Cotto a big favorite to defend welterweight title

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Boxing once again takes center stage this weekend with the biggest bout of the year so far when Miguel Angel Cotto defends his WBA Super Welterweight title against Ricardo Mayorga at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday (11 pm ET, PPV).

Boxing Odds at betED.com have Cotto as a huge favorite, at -1200, while Mayorga is a +600 underdog. The round over/under total is 8.5.

Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs), a 30-year-old who hails from Puerto Rico, has once again turned to  the legendary Emanuel Steward to train for this fight. Among the world champions Steward has trained over the years are Oscar De La Hoya, Thomas Hearns and Lennox Lewis.

Cotto is widely considered to have a big advantage over Mayorga in power, speed, skills, and experience. Since winning the welterweight crown against Carlos Quintana, Cotto has defended his title against Oktay Urkal, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley and Alfonso Gómez.

He lost the title to Antonio Margarito, Cotto’s first professional defeat. In 2009, he beat Michael Jennings to claim the vacant WBO welterweight championship, but then lost it in his second pro defeat against Manny Pacquiao. Last year, he beat Yuri Foreman for the WBA super welterweight championship.

Nicaraguan native Mayorga, 37, is considered one of the hardest punchers in boxing today, but faces a number of obstacles. He has not fought professionally since losing to Shane Mosley in the 12th round of their junior middleweight bout in 2008.

Many believe that Mayorga’s age will catch up to him against Cotto. But that hasn’t stopped him from engaging in the trash-talking for which he’s so famous. In the lead-up to this fight, Mayorga has called Cotto and Steward "failures" and "clowns."

A win for Cotto over Mayorga would likely set up a summer rematch against Margarito.

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