Mayweather agrees to fight Cotto in May

By Francis Walker
Updated: February 6, 2012

NEW YORK, NY (BASN)–Once a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao didn’t materialize, Miguel Cotto suddenly became the most attractive fighter in all of boxing.

Following a highly-electric and emotional performance in a rematch against Antonio Margarito at Madison Square Garden last December, Cotto positioned himself for another big fight. Luckily for Cotto, he recently agreed to the biggest fight of his illustrious career.

Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs), making the third defense of the WBA junior middleweight championship, challenges ‘Money’ Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs), the undefeated WBC welterweight champion on Saturday, May 5, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The fight will be a catch-weight of 150 pounds.

“Miguel Cotto is a world class fighter who can never be taken for granted and continues to prove he is one of the best in boxing,” Mayweather said in a recent statement. “It will be a challenge for me to compete with him at this weight, but this is the type of test I thrive on and gives me the motivation to train even harder. I have no doubt in my mind that my title belt collection will increase once again and Cotto’s reign as champion will come to an end on May 5.”

Mayweather vs. Cotto is an intriguing fight. Mayweather will be competing in his 22nd world title fight. For Cotto it will be his 20th world title fight. It’s a big fight between two of the sport’s most popular and recognizable fighters.

While both have had storied careers with enormous success, Mayweather and Cotto have also had their share of disappointments outside the ring.

Mayweather has a strained relationship with his father, as the two have had a tumultuous relationship. Mayweather is also facing a 90-day jail sentence which begins in June.

Cotto is only three years removed from the loss of his father and suffered a nasty split with longtime trainer/uncle Evangelista Cotto shortly there after.

What makes both Mayweather and Cotto special fighters to watch inside the ring is the reality that they are both very talented and can compete at the highest level year-after-year. They understand who they are inside the ring and what is expected of them whenever they lace-up the gloves. People support them and they are never in a bad fight.

“I am here to fight the biggest names in boxing,” Cotto said. “I’ve never ducked anyone or any challenge in front of me. I have accepted everything to give the fans what they like…great and exciting fights. That is what the sport of boxing is all about; making the fights that the fans want and deserve to see. On May 5, stay tuned, because I will convincingly beat Floyd Mayweather.”

Cotto’s fights are more exciting than a Mayweather fight because of the nature of Cotto’s hard-pressure style. Mayweather is more a smooth boxer that’s hard to hit at times and likes to carefully pick his shots. Mayweather turns a boxing match into a chess match, but can ‘turn it on’ at any moment. Mayweather likes to hit and not get hit – an attribute to his defensive genius – but sometimes creates a lack of excitement.

A huge difference between Mayweather and Cotto is the fact that Mayweather is still undefeated after more than 40 professional fights. Floyd fights once per year now and hasn’t given any indication that’s slowing down.

Cotto has only two losses – both by knockout, although many people refuse to count the loss to Margarito in their first fight because of Margarito’s alleged use of loaded gloves.

We’ve seen Miguel Cotto rise from the canvas to win some pretty intense battles (Ricardo Torres, DeMarcus Corley) through the years. We’ve also seen Miguel distribute some serious punishment (Paulie Malignaggi, Joshua Clottey, Alfonso Gomez, Carlos Quintana, Randall Bailey, Zab Judah, Yuri Foreman).

We’ve seen Miguel absorb punishment too, namely against Manny Pacquiao. That fight was highly competitive for Cotto until after the fourth round. Once Miguel tasted the canvas for the second time, it appeared as though that took all the will and ambition to win away. Cotto simply allowed Pacquaio to do too much and get settled into the fight. Cotto should have kept Pac-Man trapped against the ropes and unload with ripping combinations to his body. Cotto showed durability by lasting into the twelfth, but was overpowered.

Following the loss to Pacquiao, Cotto did the next best thing. He moved up in weight from 147 to compete at 154. He won a world title, defended it a couple of times, and avenged his first defeat as a professional fighter.

The best should always fight the best and Cotto is still amongst the very best in boxing. As good as Cotto is (and believe me, he is good for boxing), Mayweather is still the best fighter in boxing between 154 and 147 pounds.

Through out his entire career, Mayweather has found ways to shutdown fighters of various styles and athletic ability. Mayweather has beaten admirable public figures and world champions: Oscar De La Hoya, Genaro Hernandez, Diego Corrales, Arturo Gatti, Ricky Hatton, Zab Judah, and Shane Mosley to name a few.

In his recent bout last September, Mayweather, 34, having been absent from boxing for more than 16 months, challenged Victor Ortiz, a bigger fighter who was 10 years younger. Mayweather knocked out Ortiz in the fourth round to reclaim the WBC welterweight championship – a title belt he never lost.

Mayweather is a puzzle that many fighters, regardless of their credentials, can’t seem to solve. Do you really believe that Miguel Cotto, 31, Puerto Rico, who has been through a number of wars and cuts easily now than ever before, can solve the puzzle that is Floyd Mayweather?

What is it about Cotto’s style that gives observers the illusion that he has the timing, speed, and combinations to outwork Mayweather through twelve rounds?

Cotto is great, but Mayweather is naturally the better fighter of the two.

Mayweather’s punches are straighter, sharper, and quicker. Mayweather has the faster hands, the better combinations, and the better defense. Cotto is tough and durable, but he also has too many holes in his game.

The hope of a Cotto victory against Mayweather is called wishful thinking. There are a lot of realists that agree that Mayweather will defeat Cotto in May.

Wouldn’t be interesting if Cotto were to… beat Mayweather? That would be a sight worth Pay-Per-View. Don’t you agree?