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Is Cotto Damaged Goods?

By Dave Lahr: ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas made mention of Miguel Cotto looking like damaged goods last Friday night during the FNF telecast, remarking on how Cotto didn’t look good in his fight with Joshua Clottey in June and looked ready to quit during the later rounds. Atlas raised a very good point about Cotto. He doesn’t seem to be the same fighter he was before his fight with Antonio Margarito last year in July.

Cotto controlled much of that fight for the first nine rounds, but was tired out and was hurt at the end of the 10th round by a big uppercut from Margarito. In the 11th round, Cotto twice took a knee to escape the punishment that Margarito was dishing out to him in the round. The fight was stopped by Cotto’s corner after the second time that Cotto took a knee.

Manny Pacquiao Miguel CottoAlthough Cotto didn’t really get hit all that much in the fight, the punishment he did take in both the 10th and the 11th rounds, left his face a mess, making him look as if he had taken a severe beating in the fighting. It’s unclear how much damage that Margarito did internally to Cotto’s brain.

Cotto wasn’t really hurt by any of Clottey’s shots in their June 13th fight, yet Cotto looked like he was there for the taking during several of the later rounds. Cotto looked like he was ready to quit again for awhile there. Clottey, however, didn’t have the work rate to finish Cotto off and ended up losing a close 12-round split decision.

But the way that Cotto looked in the later rounds, he seemed to be confused, worried and giving up on himself. It was like looking at a replay of the 10th and 11th rounds against Margarito. Cotto looked like a shell of himself.

It’s very lucky for him that he was fighting Clottey rather than a more active welterweight like Shane Mosley, Margarito or Andre Berto otherwise I think Cotto would have lost the fight. Could it be that Cotto haunted by the Margarito fight? Is this the lingering effects of that fight or is a neurological problem?

With the way that Cotto looked against Clottey, it’s not a good thing that he’s now fighting Manny Pacquiao on November 14th. Cotto really needs a couple of fights against easier competition to build up his confidence and see whether he has a chin problem that’s lingering from the Margarito loss. We learned nothing from Cotto’s 5th round stoppage win over Michael Jennings in Cotto’s first fight after his loss to Margarito, because Jennings, a light puncher, barely laid a glove on Cotto that night.

But, we did see Cotto struggle badly as he went life and death with Clottey last month. That fight left a troubling feeling in my mind about Cotto. He doesn’t look like the same fighter he used to be and probably is making a huge mistake in fighting Pacquiao at this time.

I think Clottey actually won the fight, but Cotto, the more popular fighter, got a gift decision on that night. It might have been better had Cotto lost the fight, because at least he’d be rebuilding his career more slowly instead of rushing from his poor performance (his second in his last three fights) against Clottey into a fight with Pacquiao.

It’s too bad, because Pacquiao won’t get the credit that he’s seeking if he beats Cotto, because Miguel simply doesn’t seem to be the same fighter mentally that he was before his loss to Margarito. This is why the choice of opponents for Pacquiao was pretty poor. I can understand why his promoter Bob Arum pushed for Pacquiao to fight Cotto, since he also promotes Cotto. But it may be a fight where Cotto had wished that he didn’t take at this point.

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