SecondsOut breaks down the matchup and figures out who will win
By:Mike Sloan in Las Vegas: Saturday night is going to be one heck of a night in terms of fan interest and money generated for the sport of boxing. The MGM Grand Garden Arena will be overflowing with fans from across the globe to watch arguably the greatest boxer of his generation taking on easily one of the toughest opponents he’s ever faced. Though Floyd Mayweather is a 6-1 betting favorite at the time of this writing, Miguel Cotto poses a big enough threat to not only make the fight interesting, he could pull off the upset.
Mayweather has been cordial to Cotto (37-2, 30KOs) throughout the entire press junket leading up to the battle, straying from his typical pre-fight banter of trash talking and taunting. Cotto, per the norm, has been laid back and saying very little. The media has been largely clamoring for some sort of angle to hype this fight up more than just two great fighters squaring off, but since there is no real animosity or ill feelings between the two, the angle has been skewed more towards whether the Puerto Rican superstar can give Mayweather the toughest fight of his life and score the win.
The obvious pick in this fight is for Mayweather (42-0, 26KOs) to win, but don’t be so fast in just assuming the unbeaten American will have his hand raised when the dust settles. Cotto is a very strong, dangerous underdog who is fully capable of proving the experts wrong. But the question is will he? SecondsOut.com knows exactly what will happen and knows who will win on Saturday night. If you want to know the result of the fight before it even starts, read on:
Punching power: Cotto has a much higher knockout ratio on his ledger but he’s never been known as a huge puncher like fellow countryman Felix Trinidad. He tends to break his opponents down with a vicious body assault and well-timed counter punches. On the flip side, Mayweather has been labeled a light-hitting slickster but the fact of the matter is that Floyd can crack. He can crack hard. Just ask Sharmba Mitchell and Ricky Hatton. Still, the knockouts he’s collected and the multiple knockdowns he’s scored have usually come from his blinding speed and punches his foes never saw coming. They’re both strong fighters for their size, but Cotto is a bit stronger. Looking at their resumes and considering how much damage Cotto typically inflicts onto his opponents, the edge can only go to one dude. Advantage: Cotto
Speed: Cotto has always been a deceptively fast puncher. He throws his punches at beautifully short angles and they are accurate. He looks slower than most of his opponents, but that’s because he tends to slide across the ring and throws harder punches, which aren’t nearly as fast as simple contact punches. He’s very quick with his shots mostly because of where his punches land and when he throws them. Mayweather on the other hand is on another level in terms of speed. The best guys he’s faced couldn’t cope with his speed and he trounces everyone he takes on. Juan Manuel Marquez arguably beat the speedy Manny Pacquiao three times but he was dumbfounded against Mayweather. The same can be said about everybody Floyd has faced. His speed is no joke and any expert would be hard-pressed to find a fighter alive today who has faster hands and, more importantly, more accurate hands. Advantage: Mayweather
Size: Cotto has been at or near this weight for a long time but he’s a shorter by an inch and is at a five-inch reach disadvantage. Size never means anywhere near as much as most “experts” claim it does, so this category is usually always a wash. Cotto does appear to be the more physically stronger of the two, but there really is no true advantage here, especially since Cotto has always been somewhat small for welterweight/junior middleweight. Advantage: Push
Age factor: Mayweather is 35, which seems much older than he really is. Cotto is 31, but after the amount of wars he’s been in and with some of the savage beatings he’s taken in victory and defeat, he just seems much older. His face is much more war-torn than Mayweather’s and his body is much more punished. Mayweather is hardly ever hit in any of his fights, though he has been rocked a few times. Cotto has been knocked out twice and hurt in several other fights. Though Mayweather is four years older, the younger Cotto is a much older boxer. Advantage: Mayweather
Chin: Mayweather was stumbling around the ring and impersonating James Brown when Shane Mosley cracked him. DeMarcus Corley also wobbled him and ZabJudah should have been given credit for a flash knockdown when they fought. That’s about it. Mayweather never finds himself in danger and a clean, hard punch that lands on his jaw is about as rare as a gorgeous woman who cooks and cleans. Cotto has been stopped twice and many of his opponents have badly hurt him. Cotto has been dropped many times throughout his career. No one can ever question his toughness, but it’s obvious that Cotto’s chin is questionable. Mayweather might actually have a worse chin but nobody knows for sure because he’s so dang hard to hit. Defense coincides with chin, so this one is simple. Advantage: Mayweather
Experience: This one is actually a dead heat. Mayweather has been at the top of his game for a decade and has fought so many great opponents over the years. The knock against him, though, is that he hasn’t consistently fought the absolute best in the world. Cotto has. In fact, Cotto has locked horns with a sturdier field of opposition and has never been accused of ducking anybody. However, Mayweather’s fights are much bigger events with many more eyes glued to his fights. Cotto’s slightly stronger resume is nullified by Floyd’s experience in the biggest events. Advantage: Push
Intangibles: Mayweather never wants to lose, ever. He’s a shrewd businessman who believes a loss could negatively impact the massive paydays he’s grown accustomed to. He knows a loss to the somewhat damaged Cotto could potentially cripple the dream fight with Manny Pacquiao or even a huge battle with Canelo Alvarez. However, if he ever suffers from anxiety due to the pressure he should be under, nobody can tell because he’s so confident and shows zero signs of anything of the sort. Cotto has already lost but he’s got a newfound lease on his career. He badly wants to avenge the loss to Pacquiao and if he topples Mayweather, he could get that shot. Cotto is also expected to lose so their shouldn’t be a whole lot of pressure on him, other than proving to himself that he can pull it off. Also, Cotto tends to fade late in fights and he’s not exactly a ghost in terms of being hit. One can argue that Cotto has grown fond of taking punches on the face where Mayweather’s defense and counter-punching ability are second to none. Mayweather doesn’t seem to even know the term “tired” when in a fight so he’ll be strong until the end. Cotto typically isn’t. Advantage: Mayweather.
The bottom line: Cotto is usually a strong starter and does quite a bit of his damage in the first quarter or half of the fight. After that, his punches widen and he tends to pull his chin up when throwing combos, especially late in the fight. Floyd is on point from start to finish and this fight will be no different. Mayweather will start out slowly, per the norm, allowing Cotto to be confident and in the fight. Cotto won’t be as aggressive as usual because of Mayweather’s tricky defense but he’ll do well enough to nab a round or two early on in the eyes of the judges. However, Mayweather will figure out Cotto’s approach by the later portion of the third round and start to open up. He’ll allow Cotto to continue to fight the way he had been, but Mayweather’s offense will unfold. Floyd will start countering with perfectly-timed shots. Cotto won’t enjoy it one bit and will start to rethink his attacks, causing Mayweather to become more aggressive and land even more shots. They will exchange punches in the sixth round, but Mayweather will pop his foe with a perfect right hand, dropping the Puerto Rican. Cotto will get up and continue on like he normally does. Mayweather will continue to pick his shots but it’ll be he who does the pressing. The undefeated fighter’s attacks and near inhuman speed will be too much for Cotto, who will lose every exchange and become more battered as the fight wears on. Finally, in the tenth round, Cotto will get a bit desperate and walk into a perfect right/left that will floor him again. He’ll beat the count, but he won’t last the round. Floyd will pounce on the wounded warrior and bomb away on him until the fight is stopped. After the amazing performance against a top level fighter, most media and fans in the chat rooms will complain that Mayweather only fought Cotto because he was shot and then collectively pray that Pacquiao topples Timothy Bradley next month to set up the one fight that has to happen. Bank on it.
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