With the retirement of Floyd Mayweather in September and the upcoming retirement of Manny Pacquiao in April next year, the middleweight division of world boxing is already feeling the pinch in the ever-so-competitive category.
There are a number of boxers willing to throw their hat in the next-superstar ring.
The two main contenders -- Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto -- who have long remained under the shadow of "Pacman" and "Money", will get their chance to prove their champion material when they square off for the WBC and Ring Magazine Middleweight title at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Saturday
Though the fight is scheduled to be fought in Las Vegas -- the hub of world boxing – Alvarez and Cotto will bring to life the rich boxing cultures of their home country, Mexico and Puerto Rico respectively. Boxing is not merely a sport in both the countries, but a matter of pride.
People in Puerto Rico will not forget names such as Sixto Escobar, who was the first world champion from the country, after which boxers par excellence have been sprouting in the area. The same can be said for Mexico, which has witnessed boxers like Oscar de le Hoya -- Mexican-American -- and Salvador Sanchez.
Alvarez and Cotto have both earned a huge name in their respective nations, but their achievements will go up a notch with a win on Saturday. The fight between Alvarez and Cotto also has history, especially for Cotto's family, as Miguel's elder brother, Jose Miguel Cotto, lost to Alvarez in 2010.
There is a huge difference in age between the two boxers as Alvarez is just 25 years while his opponent, Cotto, is already 35. Alvarez, who still has some healthy years ahead of him, has already been impressive in his career with one loss in his 47 fights, which includes 32 knockouts.
Such stats clearly reflects Alvarez's class, but Cotto, who has seen many of wins himself, is no small fish, as he has won 40 of his 44 fights, which includes 33 knock outs. Cotto has found a new lease of life under Freddie Roach as the trainer has helped him find his smooth left hook once again, which could be a deadly weapon on Saturday night.
With both boxers possessing such great records, the fight should live up to the hype. The fight between the two is expected to be a tactical one with Alvarez, who might be known as a slow starter, eager for a quick start to catch Cotto on the wrong foot.
Though the hype may not have gathered much steam as the fight of the century in May between Maywether and Pacquiao, the fight between Alvarez and Cotto is expected to be a humdinger of a contest.
With Pacquiao's farewell fight set for April, Alvarez and Cotto could increase their chances of fighting the Filipino with an impressive display in Las Vegas.
Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto fight schedule
Date: Saturday, 21 November.
Time: 9pm ET (7:30am IST, 2am GMT).
Venue: Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
TV listings: HBO (the US), Box Nation (the UK).