THERE’S a lot riding on Saturday night’s (June 6) fight with Daniel Geale for Miguel Cotto. At the age of 34 the Puerto Rican knows only a win will do, and a lucrative and highly appealing showdown with Saul Alvarez hangs in the balance.

Cotto has been rebuffing accusations that he is a fighter in decline since his brutal 2009 loss to Manny Pacquiao. The wars, perhaps, have taken their toll but he remains, without question, one of the leading pound-for-pound fighters in boxing. One only has to look at his most recent effort – a stunning shellacking of then-world middleweight champ Sergio Martinez – as evidence of that.

Those picking an upset on Saturday may well be clutching at straws, but the odds of a Geale success – 4-1 – should be tempting for the gambler that lies within. The Australian is a seasoned middleweight who has claimed two versions of the world title during a successful career, which has seen him defeat the likes of Felix Sturm, Sebastian Sylvester and Anthony Mundine while showing steady improvement. However, that was snapped somewhat violently by Gennady Golovkin last year. That defeat makes a victory here look unlikely, but Cotto does not carry the power – certainly at middleweight – that GGG can boast.

Add to that accusations that Martinez was riddled with injuries and just waiting to have his crown whipped off him the night he lost to Cotto (the Argentine has since all but announced his retirement over fears his body is breaking down), and the upset is perhaps not as crazy as it seems. After all, Cotto was defeated two-and-a-half years ago by Austin Trout, who fought a tactically brilliant fight. We’re being told that Miguel is in the best shape of his life under new (ish) coach Freddie Roach but Geale can put that test the theory. BETWAY’S odds of 6-1 on the Aussie winning on the cards could see adventurous punters counting their cash should the upset land.

However, no doubt aware that Geale is the naturally bigger man, Team Cotto insisted the fight had to happen at the catchweight of 157lbs, some three below what the underdog is used to weighing. The Puerto Rican was forced to endure this against Pacquiao – that bout was set at 145lbs – without complaint so it’s hard to be critical. And if Cotto remains the force he was while thrashing Martinez, it’s hard to see anything but a win for the favourite. A points win is not overly inviting at 6-5, but if Geale is drained from making weight it’s perfectly conceivable that he could be ground into defeat in the second half. Round-by-round odds therefore offer value, with a Cotto win in rounds six, seven, eight, or nine are each 12-1, before lengthening further for round 10 (14-1), round 11 (18-1), and round 12 (25-1).

BEST BETS: Cotto to win in rounds 10-12 (5-1); Cotto to win in rounds seven to nine (7-2); Cotto to win on points (7-5); Geale to win on points (6-1).