Arum Tries To Goad Mayweather Into A Cotto Fight

floyd mayweather jr.By Mattew Hurley: As Miguel Cotto sat ringside for Floyd Mayweather’s dismantling of Ricky Hatton this past Saturday night, behind his familiar stone-faced glare the reigning World Boxing Association welterweight champion was hoping for a ‘Pretty Boy’ victory. Cotto, coming off a victory over Shane Mosley, is fast becoming one of the new superstars in the sport, but the one road to a mega pay day leads to Mayweather. Despite Floyd’s impressive showing, Cotto doesn’t think the pound-for-pound best in boxing will accept his challenge.

“If you ask Floyd to fight with me, he always has an excuse,” Cotto said after the fight. “(Either) I’m not attracting enough fans, (or) I don’t represent too much money. He’s not correct, though. He knows who Miguel Cotto is.”

Cotto’s remarks came on the heels of a diatribe from his promoter and Mayweather’s former promoter Bob Arum. Arum, who has an axe to grind with Mayweather, is never at a loss for negative spin when it comes to the ‘Pretty Boy’. Before the Hatton – Mayweather showdown Arum held court at the MGM Grand denouncing Floyd’s recent choice of opponents and his proclamation of being not only the best fighter of his day, but of all time. In between lecture points the promoter was quick to drop the name of his charge Miguel Cotto into the mix. After Mayweather defeated Hatton by 10th round knockout Arum held court again.

“If he thinks he has a chance to lose, he won’t take the fight,” Arum said, as quoted in the Los Angeles Times. “He’s afraid to lose, and that’s a horrible, horrible thing. Anyone who’s not realizing that’s what’s happening with Floyd is moronic.”

The ‘moronic’ standing of Floyd’s supporters notwithstanding, Arum does have a point. In Floyd’s last two bouts, in which he made more money than the fighter could possibly throw in ecstasy at a camera, he has taken on a past his prime, part time fighter in Oscar De La Hoya and a natural junior welterweight in Ricky Hatton. Floyd’s critics will also point out that his resume in the recent past is also littered with lesser opponents such as Arturo Gatti, Sharmba Mitchell and Carlos Baldomir. Where are the Antonio Margaritos, Miguel Cottos or Paul Williams, they ask?

Yet those very critics never seem to point that accusatory finger at the very fighters they assume have the best chance of beating Floyd. If Oscar was over the hill than how exactly do you describe Cotto’s last opponent Shane Mosely who is Oscar’s contemporary? And last I looked my final scorecard only had the WBA champion up by two points over ‘Sugar’ Shane. Margarito, whose fans have been clamoring for years that he was the most ducked welterweight in the division, lost his WBO championship to physical freak Paul Williams and is currently without a title belt. The only other well known name on his ledger since 2001 is current IBF champion Kermit Cintron whom he knocked out in the fifth round in 2005. Cintron looked ordinary to the point of fragile in his last bout against Jesse Feliciano in November. Meanwhile Williams, a talented boxer who is getting better with every fight, has not yet established his name to the point where a major attraction like Floyd will step down from the pedestal he stands upon now to fight him after performing on the grand stage against De La Hoya and Hatton. He is scheduled to defend his title on February 2nd against Carlos Quintana. Still all of these fighters are good, worthy challengers but only a match with Cotto could truly energize the boxing world to the fevered pitch of Mayweather’s last two bouts. Hence, Arum’s goading drumbeat for the fight. It would indeed be huge and would blow the roof off of Madison Square Garden.

But in the end all the cards are in Mayweather’s hands. He has yet again threatened retirement. “Just to be the face of boxing is a blessing,” he told the media at the post fight press conference. “But I have to walk away. I was once told never to let boxing retire you.”

Mayweather then smiled and added that if Golden Boy Promotions were to put a significant sum of cash on the table for a future fight it may be too much for him to ignore. He is “Money” Mayweather after all.

Article posted on 12.12.2007

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