Miguel Cotto is set to take on James Kirkland on February 25th at the Ford Center in Texas. Kirkland was last seen getting knocked out at the hands of Canelo Alvarez, whom is also Cotto’s latest foe. Both Cotto and Kirkland have been out of the ring for quite some time, will ring rust be an issue? It definitely could be but probably not as much for Kirkland.
Ring rust tends to settle more on the joints of a technical fighter like Miguel Cotto, rather than that of a seek and destroy bully like James Kirkland is. Relying on his heart and heavy hands is the way Kirkland has always fought, I don’t see that changing for the Cotto fight. His style also gives him an edge in this fight. Why? Throughout Cotto’s Hall of Fame career, he has yet to have to deal with a bully fighter style like Kirkland’s. Margarito maybe somewhat close but still doesn’t match the pressure Kirkland will bring. So, Cotto better get some WD40 and some heavy sparring in to break off some of that ring rust early or he could be in for a world of hurt.
Another thing Kirkland does that will give him an edge is his volume punching. What is one thing that most of his losses have in common? You guessed it, volume punching. Antonio Margarito threw a whopping 987 punches in his win over Cotto. Austin Trout and Manny Pacquiao both threw close to 800 punches when they defeated Cotto. Even Floyd Mayweather threw 687 punches, which is a lot more than he averages, to beat Cotto. How does this fit into Cotto-Kirkland? In his fight with Glen Tapia, Kirkland threw an insane 644 punches in just 6 rounds. Against Canelo, Kirkland launched 197 punches in just 3 rounds.
When trainer Ann Wolfe is in Kirkland’s corner, he is undefeated. Both of his knockout losses came from when she was not training him, coincidence? Probably not. Wolfe is known for putting Kirkland through hell in training camp, but she is beside him every step of the way. Whether it’s running 8 miles a day while punching a heavy bag that has been built onto a truck or sparring with cruiserweights, Wolfe is right there next to him. She doesn’t just train him, she trains with him. She believes in heavy sparring which gets Kirkland’s chin and body ready for the real fight. Wolfe can also be a great motivator with little phrases she spits out, such as-
You want to know how to get the best out of a dog? Bite his ass.
I truly believe Cotto took this fight thinking he will get a highlight reel type knockout just like Canelo did against Kirkland. Problem is, Wolfe wasn’t in his corner then and Canelo is a much bigger man than Cotto is. They have dubbed this fight “The Return”, whose return is still yet to be determined.