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01 AUGUST 2014

 

Mayweather vs. Cotto - A Simple Game of Genius




By Tom Gray

 

“I’m better than Muhammad Ali and I’m better than Sugar Ray Robinson. For me to give my life to this sport and say someone is better than me – is crazy”


Floyd Mayweather

 

Undefeated in forty two starts, winner of seven world titles across five divisions and a heavy favourite to annex his eighth on May 5th, Floyd Mayweather is a boxing savant for the millennium.

 

In the ring, Mayweather approaches each mission like a bomb disposal expert and he’s had his fair share of dangerous assignments. The experience of Genaro Hernandez, the pressure of Jose Luis Castillo, the height of Diego Corrales, the balls of Arturo Gatti, the relentlessness of Ricky Hatton and the reputation of Oscar De La Hoya. All were defused before they had the chance to blow up in Mayweather’s face.

 

In the lead up to a fight the Grand Rapids star is beyond conspicuous, colorfully splashing himself over national press conferences and HBO’s Emmy award winning 24/7 series. It’s on fight night where opponents are left wishing that Mayweather was easy to find as they punch holes through thin air and impale their faces upon laser like counters.

 

Below is a quote from Compubox Online which provides an analysis on Mayweather’s unique capabilities;

 

“Floyd’s connect pct. has remained at or near 50% (20% higher than CompuBox overall avg.) as he’s moved up in weight. It’s his defense that’s improved dramatically. His welterweight opponents landed just 15% of their total punches- 18% lower than the weight class average, giving Floyd a plus/minus rating of +31- best among ALL rated active fighters.


Plus/minus rating determined by subtracting opponent’s connect pct. from Mayweather’s overall connect pct., which includes jab connect pct. & power punch connect pct.”


Willy Pep, Wilfred Benitez and Pernell Whitaker – eat your heart out.

 

Miguel Cotto 37-2 (30KO’s) is a three weight world title holder, the reigning WBA Junior Middleweight Champion and one of the finest fighters on the planet. The 31 year old is coming off a tenth round technical knockout victory of Antonio Margarito and his confidence is sky high. Poker faced, this gentlemanly Puerto Rican brings a country full of passion and state of the art weaponry to an intriguing clash with Mayweather but will it be enough?


In his favor, Cotto possesses a four year age advantage and, once hydrated, could be ten or twelve pound heavier than his opponent when the first bell rings.  The classy champion also has a terrific left jab, a shot which has been known to trouble Floyd, and he uses it to set up dynamic combination work to head and body.  Quick and versatile, Cotto could be compared to a significantly larger version of Juan Manuel Marquez, who was dwarfed by Mayweather in a 2009 mismatch but on this occasion - will size matter for Cotto?

 

It doesn’t look like it!

 

Mayweather, at 5ft 8in, has a one inch height advantage and incredibly, taking into account his smaller stature, a functional five inch reach advantage (72in to 67in).  Now, considering the multi weight world champion operates with split second radar this huge disparity in wingspan simply gives him extra time and distance, and that could spell doom for Cotto.

 

One could point to Mayweather’s lack of ring activity (an average of one bout per year, since 2007) but he has been shucking off the rust effortlessly and has looked dazzling in recent fights.  It has also been said that the first thing a fighter loses is his legs but the future Hall of Famer’s athleticism, at 35 years of age, remains undimmed.  He finds angles and empty spots with almost psychic anticipation and the frustration mounts for all before him.

 

The fight has been dubbed “Ring Kings”, a moniker that suits the event perfectly but we must analyze the breadth of each fighter’s domain.  Cotto is King of the Junior Middleweights, while Mayweather is still the Undisputed King of Boxing.

 

Follow Tom Gray on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/tgraysecondsout



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