KNOCKOUT NATION: Will The Real Miguel Cotto Please Stand Up?


Miguel Cotto vs. Delvin Rodriguez go at it on HBO TONIGHT at 9:45 p.m. ET.  

While the boxing world and casual fans know Miguel Cotto will fight on Saturday night, there are even bigger questions to consider: Which Cotto will show up?

Will it be the Cotto who gave Floyd Mayweather all he could handle in May of last year, even drawing blood from the nose of the fighter known as “Money?” Or will it be the Cotto who lost a one-sided decision to Austin Trout in December? Not only did he lose, but he looked sluggish and defeated towards the end of the fight.

Inquiring minds will find out on Saturday, as Cotto faces former world title challenger Delvin Rodriguez at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL. The scheduled 12 round bout will headline a Top Rank card and be televised on HBO.

No one will question the talent, tenacity, and grit Cotto has demonstrated in a professional career that has spanned over 12 years. Not only is he adored by Puerto Ricans abroad, but he is respected in boxing circles, largely for winning world titles in three different weight classes.

Cotto (37-4, 30 KOs) has been in a lot of fights, where he has had to exert an abundant amount of energy. Maybe the 10 months between his fight with Trout and Saturday’s fight with Rodriguez is what he and his body needed. Fighters do come back stronger after taking a much-needed break from the ring.

But will we see the same Cotto? Logic tells us that we will see a smarter and savvier Cotto in the ring. Also, how much of an impact will new trainer Freddie Roach have on him? Can Cotto learn new tricks from the Hall of Fame trainer in Roach, who has steered fighters such as Manny Pacquiao to success?

That will depend on what Rodriguez brings. The Dominican-born Rodriguez is younger and taller than Cotto. Rodriguez is a skilled fighter, but has nowhere near fought the level of opposition Cotto has fought. Still, Rodriguez (28-6-3, 16 KOs) has fought brutal battles inside the ring. His July 2011 bout against Pawel Wolak was one of the best fights of that year due to the shear brutality each other gave during their 10 round bout. Rodriguez’s best bet will be to fight on the inside, but Cotto has always been dangerous in landing those vicious body shots, particularly with left hooks.