LAS VEGAS – Buzz is building for the epic showdown set for this Saturday, November 21 when Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion Miguel Cotto (40-4, 33 KOs) and former two-time Super Welterweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KOs) will meet in the ring at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas for the Ring Magazine Middleweight World Championship.
Home to some of the greatest fighters to ever lace up the gloves, the middleweight division has long been a favorite of boxing fans because of the opportunity to watch fighters with unique skill sets and intangibles compete on the sport’s biggest stages.
As 20-time middleweight world champion Bernard Hopkins has said of the division he ruled for more than a decade, “The middleweight division has the power of the heavyweights, and the speed of the flyweights. That’s why the middleweight division will always be one of the prestigious divisions of all-time.”
In 2015, a group of middleweights are in the midst of a quest to add their own names to the aforementioned list, and beginning with the November 21 mega fight between Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto and Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas; the era of the “New Kings of the Middleweight Division” is underway.
Cotto vs. Canelo is shaping up to be the biggest fight in boxing this year and the biggest fight in the history of the famed Puerto Rico vs. Mexico rivalry. Below is what celebrities, sports figures, media writers and other fighters had to say about their picks for the outcome of Cotto vs. Canelo on Nov. 21:
Sugar Ray Leonard, Six-Time World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist:
“I like Cotto for sentimental reasons and for what he has meant to the sport and boxing fans! Canelo has developed and grown along the way and taken to school against one of the best in Mayweather. If Cotto becomes that Miguel Cotto I remember, he will win by a smart, technical and fearless decision.”
Lennox Lewis, Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist:
“I’m picking Cotto over Canelo because he has the most experience.”
George Foreman, Two-Time Heavyweight Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist:
“It will be a battle of wills as they are evenly matched. In my opinion, things will start to separate after that. Canelo Alvarez punches like a mule. Cotto just doesn’t have the heart to run; he will stand to fight after six rounds and by the ninth round he’ll most likely be KO’D by Canelo.”
Tom Loeffler, Managing Director of K2 Promotions and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, Current Unified WBA, IBF, WBC and IBO Middleweight Champion:
“It should be a great fight between two champions and two proven warriors. The edge goes to Canelo as he is younger and physically bigger than Cotto, however you can’t count out Cotto with Freddie Roach in his corner. Tom sees it as Canelo by decision, and Gennady thinks Canelo will stop Cotto late.”
Sylvester Stallone, Academy Award Nominee Staring in “Creed”:
“One of those two guys will win for sure.”
Mario Lopez, Host of “Extra”:
“We are going for Canelo. My loyalty is to Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions. This is a big Puerto Rico and Mexican rivalry.”
Rosie Perez, Acclaimed American Actress:
“I’m sticking with my fellow Boricua. Win lose or draw, Miguel Cotto all the way!”
Kate Del Castillo, Acclaimed Mexican Actress Staring in “The 33”:
“Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? Canelo, of course! Of course!”
John David Washington, Star of HBO series “Ballers”:
“We the fans are in for a dynamic action packed fight. Should be violent and dramatic. I love Cotto because he is all heart. Canelo is a beast and more experienced now. I can’t call it. What I can predict is this will truly be a fan friendly fight and one of the most entertaining fights this year no hype needed. We will get our money’s worth.”
Bruce Buffer, Official Octagon Announcer for UFC:
“Both Cotto and Canelo possess boxing skills and styles that will make a much-anticipated war in the square ring as they will bring the fight to each other. I give the edge to Miguel Cotto and may the best man that night win.”
Claudio Sanchez, Lead Singer and Guitarist for Coheed and Cambria:
“Miguel Cotto. His experience, his new trainer Freddie Roach and he left hook to the body will be the key to beating Canelo Alvarez. Viva Puerto Rico!”
Erick Aybar, Short Stop for the Atlanta Braves:
“I like Cotto because he is a more experienced boxer, a harder puncher and is always leading the attack.”
Angie Martinez, American Radio Personality and “The Voice of New York” on Power 105.1:
“Cotto, by decision.”
