Television: HBO (USA), Main Event (Australia)
Time: 1:45AM GMT / 9:45PM ET / 6:45PM PT
Miguel Cotto 37(30)-4 vs. Delvin Rodriguez 28(16)-6-3
The general feeling amongst many is that if Cotto loses this fight, he should probably retire. After all, he’s coming off two losses.
However, one should also consider two things: everybody loses to Floyd Mayweather, and Austin Trout had a good argument for a win against Canelo. Is there really that much shame in losing to arguably the two best junior middleweights — one of them being the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing?
I will say this, though, Cotto should win against Rodriguez if he’s even an ounce of the fighter he once was. This isn’t to denigrate Rodriguez as a fighter, but it is to say that Cotto really is that good.
After all, Cotto is a three division world titlist. He’s fought against the best, and won most of the time. Hell, he gave Floyd Mayweather Jr. his hardest fight since Jose Luis Castillo back in 2002.
It was shocking, therefor, when Cotto lost so significantly against Austin Trout in what was supposed to be his comeback fight. Maybe the Cotto of old would have beat Trout easily. At the same time, maybe Trout has the kind of style that would always trouble Cotto.
Be that as it may, Rodriguez offers a good litmus test for Cotto. Rodriguez is a good fighter, but keep in mind he, himself, was easily defeated by Trout in June 2012 by a wide decision.
Rodriguez has spent the bulk of his year on Friday Night Fights, which is considered the platform for Tier 2 American fighters. On numerous occasions, he’s exceeded that level. Sometimes he’s challenged for a world title. Even so, whenever he reaches near the top level, he loses and gets sent back to Friday Night Fights.
After the loss to Trout, Rodriguez has KOed his last two opponents. In fact, he impresses each time he’s on Friday Night Fights. Who can forget Rodriguez’ classic fight against Pawel Wolak — which was a 2011 Fight of The Year candidate?
If Rodriguez wins, it will be the best victory in his entire career. However, it won’t mean that Rodriguez is now a top shelf contender. It will mean that Cotto should retire.
Prediction: Cotto by UD.
Terence Crawford 21(16)-0 vs. Andrey Klimov 16(8)-0
Crawford is 2013′s breakout prospect.
Last March, Crawford stepped forth on a couple weeks’ notice and not only beat Breidis Prescott, he thoroughly outclassed him. 3 months later, Prescott appeared on HBO again and won by TKO6 against Alejandro Salabria.
His power is something special too. Crawford has a 76% KO ratio with 5 of his last 6 fights won by KO. He can fight on his front and back foot. He can out-slick you, or he can out-maul you. Either way, Crawford looks like something special.
But looks aren’t everything. Crawford still needs to prove his class. That’s where Klimov steps into the fray.
Klimov is coming off an impressive victory over John Molina on Friday Night Fights. Prior to that, he has wins over Ty Barnett, Eduardo Arcos, and the previously undefeated Robert Rodriguez. He’s not the wrecking ball that Crawford is, but Klimov is known to stop his fair share of fights.
This is an excellent test for Crawford and will burnish his case for being 2013′s breakout star.
Prediction: Crawford by KO8.