Does Sugar Shane Have Enough Left To Beat Cotto?

By Francis Walker
Updated: October 27, 2007

NEW YORK — Sugar Shane Mosley has been one of the most celebrated fighters in last decade. His hand speed and relentless determination was always evident, as Mosley is the only fighter to have defeated both Oscar De La Hoya and Fernando Vargas twice.

But at age 36, Mosley is a little older, making it tougher to compete against younger and perhaps hungrier fighters. Can Mosley (44-4, 37 KOs with 1 NC) turn back the clock a couple of years in order to turn away the very dangerous Miguel Cotto (30-0, 20 KOs)?

“Cotto vs. Mosley: Fast & Furious” will take place at Madison Square Garden on November 10, in New York City for Cotto’s WBA welterweight championship. The bout will be broadcast on HBO Pay-Per-View at a suggested retail of $49.99.

The televised undercard will also feature former WBO welterweight champion Antonio Margarito and current WBC interim super featherweight titlist Joel Casamayor in separate bouts.

Constantly referred to as “Sugar” like his idols before him Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard, Mosley has won world championships in multiple weight classes: 35, 140, and 147.

“The name was given to me when I was 8 or 9 year old,” Mosley said. “Richie Sandoval and the guys in the gym would see me fight and say I’m just like Sugar Ray. So they said ‘we’re going to call you Sugar Shane.”

“It’s a lot of pressure that comes with that name, but I’m the man for the job.”

Mosley’s success can to attributed to a style of fighting that is very difficult to sustain throughout an entire career and often not seen by many of today’s best fighters — “Power Boxing.”

Mosley’s “Power Boxing” style consists of throwing every punch at carious angles with speed and power at a fast pace. Mosley has been successful for so long because he always showed better and quicker foot movement than his opponents.

Mosley always initiated action and countered his opponents effectively. It appeared as though Mosley has always had devastating power. Mosley is strong and does pack a zing, but it is Mosley’s speed that often hurt his opponents.

Can Mosley’s speed handle Cotto’s relentless aggressiveness?

That is one of the many intriguing questions that will be answered when both fighters meet. Mosley could be a Future Hall of Famer, while Cotto is on pace to toward building a Hall of Fame career. Cotto is only 26, but he is already an unbeaten two-division world champion. Cotto has also appeared in 10 world title fights, winning 9 by knockout.

Cotto is also being pushed as the largest Puerto Rican boxing star since Felix Trinidad. Whether Cotto will become larger than Trinidad remains to be seen, but Cotto is becoming a bigger attraction with each challenge that he faces.

Cotto has proven that he has what it takes to dig deep within himself to pull out that extra-added determination and collect that second wind to fight even harder than his opponent.

“I always do my best and give my all,” Cotto said. “I’m going to train pretty hard for [Mosley]. I gurantee you, I’ll climb out of the ring like a champion and I’m going to go down like a champion too.”

In his recent bout, Cotto again proved his skill and determination after he was seriously stunned against Zab Judah. Cotto showed the that he will do whatever it takes to win, even if it means throwing two low blows. Cotto eventually would break Judah down with solid body shots. Cotto knocked Judah down in rounds ten and eleven before stopping him in the eleventh.

Cotto rose from the floor to knockout hard-hitting Ricardo Torres following a series of relentless body shots.

Cotto’s fifth-round TKO of DeMarcus Corley was a stand straight-up slugfest. Cotto floored Corley early, but was stunned by a sneaky right hook to the chin. Cotto was on rubbery legs, but Corley didn’t have the punch to finish.

Cotto’s aggressive body and combination punching seriously hurt Corley several times in the bout. Cotto landed a left hook in the fifth round that took the wind and the fight out of Corley.

Although Cotto didn’t knockout Paulie Malignaggi when they fought last year, Cotto punished Malignaggi, who was floored in round two, for twelve rounds. Cotto gave Malignaggi a beating so brutal, afterwards Malignaggi had suffered a broken orbital bone and injured his hand.

Cotto has also punished Randall Bailey, Carlos Quintana, Oktay Urkal, Kelson Pinto, and Carlos Maussa to name a few.

Styles make fights, Mosley + Cotto = action

Mosley will definitely have to box the fight of his career, similar to his first fight with De La Hoya, if he plans to beat Cotto. Mosley has just as good a chance to beat Cotto, as does Cotto has as good a chance to beat Mosley. Both fighters have shown vulnerability in recent fights.

Mosley was thoroughly out-boxed by Vernon Forrest (twice) and Winky Wright (twice). Molsey was the shorter man moving up from 147 fight tall defensive fighters that were also fast and had very good technical skills. Mosley, who does not move his head much, appears to be more flatfooted. That could play into Cotto’s game plan.

Cotto himself does not move his head much. He has also been badly hurt and dropped. Both Cotto and Mosley, especially in the later rounds, will be close enough for the other fighter to get hit.

Especially Cotto, who as a power puncher, moves forward to position himself to either land big body shots or force his opponents backward. Mosley almost certainly has to keep the fight in the middle of the ring and land the cleaner shots.

Mosley is fast and can can hit Cotto with a punch he may not see coming, the way Judah caught Cotto when they fought. He stood in front of Judah (a southpaw) who launched a straight-left that Cotto didn’t see coming and it hurt him. Mosley doesn’t have Judah’s power, but speed kills.

A body puncher like Cotto is very dangerous when his opponents are against the ropes. Cotto doesn’t have to reach to throw punches because his opponent is right there in front of him, either standing straight up or in a crouching position vulnerable to get hit with repeated body punches.

Cotto vs. Mosley should be one of the best action fights of 2007.