Cotto handles Mosley – will Mayweather step up?

12.11.07 - By Evan Young, Miguel Cotto won a close, but clear, unanimous decision over Shane Mosley on Saturday night at the famed Madison Square Garden, New York, New York. Both men were in great condition and ready to battle. Many of the rounds were close but Cotto seemed to be landing the heavier and cleaner shots. Through the first six rounds Cotto marched forward behind an educated left jab and a diversity of head and body shots..

miguel cottoMosley tried to hold his ground and stay even with Cotto but he wasn’t able to. But Mosley fought hard and had some moments in those early rounds, too. But it appeared that Cotto was going to be able to overwhelm Mosley and pound him into submission as the fight carried on. But to Mosley’s credit he stayed afloat. He began to use lots of movement in round 7 and took the round.

But Cotto figured out that style in round 8 and pounded Mosley again. Strangely, in the ninth round Cotto gave ground and appeared to be suffering from some discomfort. The HBO crew picked up that Cotto may have been struggling with a cut inside his mouth in which he was swallowing blood. But Cotto, who seems to be vastly underrated in boxing ability and speed, fought very well backing up. He made Mosley miss and then he would pounce with accurate, hard shots. In the last three rounds of the fight Cotto would continue to box more and come forward less. But he had very good success with that strategy. In my view, Cotto won 2 of the last 4 rounds and since he was leading the fight, it was enough to get the win. It was an excellent fight between top practitioners that put it all on the line and fought a spirited fight.

I do think Cotto was troubled by something which caused him to shift gears. The good news is that he showed that he is more than a one dimensional destroyer. And Cotto didn’t beat a tired and diminished Mosley. Mosley may be 36 but he was in tremendous condition. And in my view, this was the strongest Mosley we have ever seen as a welterweight. He may not have been better than he was when he beat de la Hoya in their great first fight in 2000 but has never been this strong at 147. In my opinion Mosley did whatever it took to get in the great shape he was in on fight night. (Read between the lines.) If you compare his muscle density in this fight to his last match in February of this year against Luis Collazo the difference is startling. Still, whatever Mosley did to prepare himself it wasn’t enough to beat Cotto.

I picked Cotto to win this fight and thought he would do it by knockout. I still think Cotto would have forced him out if he wasn’t in such distress late in the fight. The question is where these fighters go from here. Mosley showed that if he desires he can still play with the big boys in the division. The problem for him is that with his solid effort but a loss, he may be side stepped by some of the other elite in the division for the simple reason is that he is too big a risk for too little of a return.

Cotto’s future is very bright in a deep welterweight division. (In the division there is a great combination of solid contenders, elite champions and good and great prospects.) He is a great draw and money maker and is perceived by a large minority as the man to beat to prove preeminence in the division. Floyd Mayweather will tell you that he is the real world champion and everyone else is a pretender, and many do believe that. But most knowledgeable boxing people understand that he can’t claim to be the best unless he beats the best - and that person is Miguel Cotto. (Or at the very least Mayweather should fight other top guys like Margarito, Mosley, Williams, Cintron et al.) But I don’t think Mayweather will fight him – or them. He is much too smart for that. He will look for the biggest money fights with the least amount of risk. He faces Ricky Hatton in December for big money but Hatton is really a natural 140 pounder.

And Mayweather would welcome a rematch with cash cow Oscar de la Hoya which would ensure many future generations of Mayweather’s of a life without work If Cotto doesn’t get Mayweather, and it says here he won’t, he could end up fighting rugged Antonio Margarito, Paul Williams or Kermit Cintron in the near future. All these match-ups would be excellent and compelling fights. And if Mosley desires to continue, I’d like to see how he would fare with some of the other big guns of the division. But I’m not sure he’ll get those fights. And I certainly don’t think Mayweather would fight him either - too risky and not enough reward.

Article posted on 13.11.2007

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