Undefeated phenom expects a tough fight with Puerto Rican
By: Mike Sloan: Floyd Mayweather is a man of many hats and you’ll never know what to fully expect when you’re in his presence. He could be the loquacious, boastful, trash-talking champion that has gained the ire of thousands or he could be the reserved, charismatic figure with that million-dollar smile that has also gained the ire of thousands of skeptics. Or he could be the warm, charitable champion who speaks openly and in a somewhat beseeched manner about how much he does for theLas Vegascommunity, which, in turn, has gained the ire of thousands who claim he does this only to make himself look good.
No what Floyd Mayweather does or says, it seems, people continue to hate the guy’s guts or are cynical to what the undefeated future Hall of Famer has achieved inside the ring.
“No matter who I fight, people are (going to) hate,” he calmly said in front of his boxing ring inside his own gym. “It don’t matter who I fight because they are always going to say the guy I’m fighting is too old or not good enough. It’s okay, though. I beat Shane Mosley and everybody said he was too old yet he had just knocked out (Antonio) Margarito who everybody said was the best. I beat (Juan Manuel) Marquez and everybody said he was too small or too old even though he had three life and death fights with (Manny) Pacquiao. It’s okay, though.”
Mayweather won’t be gaining any new supports from boxing’s peanut gallery because his next opponent, Miguel Cotto, is not who the boxing world wants to see him fight. Many have claimed that Cotto, one of the best fighters to ever come from boxing-richPuerto Rico, is on the decline and doesn’t belong in the same ring as Mayweather. However, Cotto is a physical fighter and is a powerful puncher. He’s one of the best fighters in the sport today and he’s clearly somebody with whom Mayweather has to be careful.
Cotto has won three straight fights against durable competition: Then-undefeated Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga and a late rounds stoppage of Margarito in the ultimate grudge match. Cotto is a very dangerous for the unbeaten Mayweather and the fight could change in Cotto’s favor in the blink of an eye.
"I can’t overlook a guy like Miguel Cotto,” Mayweather revealed. "The fans should watch this [fight] because in my eyes Miguel Cotto is an undefeated fighter. He fought one guy at a catch weight (Pacquiao) and another guy who got in trouble for cheating (Margarito). He’s strong, a knockout puncher, and he always comes out and fights in a pleasing way.”
Floyd’s trainer, uncle Roger Mayweather, concurred with his nephew in claiming how risky the fight with Cotto is.
"All fighters are dangerous,” he said. “Anybody who can punch is dangerous. Cotto can punch.”
To coincide with his calm demeanor and somewhat surprising lack of trash talk against his opponent, the confident pound-for-pound king remarked with the sort of brimming confidence for which he’s known.
"Last time I checked, all 42 [of my opponents] have been dangerous,” he stated with a smile before pausing. “But they all ended up in the same place.”
Still, as dangerous and strong as Cotto is, most expect Mayweather to not have to fight for his life inside the squared circle and don’t expect the fight to be very competitive the later it gets. Cotto is a strong fighter early in his fights but he’s shown a tendency to fade as the rounds wear on, making him much easier to hit. Stamina has never been an issue for “Money” and most boxing analysts feel that once Cotto starts to slow down, Mayweather will slam his foot on the gas pedal.
Mayweather worked out for well over an hour and did everything from a grueling multi-layered pads workout to slamming bombs into the heavy bag for at least fifteen minutes without a break. Never one to slack off in the gym, Mayweather’s mantra of “hard work/dedication” has been what’s made him so successful up to this point. To top his already mythical training regime, Mayweather has added a new wrinkle to staying fit: yoga.
He said that he does the yoga stretching for a good hour in smoldering heat, something he’s been considering for a few years.
"I have been in boxing for 16 years and I haven’t stretched at all,” he said. “I don’t stretch when I run. I’ve never stretched. But I feel great now and (I feel) stronger.”
On top of the new yoga routine that he’s added to his already impressive training arsenal, Mayweather boldly has stated that he’s never worked harder for any fight in his entire career. He’s admitted that though he hasn’t altered his style over the years, he said that he doesn’t think he moves around as much as he used to, which will lead to more entertaining, more explosive fights.
"I don’t think I have changed, maybe I don’t move as much,” he admitted. “I’m going much more toe-to-toe these days. I’m always looking to give the fans what they want to see. I’m always happy to go out there and put on a pleasing performance for the fans, the media, and the people that have been supporting me for years.”
That notion is accurate because after he cleared his head when Mosley badly rocked him in the second round of their fight, he stalked his opponent and forced the action as Mosley faded. He did the same with Marquez and most recently against Victor Ortiz. Mayweather expects to be as aggressive against Cotto but promises he won’t be careless or reckless. Instead, he’ll wait until his foe is beginning to wilt, something he knows when he sees it.
"The key to me winning is being in control like always, keeping my composure like always and never going out of character,” he said. “(However), I think I can look into a guy’s eyes and I can see the body language. I know when he’s a beaten fighter.”
Mayweather is a heavy favorite against Cotto (37-2, 30KOs) and he should have his hand raised at the fight’s conclusion. Mayweather insisted that he’s not thinking of a potential mega fight with Pacquiao should be victorious, nor is the pending 90-day jail sentence in June on his mind. He said he’s focusing solely on Cotto and nothing else. Everything, he hinted, will fall into place the way it ought to.
If Mayweather is victorious against Cotto on May 5 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, to world over will be clamoring for Pacquiao to topple the ultra tough Timothy Bradley in June to hopefully set up what is deemed the only fight that matters in the struggling sport. But first things first: Mayweather must vanquish Cotto and serve out his pending jail sentence. After that, the pieces will fall where they may.
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April 30, 2012