(This is a roundtable discussion I had with my other writers from my site at 411mania, so forgive me if it sounds confusing)
1. What physical and/or tactical advantages will Miguel Cotto bring into the ring this Saturday night?
Miguel Cotto's much-quicker hands and overall movement would be his biggest weapons coming into this fight. He also has the speed and all-around technical skill to beat Clottey over 12 rounds.
He has grown to be a much better all-around fighter in the last few years as it was most evident in his fight with Shane Mosely. He has become one of the most dynamic offensive fighters in the game, capable of throwing impressive combinations to the head and body.
Sometimes he leaves the other guy in a lot of pain with his pulverizing left hook downstairs. Other times he creates a bloodbath on the other fighter’s face. With that being said, I give Cotto a better chance to win by knockout. Cotto can be described as a raging bull.
2. How much of a factor will Joshua Clottey’s size and strength be when the two men exchange blows?
Joshua Clottey is one of the biggest welterweights out there right now. His size doesn't show up in his height—a moderate 5'8." It shows up in his fight-night weights and his lean muscular look to his body. Just look at the guy at fight night, for crying out loud.
Cotto’s defense is certainly not as good as Clottey’s. It seems that he'll always get caught with uppercuts inside, and the way he attempts to roll with right hands coming his way is not too effective.
Clottey is one of the best defenders in the sport holding his hands high, chin low, and elbows tucked—the rock hard Clottey is a tough target. And even if something does get through, chances are, he can take it. So far, he's stood up to everything that has come his way.
Clottey’s size and strength could be very effective but he tends to give away portions of rounds by not being active enough. He uses an effective shell defense, but all too often doesn’t throw enough returning fire to score his own points. So, Clottey’s power is as effective as he wants it to be.
3. What type of game-plan should Cotto utilize in order to score a victory?
For Cotto, the big key for him is going to be his body punching. Clottey has a habit of keeping his hands so high that he exposes the body a lot and Cotto is as lethal as anyone in the sport when it comes to body punching.
The question will be if Cotto begins to grow frustrated by his inability to hurt Clottey, or Clottey's unwavering stamina and pressure. While it's a legitimate concern, Cotto has enough skills to prevent it from becoming a problem, especially against a fighter in Clottey who is not known for his power.
4. Considering the venue and circumstances, does Clottey have any chance to win this bout by decision?
I think he has a chance, but he would really be walking on thin ice if it came down to it. But if he wins fairly and is the clear-cut winner, they are not going to rob him.
I don’t care how many Puerto Ricans want to riot, but Clottey can certainly win this fight by a decision. If he looks like the winner, I expect the fans to give the respect that Clottey deserves just like he has given Cotto all the respect in the world.
I am not a believer in that kind of stuff ever since Trinidad defeated De La Hoya in his home away from home in Las Vegas. Clottey has the chance, but I don’t see it unless he can score a knockdown some time in the fight.
5. With a potential bout against Manny Pacquiao looming for the winner, will either man be affected one way or another going into this fight?
I have to agree with Patrick's response about Cotto not being affected as this has happened to him before. Cotto carries himself like nothing bothers this guy. He fights who is in front of him and does not look past anyone. I feel he is one of the few fighters that nothing fazes this man.
As for Clottey, I don’t think he is looking past anyone. He is not thinking about no other boxer because this is his biggest fight of his career.
Does anyone really believe that he is going to look past this? Both guys are better than that and it don’t matter if Sugar Ray Leonard at his welterweight prime was there. It won’t bother either man.
6. Point blank: who you got on Saturday night and why?
Clottey does have a good chance to pull the upset, but he is going to need a knockdown of some kind. If he remains overly defensive and gives away too many rounds at MSG on the eve of the Puerto Rican parade, there is no way he can win a decision.
He must, at least, knock Cotto down to get a decision on June 13th. I don’t see it happening.
Cotto takes home a unanimous decision in his annual Madison Square Garden fight, and looks to the future which could include matches against the likes of Mosley, Floyd, and Pacman.