Miguel Cotto squares off against Zab Judah in defense of his WBA welterweight title in New York City's Madison Square Garden on the eve of its big annual Puerto Rican Day Parade. Judah has long been claiming that his friend(?) Felix Trinidad said that he (and himself, included) could take down the highly-respected prospect. Cotto, in spite of his undefeated record, has not looked completely invincible in a number of his recent bouts, as he has had his moments against fighters that he was supposed to handle with ease in the ring, such as Demarcus "Chop Chop" Corley in his native Puerto Rico and Paulie Malignaggi. On the other hand, Judah was too entrenched in his "thug life" (and his tendency to shirk in the face of growing opposition) to pull it together and beat Floyd Mayweather, Jr. last year. And lest us not forget that he has technically not won a fight since May 2005.
Unlike many, and despite his heritage, I think that Miguel Cotto is overrated, if not very. He may have strength and some boxing skills, but he has poor defensive skills and looks lost at times when an opponent is pressing heat on him. Zab Judah once again is faced with a highly-rated fighter of whom he can exert his superior hand speed and notable power upon. Perhaps the weaker of the two, he can still make it his fight by outboxing the slower Cotto and avoiding his power shots--pending he brings it altogether mentally and enters into a single-minded focus not seen since his revenge victory against Cory Spinks in his St. Louis hometown. Judah will be in his hometown tonight, a native of Brooklyn, but make no mistake that he will be in the middle of Puerto Rico, as many in attendance will undoubtably be rooting for their favorite son on this major of cultural weekends.
Like Spinks, Judah will be better suited in avoiding Cotto's power, but must be careful not to fall into the same pitfall that he did a few weeks ago and allow him to steal the fight the more "sensational," but lesser in count, punches. Knowledge would say that the KO-prone Judah would either be reliving his Kostya Tszyu bout or the aforementioned Taylor-Spinks decision, however, this time, I'll play the other side of this. Slim as it may be, I'll call for Judah "getting it" once more and fight the right fight against Cotto, outboxing him and making him reluctant to throw in the midst of his fast hands, (thus taking the surely lively, pro-Cotto/PR crowd out of it). He could feasibly knock him out, but his chin and willpower will need some significant softening up before that ever happens. But if Zab "Super Thug" or "Super Unconfident" Judah shows up, Cotto will be making the Parade Sunday that much sweeter.
Prediction: Judah, Split Majority Decision. No perfect fight=Cotto decision or mid-fight KO.