For the second straight week, the Barclays Center in New York, USA will be the center of the boxing world. Last Friday, British boxer Amir Khan defeated New York’s own Chris Algieri in a 12-round welterweight battle that generated 1.1 million TV views. On Saturday, Puerto Rican superstar Miguel Cotto will defend his WBC and lineal middleweight titles against Daniel Geale of Australia.
Lineal or Catch Weight
A lot has been said about Miguel Cotto being lineal middleweight champion because while he clearly beat resident middleweight champ Sergio Martinez last June, they fought at a catch weight of 159 pounds. On Saturday, Cotto will battle Geale at an even lower catch weight of 157 pounds.
These string of catchweight title bouts has put a big asterisk in Cotto’s reign as lineal middleweight champ because among the eight current lineal boxing champions, he’s the only one who hasn’t fought in his weight class limit. Cotto’s choice of Geale as next opponent was also questioned because many were expecting him to lock horns with either Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
The Real Deal
Unlike Cotto, Daniel Geale is a natural 160-pound fighter and a former world champion at that. The 34-year old Aussie is the former IBF, WBA and IBO middleweight title holder. He’s ranked as the #4 middleweight by The Ring and has been in its Top 5 middleweights since 2010. Geale holds notable wins over Sebastian, Sylvester, Osumanu Adama, Felix Sturm and Anthony Mundine. However, Geale is 2-2 in his last four bouts and has alternated wins with losses to Darren Barker in 2013 and Gennady Golovkin last July 2014.
Geale is the bigger man in this fight but with the catch weight of 157 pounds, his natural advantages over Cotto will be neutralized. The Aussie was still 10.5 pounds over the agreed weight limit seven days before the fight and while his team is certain they will make weight, it remains to be seen how he will be on fight night after literally draining himself this week to make 157 pounds.
Who Takes This?
Cotto is a -600 favorite in this fight while Geale the underdog at +400. Although the current odds have slightly improved from last week’s -675 and +500 respectively, the naturally smaller Cotto remains a solid pick. The smaller Cotto had above average speed as a welterweight and is definitely a fast punching middleweight. Aside from Cotto’s speed, another factor in the fight is weight.
Geale is expected to rehydrate to around 175 pounds during the fight and experts are anticipating a drained and weaker version to show up on fight night. Cotto is a big puncher who likes to work the body so if Geale does appear depleted in the fights, we could be seeing a late knockout from Miguel Cotto on Saturday night.
Aside from the catchweight which is definitely in Cotto’s favor, Geale is perceived to be on the way to his decline after a long career on top of the middleweight division. He is no longer a spring chicken and looked a step slower against the powerful Golovkin last year. But hey, don’t underestimate a former world champion in Geale who’s looking for one last run at a world title. Geale is scrappy and knows how to win. But Cotto’s penciled the contract of this fight to go his way and by all indications, the Puerto Rican is headed to another victory.