Undefeated Mayweather unanimously wins most grueling fight of his career
By Mike Sloan ringside in Las Vegas: Miguel Cotto promised to bring the fight to Floyd Mayweather, make him work harder than he’s ever had to in his career, and become the first person to topple one of the greatest boxers the sport has ever seen. Cotto got two of those right.
Cotto had Mayweather in precarious positions throughout their twelve round affair and landed more punches onto the undefeated fighter than arguably anybody in history. Still, with all the Puerto Rican star brought to the fight and with as many power punches he dug to Mayweather’s body and glanced off his head, with as many stiff left jabs he stuck in his face, it still wasn’t enough to secure the victory.
“Money” was on point throughout, his patented shoulder roll a thing of beauty from start to finish. Cotto’s attacks were relentless and on dozens of occasions he had the loquacious pugilist trapped either against the ropes or in the corner. Unfortunately for the determined Cotto, he couldn’t keep him there for long and he wasn’t able to really land many effective punches. If Mayweather wasn’t rolling away or dipping to the side, he was raking sneaky uppercuts through the guard or loopy overhand rights over the top.
Cotto never stopped trying, though; he fought like hell and tried everything in his arsenal to destroy Mayweather’s unblemished professional ledger. He dug vicious left hooks to the body when he could and his left jab, when he threw it, landed cleanly. However, Mayweather’s deft footwork and nearly impregnable defensive posture made it virtually impossible for Cotto to mount any sort of sustained attack.
“This is pay-per-view and Floyd Mayweather gives the fans what they want,” a jubilant yet relived Mayweather said afterward. “Miguel Cotto is a true champion and he is a tough, tough fighter. He is strong, but I adjusted and did what I do best.
“He is a future Hall of Famer,” he added. “He’s a tough competitor, what else can I say? He came to fight. He didn’t come to survive; he came to fight… He’s the best I’ve ever fought and this was my hardest fight. He’s a true champion.”
Many so-called experts figured Cotto would be competitive early but fade late in the fight, making for easy pickings against the best fighter in the world. Cotto never tired out when he was expected to and continued to plug away with a poised, controlled assault. Even when things became hairy, Cotto simply regrouped and then restarted his charge.
There were a few occasions when Mayweather had to rethink his strategy and adjust his offensive gameplan; early on he began throwing a loopy, slashing right hand and late in the fight he unfurled his wicked counter uppercut. A stiff left jab from Mayweather surfaced repeatedly in the championship rounds as well.
Still, Cotto kept coming.
When the twelfth round began, it was obvious that Cotto needed a knockout to win the battle. The Caguas native was aggressive per the norm and mustered an attack that might have felled a lesser man. But Cotto made one mistake by dipping his head to the right and that’s when the Las Vegas-based Grand Rapids native detonated that left uppercut on his jaw with a minute left.
Cotto buckled and almost crumbled but he somehow was able to stay afloat. He was hurt badly and backed away; Mayweather inexplicably backed away when his foe was there for the taking. Cotto eventually recovered but Mayweather was picking him apart from the outside. Cotto’s final attempts at a miracle fell short and it was clear as to who was the better man inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Though it was easily the most grueling, physical fight Mayweather has ever been involved in as a pro, he still won the fight in lopsided fashion according to the official scorecards. Two of the ringside judges favored him via tallies of 117-111 while the third had it 118-110. SecondsOut.com saw it a bit closer at 116-112 for Mayweather, who bolstered his record to 43-0 with 26 KOs. For his game efforts, Cotto, who was unavailable immediately following the fight, fell to 37-3 with 30 KOs.
When the dust settled inside the ring, the attention quickly turned to Mayweather’s future, both inside the ring and inside a Clark County jail cell, where the unbeaten champion has to serve a 90-day sentence in June for domestic violence charges.
“That comes with the territory,” he said about his life outside the ring.”It’s a basis of life and I have to do what I have to do. It comes with the territory. All I can do is accept it like a real man, like the true champion I am and get through it.”
Since he’s only going to be out of the public eye for three months maximum, even more attention shifted towards his next fight inside the squared circle. The entire boxing world covets a showdown with fellow pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, though the mega fight has yet to materialize.
“This fight (with Cotto) was supposed to be against Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather declared. “Miguel Cotto is the last of the Mohicans and he’s a true warrior. That fight (with Pacquiao) didn’t happen because Bob Arum is holding that fight back. Let’s give the people what they want and that is Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao.
“I’ve been trying to make the Manny Pacquiao fight,” he continued with HBO’s Larry Merchant. “Miguel Cotto had no problem taking the Olympic drug testing, so why shouldn’t he? If you’re the best, take the test.”
The world now awaits the result of next month’s matchup between Pacquiao and the extremely puzzling and dangerous Timothy Bradley. Should Pacquiao prevail, and considering how adamant Mayweather was after his victory tonight, the boxing world might finally have its dream come true.
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