By Alex Luces: While their legacies may never be finalized by fighting each other, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have decided to keep moving along their respective careers. “Money Mayweather” has stayed true to his name and advanced toward a fight with Miguel Cotto, the second highest-grossing pay-per-view star not named Pacquiao.
Though Cotto has always been an aggressive fighter in the ring, he has always remained a gentleman outside of it, promotional banter notwithstanding. Mayweather, on the other hand, has always had a flair for showmanship and bravado that even some pro wrestlers would deem outrageous. From his public feuds with his father to his constant flashing of his wealth, Mayweather is never at a loss for words and posture. He continued this display on HBO’s Face Off, repeatedly talking during Cotto’s interview to check on one of his many sporting bets. Cotto, to his credit, remained stoic and even jovial. Some fans hate Mayweather for his Money image. Others gravitate toward his confidence. Either way, it has always worked for Mayweather.
Mayweather has already conquered this summit before. It was almost five years ago that he trekked north of the welterweight division to the junior middleweight division. Maybe his journey there told him it was not that easy.
Maybe it was a still-ready-for-prime-time Oscar De La Hoya that convinced Mayweather to go back down to his weight class. Or maybe it was the lack of serious paydays. Either way, in 2012, Mayweather has decided to make a trek back to the 154 lb. mountain. However, his journey to the summit this time will be met by a new force.
That force is Miguel Cotto, a warrior who, even in defeat, has never been an easy journey for any fighter. However, Cotto’s aggression will be meaningless if it does not consistently test Mayweather second after second, minute after minute, round after round. Opponent’s fists finding Mayweather’s chin has been akin to radar pin-pointing a stealth bomber’s trajectory. So, how does Cotto plan on beating Mayweather when they meet on May 5 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas?
“We’re going to figure it out in our training camp,” Cotto told Max Kellerman when asked how he would defeat Mayweather.
The problem with Cotto’s statement is that it came off as dubious rather than definite. There have been 42 opponents who have tried and failed. Well, 41 if Jose Luis Castillo has any argument with regards to their first fight. The formula to beat Cotto (37-2) has been shown already by strong punchers late in the fight of a war. He is not an easy win but he has looked vulnerable even before his first loss to Antonio Margarito, now in question following the illegal hand-wrapping incident. DeMarcus “Chop-Chop” Corley, back when he was still a top contender, came close to stopping Cotto in Cotto’s hometown of Puerto Rico before suffering what some called a quick stoppage by the referee.
Mayweather, for the most part, has always used his defensive prowess to always have a comfortable lead in nearly all of his fights. Cotto cannot begin to match Mayweather’s speed, reflexes, and boxing acumen. If there is still another great fight left in Cotto, he will have to turn back the clock and fight in his old style of moving forward, cutting off the ring, going to the body, and throwing every punch with mean intentions. The problem is that lately Cotto has seemed to slow down in the later rounds when facing elite fighters. And while Mayweather is as elite as they come, he is not the concussive kayo puncher that Pacquiao, Corley, Ricardo Torres, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah and *Margarito were to Cotto. (*Plaster of Paris?)
The smart money says that Mayweather will bob, weave, dip, slip, slash and dash his way to a close but well deserved unanimous decision over the shop worn Cotto. The funny money says that Cotto, newly invigorated after exorcising the demon that was Margarito, will be able to rise to an occasion higher than any mountain and pull an enormous upset over the undefeated Mayweather.
April 10, 2010