayorga can do are run his mouth like a champ, and punch like one too. What he hasn’t been is consistent.

For every Vernon Forrest victory there’s a Cory Spinks defeat. He is barely over .500 for his last 10 fights, but when you look at who he’s lost to you really can’t fault him. Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley and Felix Trinidad aren’t exactly chumps. They are true legends of the fight game. If he could have put a win streak together he most definitely would be a legend himself. To totally count Mayorga out of any fight is pretty foolish.

Is Miguel Cotto supposed to win? Yes! Cotto has a true champion’s heart. You only have to look at his two losses to see that. He took a brutal beating from Antonio Margarito who might have had plaster loaded gloves, and we all know the punishment he took from Manny Pacquiao. Cotto showed his mettle by displaying unwavering determination, enduring onslaught after onslaught during both losses. His resiliency and fortitude are evident in the manner in which he came back from each loss. He got back up and started winning again.

Cotto seems to be the polar opposite of Mayorga. He’s a gentleman and an athlete, soft spoken and reserved. He too has something to prove, he needs to show the world that he isn’t past his prime or that his ticket hasn’t been punched, as many hard core fans and scribes like to say. He has a lot to prove and a lot to lose Saturday night so he will be focused and motivated. Under the expert tutelage of Emanuel Steward, he will no doubt be ready to withstand whatever Mayorga throws his way.

Mayorga will have to find a way to break Miguel Cotto’s spirit, because it is clear this guy can take a punch, but if he takes too many against a puncher like Mayorga he will be in trouble. Mayorga must find a way to impose his size and strength on the smaller Cotto. Whether he’ll be able to contain Cotto and impose his power will be the determining factor. He’ll also have to do it quick and in the early rounds. If he can hurt Cotto and do some damage early then expect the unexpected.

I can’t discount Mayorga’s chance to pull off an upset, especially since the possibility of getting a chance at Manny Pacquiao, boxing’s cash cow has been dangled in front of him. A win Saturday night and he gets a ticket for the Pacman sweepstakes, the prize being a swan song pay day. Mayorga makes every fight an event, and for me it’s always a must see event from start to finish. He also always makes each fight personal especially for his opponent, but the biggest motivating factor for Mayorga Saturday night is business, and even he knows that it’s all on him. If he doesn’t get his chance at Manny it’s his fault and he knows it, but hey he wouldn’t have it any other way.

It would be an upset of truly epic proportions if El Matador beats Miguel Cotto, but if anyone has the ability and the power to pull it off it is Ricardo Mayorga. One thing is certain, he is definitely is crazy enough to do it.

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