Can Miguel Cotto adopt a whole new approach or is he destined for a repeat knockout in the later rounds? 

WBA Championship Rematch: Antonio Margarito vs. Miguel Cotto

Boxing’s most anticipated rematch of the year is officially less than a week out. Our task now is figuring out what adjustments can be made heading into the rematch.

Miguel CottoAs for Cotto, we know he’s recently opted to bring in Cuban trainer Pedro Luis, but the decision to drop Emanuel Steward has raised the question of what Miguel’s gameplan is for the fight. Will he look to employ a similar attack to Shane Mosley- clinching and sitting down on his right hook- or will we see him follow Pacquiao’s blueprint of continuously circling into favorable punching angles while punishing Margarito’s body?

The problem with Cotto taking the second approach is he hasn’t necessarily shown the required stamina to sustain that type of attack over an entire 12 rounds .In fact, early on against Margarito he was just as dominant as Pacquiao. Fatiguing in the second half of the bout was the only real difference in their respective performances. Had Cotto been able to maintain the same pace he fought at in the first 6 rounds, chances are we wouldn’t be talking about a rematch today.

Margarito, meanwhile, has made it clear he plans on pushing an even faster pace this time around --promising to stay in Cotto’s face from the opening bell.  

Aside from his normal high intense training, Margarito is looking to improve his conditioning by relocating his camp to the higher altitude in Temoaya, Mexico.  This move could very well be an indication of how aggressive Margarito starts out.

Recently obtained was the medical clearance for an artificial lens in Margarito's right eye. The first couple of rounds should let us know what type of resistance it’s able to withstand.  It could be a short night if Antonio’s visibly bothered by the first few left hooks.

Final Outcome & Championship Prediction

For the last week we’ve seen Cotto stagnate around -200, which is around a 50 cent drop since their first match in 2008. However, if you take a look at Cotto’s recent line history you’ll see how massively overpriced he’s been.

First, as a +190 underdog, Miguel was destroyed at the hands of Manny Pacquiao. The fight wasn’t even moderately competitive after the first 3 rounds.

MargaritoNext, in a fight many feel he lost, Cotto closed as a- 350 favorite against Joshua Clottey. The split decision could have easily gone to Clottey that night.

And perhaps worse of all, he was a -1000 over an aging relic in Ricardo Mayorga. While the scorecards were drastically in his favor, Cotto ate way too many clean shots and was even shaken in the 7th round by a Mayorga right hand.

If we’ve learned anything it’s that Cotto’s name continues to draw action from the casual bettor. For this reason I think Margarito is the only reasonable bet at current odds. However, I do think if Cotto properly reserves his stamina for the second half of the fight then a decision is his favor is more likely. Getting only +140 on the decision prop, though, just isn’t juicy enough to bite; ideally I’d want something closer to +190 if I were to lock in a play. 

My official free pick will be on the fight not going the distance and a small flyer on Margarito winning in rounds 7-9 at +1600. I think Margarito’s orbital swelling issues are enough incentive to back the under here. Considering how aware the ringside physicians are of Margarito eye issues, we should see them keep an even closer watch than usual. You can almost guarantee that the slightest swelling will set off some unwarranted alarms from the sidelines.

MY free Boxing pick:   Fight won't go distance +105 at 5dimes