This fight makes my boxing fan glands wet. Clottey, so underestimated, so long uninvited to the top table, unmentioned by so many commentators and sanctioning bodies, puts aside his IBF belt, to take on Cotto.
His heart for the fight is so big, even with injured hands; he took Margarito to the wire. To my mind and eyes, his clean punching and commitment won him the fight. Clottey’s furious punch turnover is awe making. Speed and power in combined harmony.
Cotto, of course, can do this to and take it, if he has too. Mosley is no lazyboy when it comes to throwing speedy bombs in perfect salvo. Although life was hard for Cotto in that fight, he came through.
None of Clottey’s opponents brought him the pressure Cotto will turn up and turn up on him. Can he keep his polish in Cotto’s flames?
Both men have all the basics covered and do nothing badly. Cotto can do everything Clottey can. Cotto can do everything Clottey can. Both will be professionally conditioned. Both can visit round 12 intact. Both will be ready from first to last ding ding. This fight is impossible to predict.
My brother, a similarly fervent fight fan, has put his faith in Clottey. My own boxing tealeaves can see Cotto winning yet again. Clottey can be hit. Even in being heavily out punched, Corrales landed several good full throttle hooks on Clottey in their torrid clash. Clottey still came back with terrifying blitzkriegs.
I cannot recall seeing Clottey hurt in the way we have seen Cotto waver and stumble. Cotto being out sped and cut against Judah in the first three rounds, Torres came within a razor width of a stunning KO win and Margarito was a destructive tornado, ripping away his armour and sucking up his heart.
Even faced with this, I can envisage a Cotto points win. I can also see a scenario for a Clottey points win. But here’s the thing, I cannot imagine a Cotto KO win over Clottey, but I can imagine a Clottey KO win over Cotto. Lesser punchers than Clottey have hurt and cut Cotto. He can go down. He can be stopped.
Clottey will be tested too. Gaps in his shields punched through. Hesitations punished.
Since the Gods of Boxing so often indulge in chaos, I am tempted to go for a most unlikely prediction. A Cotto KO victory. And the gods may deliver. But I think his class, technical array and heart, will see a Cotto tested, dented, but true, remaining champ.