When “Sugar” Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto stand face-to-face in the ring on Saturday night, the savvy veteran will recognize that look in 27-year-old’s eyes.
It’s the same desire that Mosley had when he upset Oscar De La Hoya back in 2000, a win that springboarded him to boxing stardom. Now, eight years later Mosley’s opponent seeks the same claim to fame when he defends his WBA welterweight title against the former three-time champion.
The undefeated Cotto (-155) has a contrasting style to Mosley. The hard-hitting Puerto Rican has won 25 of his 30 fights by way of knockout thanks to his aggressive pursuit and devastating power shots. According to boxing linesmaker Joey Oddessa, Cotto is the one of the most dangerous foes Mosley (+125) has faced in his Hall of Fame career.
“Mosley is definitely the more experienced of the two but he’s stepping in with one of the best punchers he’s faced to date,” says Oddessa, who opened with Cotto as a -165 fave. “While some of Mosley’s opponents have been stronger, none are better finishers than Cotto.”
In order to avoid Cotto’s power Mosley must rely on his superior speed and technique. Leading up to the fight a lot of people have questioned Mosley’s ability, saying the 36-year-old has lost a step. However, Oddessa believes Mosley hasn’t showed any signs of slowing down and points to his recent victories over Fernando Vargas and Luis Collazo.
“How Mosley holds up to Cotto's relentless attacks will determine how competitive he is in the fight,” says Oddessa. “I think he will be forced to fight at Cotto’s pace and he will have to capitalize on any mistakes Cotto makes early.”
Mosley will also have to deal with a hostile crowd inside Madison Square Garden. Despite his popularity, which will draw late money at the window, the New York crowd will be littered with Cotto fans. The Puerto Rican community came out in droves to support their champion during his last bout with Zab Judah back in June, also at the Garden.
Oddessa predicts a closely contested bout in the early rounds but believes this fight could mark the first time Mosley is knocked out in his professional career. Sportsbooks are offering Cotto by knockout, TKO or DQ at +200 while Mosley is paying off at +250 for the same result.
“Cotto will bring non-stop pressure and as the fight goes on, I expect him to take control,” says Oddessa. “While over 9 ½ rounds seems to be the logical choice, a stoppage in the championship rounds would not surprise me. Either way I think Cotto wins comfortably.”
Fight fans can watch this Saturday’s action-packed event on HBO pay per view. The four-bout card begins at 9 p.m. ET.