Ed Mulholland/USA Today Sports
TWO top trainers tell Boxing News how Puerto Rican warlord Miguel Cotto can be beaten, ahead of his fight with Yoshihiro Kamegai on August 26 for the WBO 154lb crown.
Louie Burke – Trainer of Austin Trout, who beat Cotto in 2012
Austin Trout beating Miguel Cotto was his best win, and what worked well for us was literally boxing circles around him. Austin’s a southpaw, so that posed some problems for Cotto, and we’re bigger than Cotto, height and reach-wise, so we used that to our advantage.
We didn’t want to stay in front of him too long, even though we were the bigger guy, so for the most part we circled Cotto. It wasn’t like Muhammad Ali, circling the ring, it was just a matter of staying out of the pocket – let our combinations go, get a slight angle, and work from there.
We knew Cotto would have to come in and close the distance so we kept him off balance with the jab. He has real crisp, fast combinations; if you stay in front of him he’ll take you apart.
Cotto was a beast in the lighter divisions but as you go up in weight it’s harder to knock people out – he’s lost some of that but he still has a tonne of experience. He’s a very crafty fighter; he knows how to make adjustments which is why you have to keep him off balance. If he gets into a rhythm it’s hard to win, but he’s also crafty inside, and a good boxer – people don’t give him credit for his outside game. He also has heart and more speed than we expected.
You got to work off the jab. He has to mix up his combinations, go to the body, work up and down to keep Cotto guessing, and then step around.
You have to pick your moments and create more opportunity. Don’t look for the one-punch knockout, because it never comes. If you’re one-dimensional, you’re not going to beat Cotto – you can’t just brawl because he’ll make you look silly.
You should be working on your footwork to circle Cotto. If Cotto still has the same speed as when we fought him it might be difficult to outbox him. You need to use strength and pressure Cotto, outwork him.
Adam Booth – Trainer of Andy Lee, potential future opponent
We’re talking about an older Miguel Cotto fighting above his natural weight. He’s a natural light-welterweight, welterweight – not a middleweight. I’m convinced a natural middleweight can give him some problems through being tough enough at 160lbs to deal with Cotto’s power, particularly if throwing enough shots to outwork him, and moving enough to frustrate him.
Cotto likes to be at a certain distance. His preference is for someone to be in front of him, so that he can do what he wants to do. Clever movement can give him problems now – when you’re over your natural weight your movement isn’t quite as quick. His legs won’t be conditioned for moving that size around, so moving him can tire him out.
Against Sergio Martinez, after the early blitz Cotto gave him, he was very careful about picking the times to let his shots go, and he was very cleverly conserving energy and buying himself time with his little bounces, and walks away, and feints. His punch output was a bit lower, too. Unlike the Martinez fight, which flattered him a little bit – Martinez didn’t move very well around him, his legs were impeded – Cotto can be properly tested at middleweight against someone who can look after himself and compete for 12 rounds.
Cotto’s left hand is much better than his right hand. He’s got a beautifully balanced left jab, his left hooks to the head and body are exquisite, but because of his balance – and the way he positions himself – his right hand isn’t as effective as his left.
You should move, punch and work in a very basic manner, like Amir Khan does; punch quickly, tuck up, and keep moving. Having a natural size advantage gives someone a good chance against Cotto, but that’s not to say I think they should stand and trade.
Moving, giving little target away, and sneaking shots on Cotto is the way you can win. Going to the body means trading up close, so I would say to target head. And when Cotto punches, reply with three or four of your own – always finish the exchanges with three or four shots. And move.