Rusney Castillo, Right Fielder for the Boston Red Sox:
“I have to support our Roc Nation family member, Miguel Cotto, in his fight against Canelo Alvarez on Nov. 21. I may not be sure what round he will overcome Canelo, but I am confident that Cotto will take the night!”
Larry Merchant, Longtime Boxing Analyst and Commentator for HBO Sports:
“Old Sayings, ‘Youth must be served.’ Canelo, 25, by TKO in round 10.
Old Sayings also say, ‘Great fighters always have one great fight left in them.’ Cotto, 35, by decision.
Canelo was lulled, listless vs. Mayweather; true grit vs. Kirkland. Cotto re-dedicated and restored himself vs. so-so opposition. Therefore, I’ve got Canelo.”
Dan Rafael, ESPN.com:
“Cotto is a great fighter who will be in the Hall of Fame someday but Canelo might join him there eventually and he is 10 years younger and whole lot fresher. Boxing is usually a young man’s game so I am going with Canelo by a late knockout.”
Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports:
“Canelo by decision. A lot of people lost faith in Canelo after he lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather did that to a lot of fighters. Alvarez is a supremely gifted fighter who has learned a lot since that fight. He punches well with both hands and is increasingly putting his punches together well. He’s the naturally bigger man and has youth on his side. Cotto’s late-career resurgence has been fueled, in part, by less than stellar opposition. Sergio Martinez was at the end of the line when they fought. I greatly respect Cotto, and he’s going to make it a fight, but I think the bigger, younger and stronger man will win it.”
Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press:
“I think it will be a good fight early with both fighters taking some punishment. In the end, I think Alvarez will wear down Cotto and win by TKO in the 11th round.”
Lyle Fitzsimmons, CBSSports.com:
“I can’t recall a recent high-profile fight that seems like so much a 50/50 proposition going in. Cotto has the resume and the skill set. Canelo has the youth and size. In the end, I think this will be the fight in which the youngster proves that he belongs among the elites, using an advantage in energy to carry him to a narrow win in a punishing fight. Canelo by decision.”
Lance Pugmire, The Los Angeles Times:
“Canelo Alvarez’s youth and power should decide this fight.
Even if Miguel Cotto is the smarter, more tactical fighter, he is likely to be drawn into a battle where Alvarez will punish him, and it will likely happen often enough to result in a late stoppage victory. I’ll say, 11th round.”
Jeff Powell, The Daily Mail:
“Canelo by decision.
Even though Freddie Roach’s training has clearly improved Cotto, youth and strength will prevail in what is likely to be a close fight through the first seven or eight rounds with Canelo pulling away in the later stages.”
Sergio Machado, NBCDeportes.com:
“Miguel Cotto has been and still is a great boxer, actually one of the best in history. However, boxing, like pretty much everything else in life, has generational changes and this may be the time for Canelo Álvarez to take the torch and establish himself as one of the most prominent faces of the sport. Canelo represents a big problem for Cotto because of his power. In his few losses and even in some wins, Cotto has shown problems when he gets hit with power. Cotto likes to engage as well and this is something very dangerous against an opponent with prominent heavy hands. I think Canelo has a slim chance to KO Cotto in the later rounds.”
Francisco Cuevas, NBC Deportes:
“When two boxers like Canelo and Cotto meet in the ring is a great event for boxing. Cotto should win because of his experience and dedication but Canelo should also win because of his youth and power. At the end of the day the fanatics around the world will win, witnessing a true classic match between two warriors.”
Brian Campbell, ESPN.com:
“Cotto by decision.
Canelo’s advantages in size and youth are hard to ignore. But Cotto’s edge in experience will ultimately be the deciding factor. The more Cotto can use his powerful left hook to dissuade Canelo from turning the fight into a brawl, the bigger the opening will be for the Puerto Rican icon to keep it a boxing match, which plays into his favor.”
Steve Kim, UCNLive.com:
“In what I believe is a very evenly matched fight, I think youth will eventually prevail and I’m picking Saul Alvarez to edge Miguel Cotto in what will be a hard-fought contest that will see pockets of great action and swings in momentum.”
