"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."
~Mike Tyson

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Miguel Cotto vs Yoshihiro Kamegai - Analysis, Breakdown, And Prediction

32 Years A Fan And Never Once...

Photo: ringtv.com
My obsession with boxing began 15 days before my 12th birthday. It was on this day that the then undisputed middleweight champion Marvin Hagler would go on to knock out Detroit's Tommy Hearns in round 3 of of the best fights of all time. At the time I lived alone with my father, a man whom epitomized boxing fandom. Additionally, he always favored boxers more than he did guys whom could punch and so naturally he was insistent that Hearns would outbox the Marvelous One and win a decision.

This wasn't the first boxing match I'd ever seen mind you. My Grandfather and two uncles watched regularly throughout the 70's and early 80's but this was the first fight I watched with interest, having gotten caught up in my father's pre-fight hype. After watching the fight I found myself enthralled with the way both men fought and with how the fight abruptly and violently ended. I began watching boxing every weekend with my dad after that and then co-workers and friends after I came of age. In the 32 years since that fight my passion for the sport has never once wavered or waned. In fact I would argue that my passion for boxing has never been bigger than it is right now. I'm the type of fan that makes boxing a priority and will schedule his life around the sport, so why then have I never once been to a single live event? Be it school, work, girlfriends, cash shortages, being a musician, and then later a wife and six kids, there's always been some something standing in between me and attending a live boxing event.

Miguel Cotto vs Yoshihiro Kamegai

After watching from my couch, bed, countless sports bars, and of course my phone, computer, and tablet for 32 years, I'm finally attending my first live boxing event! This Saturday August 26th, Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto and Japan's Yoshihiro Kamegai are set to square off in what should be an exciting match up at the StubHub Center in Carson California. Cotto looks to continue his winning ways since joining forces with Freddie Roach while Kamegai looks to disrupt Cotto's retirement tour. Make no mistake about it, Miguel Cotto is favored to win the fight and rightfully so but Kamegai is a guy who comes to fight and isn't content in simply showing up so that he can collect a paycheck. I don't know anyone whom is favoring Kamegai but make no mistake...he is a live dog in this one and it should be an solid entertaining scrap.

Making this bout even more intriguing is the fact that both fighters are coming off lengthy stretches of inactivity. The last time Kamegai stepped into the ring he did so in a rematch against Jesus Soto Karass and that was back on September 9th of 2016. Kamegai is no spring chicken and will enter the ring being just a couple of months shy of his 35th birthday. Age plus inactivity has felled many a boxer and fans should expect both to be a factor on the 26th. Adding some weight to this, Miguel Cotto hasn't fought since losing to "Canelo" Alvarez back on November 21st 2015. At nearly 37 years old and spending close to 2 years out of the ring, inactivity could be Cotto's Achilles heel. It's important to remember that in his losing effort against Alvarez the future hall of famer looked timid, tired, and at times unable or unwilling to pull the trigger.

Those unfamiliar with Yoshirhiro Kamegai's work will need to know that he employs a predatory style and that he is at his best when fighting on the inside. He has a savage short game that can break his opponents body down and leave them open for much bigger and damaging shots. He's a relentless stalker with a high work rate and an uncommon tenacity. Whereas Kamegai has just one gear (forward) and is somewhat one dimensional, Miguel Cotto makes use of a much more educated style and has the better ring IQ in this fight. After being bloodied, bludgeoned, and thoroughly beaten by Antonio Margarito in the summer of 2008, Cotto adopted a more defensive and cautious fighting style; a style that never suited him or did him any favors by the way. After coming under the tutelage of Freddie Roach in 2013 however, Cotto rediscovered himself and reinstituted his original style. One could make the argument that much of Cotto's success while with Roach is due, at least in part, to careful matchmaking and catchweights but Cotto still shows flashes of brilliance when he employs his craft. Whether it's his body work, heavy hands, quickness of foot and hand, or his ability to move, Miguel Cotto isn't going to be an easy out for anyone...even at this age and after the war's he's endured.

Yoshihiro Kamegai Keys To Victory

Golden Boy Promotions
Something tells yours truly that Miguel Cotto isn't going to give up the inside real estate that Kamegai will be looking for, neither willingly nor easily. Kamegai will need to break Cotto's body down with his fierce low hooks in order to slow Cotto down and keep him from moving away. If Kamegai can not catch Cotto the fight could be a 12 round game of cat and mouse but if he's able to slow his man down, it could spell trouble for Cotto. Though he's rather flat footed and plodding, Kamegai must find a way to cut off the ring and eliminate the majority of Cotto's lateral movement as well. If the Migeul Cotto that faced Canelo shows up Kamegai need only keep his work rate and aggression high and he could pull off the upset. The upset minded Kamegai would also do well to remember that when hurt, the normally offensive minded Cotto will begin running and fighting off the backfoot. Getting Cotto's respect and hurting him early is key to a Kamegai win.

Miguel Cotto Keys To Victory

Golden Boy Promotions
Like Kamegai, Miguel Cotto is capable of vicious body work. Given Kamegai's age, style, and inactivity, it would be wise for Cotto to go to the body often, especially in the early rounds of the fight. Taking away Kamegai's legs will more or less leave him without his offense which just also happens to be his defense. Cotto will need to utilize his movement and keep the fight on the outside with a strong jab as well as sharp power shots whenever his opponent attempts to work his way to the inside.

How It Plays Out

Expect the strong willed and seemingly tireless Kamegai to begin the fight exactly as you'd expect a pressure fighter to do. The Hokkaido native will look to impose his will on the aging Cotto and wear him down over the course of the fight. While his KO% is a respectable 75%, Kamegai isn't a power puncher the way a Gennady Golovkin is or Mike Tyson and George Foreman were. Instead he wins wars of attrition and stops his opponents with sheer volume of punches. Miguel Cotto will spend the first 2-3 rounds studying and learning to time Kamegai before he slowly begins taking over and then dominating the later rounds. If this were a pre-Margarito Cotto it'd be easy to pick Cotto by stoppage in the second half of the fight. 2017's Miguel Cotto however may not be willing to risk what it takes to stop someone like Kamegai nor might he have enough left in the tank to do so.

Winner: Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision

Scott Jarvis is a boxing writer for Split D Boxing. He can be reached on Twitter, Facebook, or by email at splitdecisionbox@gmail.com.


Post a Comment