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Liam Smith analyzes Cotto-Trout match-up

Puerto Rico’s favourite fighting son Miguel Cotto can expect another tumultuous reception at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Saturday evening when he attempts to regain his World Boxing Association (WBA) World Light-Middleweight title from New Mexico’s Austin Trout.

The 32 year old three division world champion from Caguas shall enter as a 4-11 favourite but it’s certainly no foregone conclusion against the naturally larger and unbeaten 27 year old southpaw who seeks to break into the Big Time himself.

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A man hoping to make a big impact in the 154lb class down the line is unbeaten Liverpool contender Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith. Speaking to boxing writer Glynn Evans recently, the 23-year-old Scouser, a keen student of the sport, provided BoxNation with his expert assessment of the principals and how he sees the fight developing.

“I’m not the most impartial person to analyse this because Cotto has been one of my very favourite fighters for years. My amateur coach at the Rotunda ABC in Liverpool put me onto Miguel when he’d only had about two or three pro fights and I’ve followed him really closely ever since.

I love his style and think he’s one of the very best technicians in the sport; right up there alongside Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez. He’s got a high, tight guard and when he throws his right, his left hand remains high. When he throws his left, the right hand’s always up. He also punches very correctly; really turns his shots over. He’s top drawer. Pound for pound, he has to be in the best five in the world.

Another thing I really like about Cotto is he always looks very solid. I think dragging himself down to light-welter for so long must have killed him. That’s why he struggled with Ricardo Torres yet still he got off the floor to win by stoppage. That shows character.

He really started to show his true quality when he moved up to welter against Shane Mosley and Zab Judah. He looked absolutely brilliant in the first six rounds of the first fight with Antonio Margarito, the ‘loaded gloves’ fight, before mysteriously fading. I think he proved his point by battering Margarito in the rematch and making him quit.

For me, the key factor behind his stoppage loss to Pacquaio was that Manny insisted that Miguel drop back down to 10.5. I think Cotto beats Pacquiao if they met at light-middle.

There was a time when I thought he was lazy, prone to admiring his work and the very top guys found him reasonably easy to catch. But lately, in the Margarito rematch and the close loss to Mayweather, he’s started to use his legs more. That’s made him far harder to hit. Even now, he’s constantly looking to improve. Though he lost, I thought he did very well against Mayweather last time out.

I’d read a bit about Austin Trout but only watched him for the first time in his last fight when he pretty much shut out Delvin Rodriguez in June. That was probably the best opponent he’s fought yet Rodriguez is only on the fringe of world class. Cotto’s a huge step up.

Trout’s your stereo typical awkward southpaw with a decent jab and good legs. He does the basics very well. He might not be the most exciting to watch but he’s very hard to beat, a real solid technician.

He’s still unbeaten and has got by, by doing what works for him. If he can win boring, he seems happy to do that. That might not be enough against Cotto. If Trout really wants to win the fans over, he’ll need to start taking more risks. It’s possible that in higher class, against more adventurous opposition, he could look a bit better. We’ll see on Saturday night. This is Trout’s big chance to break out so his motivation should certainly be high.

To win, I think he needs to try and dictate the fight from the outside, make himself as awkward as he can, tying Cotto up whenever he gets close cos there’s not many as good as Cotto inside. That might not please the fans but that’s what’s necessary.

I expect a cagey fight for the first six rounds or so as Trout tries to establish his jab and Cotto circles. But once the fight settles, I expect Cotto to start taking more chances. Inevitably, there’ll be times when Trout has to bite on his shield and trade with Cotto. That’s where he’ll come unstuck.

Trout’s possibly world class but Cotto’s elite class and I expect he’ll prove a step too far. Expect Cotto to win by stoppage somewhere between rounds nine and twelve.”

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