Steve Springer, Author and Former Los Angeles Times Award-Winning Sports Writer:
“Canelo by split decision.
Canelo wasn’t ready for prime time when fought Mayweather, but this is his time.
At 35, Cotto still has some fight left in him, but his age will show Saturday night.
In a tough, competitive, often brutal match, the torch will be passed.”
Robert Littal, BlackSportsOnline.com:
“I think Miguel Cotto is going to surprise some people and put a boxing lesson on Canelo. Freddie Roach is one of the best of putting a game plan together and exploiting weaknesses, I think he has seen how Canelo has problem with movement and good boxers. You are going to see a combination of excellent boxing, defense and power punching from Cotto and he will cruise to a unanimous dominate decision.”
David Avila, TheSweetScience.com:
“Before Cotto began training with Freddie Roach, I would have picked Canelo by KO. But Cotto has become a more technical and strategic fighter under Roach. Now, I consider it a deadlocked even fight. I see it ending in a draw.”
Cotto vs. Canelo, a 12-round fight for Cotto’s Ring Magazine Middleweight World Championship, takes place Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The fight is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Golden Boy Promotions, Miguel Cotto Promotions and Canelo Promotions and sponsored by Corona Extra; Mexico, Live it to Believe it!; O’Reilly Auto Parts; Tequila Cazadores and Corporate Travel Made Simple (ctms). Also on the pay-per-view telecast will be Takashi Miura vs. Francisco Vargas in a 12-round co-featured fight for the WBC Super Featherweight World Championship presented in association with Teiken Promotions; Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Drian Francisco in a 10-round super bantamweight bout presented in association with Caribe Promotions; and Jayson Velez vs. Ronny Rios is a 10-round featherweight bout which will open the pay-per-view telecast. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Randy Caballero vs. Lee Haskins, a 12-round fight for the IBF Bantamweight World Championship, is presented in association with Bristol Boxing Ltd. and will be featured as part of the preliminary undercards available on digital platforms starting at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT.
In addition to the great action inside the ring, the event will feature a special live performance by 2015 Latin Grammy nominee Yandel. The performance will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View after the second fight of the pay-per-view telecast.
A limited number of tickets priced at $2,000, $1,750, $1,250 and $650, not including applicable service charges, can be purchased at the Mandalay Bay box office, ticketmaster.com, mandalaybay.com, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling (800) 745-3000. Ticket orders are limited to four per person.
Tickets for closed circuit viewings of Cotto vs. Canelo at select MGM Resorts International properties in Las Vegas are priced at $75, not including applicable service charges, and can be purchased at all MGM Resorts International Ticket Offices, http://www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster locations or by calling (800) 745-3000.
Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez will be presented live with Fathom Events in select theaters nationwide. Tickets for theater screenings of Cotto vs. Canelo can be purchased online by visitingwww.FathomEvents.com or at participating theater box offices. For a complete list of theater locations visit www.fathomevents.com/event/cotto-vs-canelo-live.
Sports bars, restaurants, casinos (outside of Clark County, NV) and other commercial establishments can order Cotto vs. Canelo by contacting Joe Hand Promotions at 1-800-557-4263 or visitwww.JoeHandPromotions.com. Joe Hand Promotions is the exclusive commercial distributor for Cotto vs. Canelo throughout the United States and Canada.
For more information, visit www.rocnation.com, www.goldenboypromotions.com, www.promocionesmiguelcotto.com, www.canelopromotions.com.mxwww.hbo.com/boxing andwww.mandalaybay.com; follow on Twitter at @RocNation, @GoldenBoyBoxing, @RealMiguelCotto, @Canelo, @HBOBoxing, and @MandalayBay; become a fan on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/RocNation, www.facebook.com/GoldenBoyBoxing, www.facebook.com/RealMiguelACotto, www.facebook.com/SaulCaneloAlvarez, www.facebook.com/HBOBoxing andwww.facebook.com/MandalayBay; and follow on Instagram @rocnation, @GoldenBoyBoxing, @realmiguelacotto, @Canelo, @HBOboxing and @MandalayBay. Follow the conversation using#CottoCanelo.