Beating Geale is Cotto's ticket to fight with Canelo

June 02, 2015 3:03 AM
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Cotto punchy for big payday in future fight with CaneloWhen negotiations for a megafight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 KO’s) and Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KO’s) stalled, HBO wasn’t interested in paying top dollar to showcase Cotto against a lesser opponent for his next bout.

That all changed when the Puerto Rican boxing icon guaranteed HBO he would face Alvarez next if both emerged victorious in their upcoming fights. Alvarez did his part by dismantling the always tough James Kirkland in devastating fashion via a third round KO in May.

This Saturday night in Brookly, Cotto will attempt to make the blockbuster bout with Alvarez a reality if he can get past Daniel Geale (31-3, 16 KO’s) and successfully defend his WBC, Lineal, and Ring Magazine Middleweight straps in the process.

According to oddsmakers who installed Cotto as a -550 favorite, and bettors who have since backed the champion and forced book makers to adjust the price as high as -700, HBO can already start planning for “Canelo vs. Cotto.”

In fact the betting line reflects that the probability of a Cotto victory is upward of 87%. The take-back on Geale is currently +500, and rest assured that price should continue to climb as we approach fight night.

The reason is simple, Geale comes in having lost two of his last four fights and didn’t look very impressive against much lesser competition in his last one, a unanimous decision win against the world’s No. 43 ranked middleweight Jarrod Fletcher. The losses did come versus top level opposition, losing a split decision to Darren Barker before getting knocked out by Gennady Golovkin.

Granted, Golovkin may very well be the most avoided and feared boxer on the planet, and one of the top pound for pound fighters at the moment. But the way he lost, being finished in only 3 rounds, is why many do not give him much of a chance against Cotto.

Prior to Geale’s recent struggles he was one of the top middleweights, having unified the title and winning the IBO, WBO, and IBF belts. He’s been ranked as a Top 5 middleweight by Ring Magazine since 2010 and has an extremely impressive amateur career, having represented Australia in the 2000 Olympics, and also captured gold as a welterweight in the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

For Cotto, he will have to overcome the height and reach advantages Geale holds and find a way to get inside to apply his trademark body work. This will slow Geale down and make it much more difficult for him to use his excellent movement and boxing abilities.

Since joining forces with trainer Freddie Roach, Cotto appears to have reverted back to the “seek and destroy” approach that made him such a fan favorite earlier in his career. Though Cotto is also a very accomplished boxer, I do believe Geale holds the advantage in that department.

In fact, one of the sport’s most respected trainers, Abel Sanchez, who had to prepare his fighter Golovkin to face Geale, also believes he has the skill to outbox Cotto. He says Cotto is a 60-40 favorite to beat Geale, but this may not be a so called “showcase” fight for Miguel and he better not be looking past this opponent.

Bottom line: Both HBO and Alvarez are hoping Cotto can get past Geale so they can both have the fight they really want. And let’s not forget “GGG” who’s also in the mix since it’s rumored the winner of the proposed “Canelo vs. Cotto” bout will then fight Golovkin.

Before we get all excited about any of those blockbusters, Cotto will need to handle his business inside Barclays Center this weekend.

Personally, I do predict Cotto will successfully defend his titles by besting Geale when all is said and done. With that said, I do not believe it will be an easy out, at least early on, and until Cotto figures him out.

Ultimately, the title holder is way too experienced and skilled to fall victim to taking an opponent for granted. I do not think Cotto will be taking Geale lightly, especially knowing his opponent will be the bigger man. All he needs to do is remember what Fonfara just did to Chavez Jr. with his size advantage and toughness.

Finally, though I won’t be betting on this bout, I will be looking forward to handicapping and ultimately betting on “Canelo vs. Cotto” after it’s all but official after this Saturday night.

Vegas-Runner is a professional bettor/handicapper featured on CNBC, ESPN, FOX, Yahoo, CBS This Morning, The Herd, JT the Brick, & More. Follow VR on Twitter @vegasrunnerand at the home of the Animals, Phillygodfather.com. Contact Vegas Runner at VegasRunner@GamingToday.com.