Cotto-Jennings: Over Before the Opening Bell?

CodyContributor IFebruary 18, 2009

This weekend Miguel Cotto fights for redemption. Michael Jennings fights for respect. Both fighters are hungry for a dominant performance.

Cotto, once thought to be the undisputed juggernaut of the welterweight division after the retirement of Floyd Mayweather Jr., was defeated last July in devastating fashion by Antonio Margarito.

Some of Cotto’s supporters note that the fight may have had a different outcome after allegations of Margarito’s “loaded gloves” incident with Shane Mosley. Nonetheless, there is still a mark in the loss column on Cotto’s resume, and Cotto seems determined to redeem himself to boxing fans by destroying Jennings in the ring this Saturday.

Jennings may be relatively unknown in the states, but he is no pushover. In a recent interview with Sky Sports, Jennings said regarding his fight with Cotto, "This is the opportunity against the best in the world to see how good I am. I'm going to take the opportunity, without a doubt, and give it my best shot."

Jennings seems to have no fear of the intimidating Cotto, and that is going to be a key in unlocking a victory over the well known fighter. Jennings looks in shape, tough, and ready to go for the upcoming fight.

The real question you should be asking while reading this article is “Does Michael Jennings have a legitimate shot against Cotto?”

This writer’s answer to that is no.

Now, Jennings is no slouch and has definitely been underrated in this fight and disregarded as nothing but a stepping stone for Cotto to get his career back on track. And while I commend Jennings for his confidence and lack of concern about fighting a bruiser like Cotto, I honestly just don’t see how he can stop Cotto.

There is only one glaring weakness I can see in Cotto’s fighting style. On more than one occasion he has shown that he is susceptible to pressure.

He has a full array of offensive weapons, fast hands, punishing power, decent footwork, and an at least average defense. But, moments in the Mosley fight, and round after round in the Margarito fight, you can clearly see the young Puerto Rican fighter has problems with constant pressure.

Mosley was definitely beaten in their fight, but showed flashes of pressure and scored some shots on Cotto.

Margarito, loaded hands or not, kept coming forward, applying relentless pressure against Cotto, and eventually dismantled him via knockout. He may be an aggressive, dominant boxer, but with pressure he can be stopped.

Therein lies the problem for Jennings. He is a slick style boxer, not a brawler. He does not possess the type of power in his hands to take care of Cotto and he has never been the boxer to apply pressure in a match.

Another key to Margarito defeating Cotto was a concrete chin. I’m not saying that Jennings doesn’t have a decent chin on him, but he does not have the freakish tolerance to sustain power shots that the “Tijuana Tornado” has. If you recall, Margarito applied his pressure, but had to keep coming through devastating shots that almost any other fighter in his weight class would have no chance of taking.

I don’t want to come off as believing that Cotto is an all-time great fighter because he is far from it. But like him or not, Cotto is a superstar and probably the best welterweight right now.

I would also hate to have it seem as if I think Jennings is another fighter from Europe that has done nothing but pad his resume with cupcakes. Jennings is a good fighter and can definitely have some success in the division in the future. I just don’t believe that he has a real shot at beating Miguel Cotto on Saturday night.

I expect this fight to be over within the first six rounds via KO or TKO by Cotto.