Current greats get presser out of the way, eye weigh-in on Friday
By: Mike Sloan: In what has been a relatively uneventful build-up to their fight in terms of trash talking or controversy, both Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto took to the dais one last time before they finally lock horns on Saturday. With nary a hint of dislike or animosity between the two future Hall of Famers, the final press conference for 2012’s biggest fight thus far was underwhelming. In fact, considering how boisterous and braggadocios Mayweather usually is in building up his fights, the final presser was quite tame.
Neither man said too much to the hundreds of media on hand. Even after they said their respective pieces and faced off nose-to-nose for the cameras, Mayweather never raised his finger, shouted at or belittled Cotto, or talked even a modicum of trash. Cotto and Mayweather stared each other down for quite some time, neither relenting his glare, but when they were forced to separate, the two junior middleweights smiled respectfully and shook hands before posing for more pictures.
Maybe it’s Cotto’s likeable persona or Mayweather realizing that he doesn’t always need to play the heel in the fight’s build-up, but in rare form, Mayweather and his team had almost nothing negative to say about the Puerto Rican star. Unlike former Mayweather opponents Ricky Hatton, Oscar de la Hoya, Shane Mosley and others, Cotto has received plenty of praise.
“I don’t have to be up here and talk loud or brag,” Mayweather said. “I’ve been doing this a long time and, like he said, Miguel Cotto is a quiet guy. He don’t say much. I don’t need to talk much either. You all know what I’m about.”
In Cotto, Mayweather will have his hands full against a durable, proven commodity. He’s been in with the absolute best and though he’s a 7-1 betting underdog, he’s skilled enough that he could give Mayweather enough of a fight and have him in serious peril.
“In my mind Miguel Cotto is an undefeated fighter,” Mayweather said, reiterating what he’s been saying for weeks. “He’s as tough as they come and he fights in a fan-friendly style. I’m not taking him lightly. He’s a great, dangerous opponent.”
Mayweather is referring to the two losses officially on Cotto’s record. His first loss came at the (potentially loaded) hands of Antonio Margarito, a once-feared man who eventually was found to have an illegal substance in his handwraps prior to getting pounded by Mosley. Many protestors have demanded that loss to Margarito be changed to a “no contest” because Margarito’s entire career has been clouded in suspicion. The other loss came via stoppage courtesy of Manny Pacquiao. The loss was legit, though Mayweather has stated that Cotto was at an unfair advantage because he had to make great sacrifices to meet the Filipino at a catch weight, a decision Mayweather believes weakened Cotto.
“It’s a great honor to be fighting Cotto,” Mayweather added. “He’ll be in the Hall of Fame one day and that is the highest honor a fighter can receive. He’s a great fighter and I don’t think he’s ever really lost a fight. So, to me, I’m taking on another undefeated fighter.”
Mayweather spoke briefly and wasn’t as loquacious as normal. He spoke softly and it appeared as though his voice was hoarse. Questions surfaced in the foreground of the press conference that he has become ill in the final week of preparation, but that notion was laid to rest, squashing any sort of doubt that he’s at full strength.
“This was the best camp I’ve had in a long time,” the unbeaten fighter said. “In fact, this was the hardest I’ve worked in my entire life. I’ve never felt better in training and it’s all because of my hard work.”
Cotto was even briefer at the dais, deciding to use the old cliché of letting his talking take place inside the ring. Still, the tattooed pugilist oozed of confidence and of his training camp and how much of a positive influence new trainer Pedro Diaz has had on him.
“You know me; I like to keep things short,” Cotto remarked. “I never really like to talk before a fight because I prefer to let my fists speak for me… This is a very big fight for me and I’m very prepared to fight someone like Floyd Mayweather.”
The fight is expected to be a blockbuster in terms of live gate revenue, pay-per-view sales and box office success at the closed circuit broadcasts as well as the scattered movie theatres who will televise the bout. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer predicted that it will surpass even the Mayweather-De la Hoya event, which pulled in over two million PPV buys, still the highest-grossing fight in history.
“I’m trying to make this fight bring in more viewers than when we fought,” Mayweather said, turning to briefly speak to De la Hoya, who was sitting among Team Cotto. “I’m doing everything I can to make this work, to break that 2.4 or 2.5 million, or whatever we did.”
Whether Mayweather-Cotto is able to edge out the numbers of the Mayweather-De la Hoya mega event from a few years ago remains to be seen. Regardless, Saturday’s fight is going to be a blockbuster with the MGM Grand Garden Arena filled to its gills and generating millions upon millions of dollars. It’s clearly the biggest fight of the year thus far and one of the more intriguing matchups in recent memory.
Stay tuned for much, much more Mayweather-Cotto coverage…
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