6 Miguel Cotto Boxing Strategies worth paying attention on

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Miguel Cotto has cemented his place as one of boxing’s elite fighters in a career spanning over 15 years between 2001 to 2007. The Puerto Rican professional boxer retired in 2017, a decade after his peak years started. He was the first Puerto Rican boxer to win four world titles in four different weight classes.

Miguel Cotto has cemented his place as one of boxing’s elite fighters in a career spanning over 15 years between 2001 to 2007. The Puerto Rican professional boxer retired in 2017, a decade after his peak years started. He was the first Puerto Rican boxer to win four world titles in four different weight classes.

When Cotto claimed his fourth world crown, he dethroned Sergio Martinez – the lineal middleweight king. This victory made him a part of truly elite fighters of this era. Though Martinez’s physical decline was an instrumental part in Cotto’s victory, you simply can’t take anything away from Cotto’s brilliant boxing at that time. In this analysis, we will examine Cotto’s ring acumen and his overall strategy when fighting his opponent.

Though his opponent was a herky-jerky, hands-down, left-hand counter-attacker, he posed serious tactical challenges for Miguel Cotto who has had a history of struggling with southpaws in the past. However, Cotto was able to overcome the discrepancies with the help of positional awareness and strategic thinking. This allowed him to assert his control and create ways to land his offense, especially the left hook, which decided the matter in less than 3 minutes.

As opposed to the Manny Pacquaio analysis and how he schooled Cotto, things here were quite the opposite. Sergio Martinez, being a southpaw generally went against the grain when it comes to movement. When the majority of southpaws circle to their right so to integrate their left hand into the play, Martinez ended up opening more attacking options by circling to his left. However, Cotto was aware of this and to offset Martinez’s alignment and deny him his preferred angle, he maintained calculated distance and pivoted to his left to stay away from Martinez’s power hand.

Lead foot positioning

Contrary to the popular belief, there’s much more to orthodox vs southpaw strategy than just looking to get the lead foot outside the opponent’s lead foot to better line up the rear hand at every turn. There’s also a great deal to be said about positioning the lead foot inside of the opponents to help disguise the path of the lead hook. With that said, we’ve already debunked the Southpaw advantage over conventional fighters. Largely, it boils down to fighter’s positioning, ring IQ and overall understanding of his opponent.

In the clip above, you can see Cotto probing with a jab. He then proceeds to step across Martinez’s base to deliver a left hook which travels over the right shoulder from beyond his opponent’s field of vision.

Using your opponent’s strategy against them

Martinez is well known for pressuring aggressive opponents and getting them to overcommit. This allows him to predict the movement and thus smooth counter. However, Cotto managed to flip the script by avoiding any form of bait from Martinez.

In the clip below, you can see Cotto threatening a low-line attack by changing levels. He gets into that movement before planting a jab below Martinez’s right armpit after ducking under an extended lead. He proceeds to change levels again with a low-line feint, drawing out a soft lead hand from his opponent. However, this time he counters Martinez’s lead with over the top left hook to his opponent’s temple.

Capitalizing on your opponent’s inability to read the moves

After dropping Martinez with a volley of lefts to the body and head, Cotto continued to find the same angle for the left hook throughout the remainder of the round. Because the starting motions of Cotto’s hook looked deceptively like a jab, Martinez found himself reaching out to block what wasn’t there.

In the clip below, you can see Martinez reacting to the subtle feint and reaches out to block what he thinks is a jab. And gets nailed on the side of the head with the exact same hook coming from the blind angle.

Through this clip, Cotto established that Martinez was having a tough time tracking the trajectory of Cotto’s hook. Cotto knew this, and he continued to ruthlessly exploit it.

Another visual demonstration in the clip below

Getting the timing right

In the clip below, you can see Cotto vs Canelo landing the punches. You can see how Cotto gets off to a slow start. However, over time, he is able to get the timing right and is able to nail Canelo in the third round for the number of strikes landed.

You can see a variety of shots from both the fighters with the most standout punches coming from Cotto with his double left, which gives him a significant lead at the end of the round. After Round 4, Cotto goes on to dominate Round 6, with 16 successful punches as compared to Canelo’s 10.

All other rounds were a pretty close affair as you can see in the image below.

Canelo Alvarez vs Miguel Cotto punches

Devastating Left Hook

Cotto was extremely brilliant when playing off the ropes, against pressure fighters, in this clip below you can see him boxing Carlos Alberto Ramirez and he is fighting off the ropes. He is able to generate pressure and land accurate power punches which pushes his opponent back. Once, he realizes that his opponent is backing off, he lands a right followed by a devastating left which puts his opponent to the ground. Brilliant stuff from Miguel Cotto.

Conclusion

Before signing off, I’d like to leave a special clip below which showcases Cotto’s excellence during his prime years. Lastly, I know that this analysis wasn’t as big as other fighters but I tried my best to include everything I found was unique in Cotto’s boxing style.

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