Cotto vs. Mayweather: I can't wait to see Miguel knock the smug smile off Floyd's face

By Peter de Lange: My first reaction was "they got it wrong again" when I heard that Miguel Cotto would be Floyd Mayweather's next opponent. Everybody knows that the biggest fight out there is Mayweather against manny Pacquiao and the powers that be in the world of boxing failed to put it together again. I figured that this is why boxing is no longer a mainstream sport and is losing ground to the growing industry of MMA/UFC, if you can't make the show that everybody wants to see then why should anybody care?

My second reaction however was that of a fan and more specifically a fan of Miguel Cotto. The man is a consummate professional and is rated highly among the pound for pound best in boxing, he has an exciting style and has never ducked anybody; in short he is one of my favorite fighters to watch. Not only does he deserve the fight and the money that comes with it, Cotto has a legitimate chance of finally being the first to shut Floyd's big mouth and I can't wait to see it!

In analyzing the fight it's easy to look at it as a mismatch with Mayweather having been at or near the top of the sport for the past 10 years while Cotto has had a more turbulent time. Floyd is undefeated and has rarely been tested or even lost a round while Miguel has two KO losses and has had a couple of unimpressive wins to go with them.

There are other factors that I look at however. Firstly I look at Cotto's first loss, suffered at the plaster loaded hands of Antonio Margarito. Cotto was undefeated at that time and was winning a tough fight against a very tough Mexican warrior before Margarito's loaded gloves took their toll and eventually lead to a stoppage as Cotto's face had become a swollen bloody mess. I firmly believe that had Margarito not cheated Cotto would have won; but not only that, he would have done far better in his subsequent fights. There is little doubt in my mind that there was lingering damage from such a brutal beating as he didn't seem to take punches as well and looked gun shy, particularly against Pacquiao who also knocked him out. Cotto seems now to be rested and physically and psychologically recovered from that beating which he has now savagely avenged with a dominant and likely career ending stoppage victory of Margarito. In other words Mayweather is likely going to be facing a fighter who appears more like the fearsome, hungry and confident fighter he was before the Margarito fight rather than the fragile uncertain fighter he looked like after.

The other factors are the age of the fighters and the weight they are fighting at. Mayweather is now 35 which is an age where many fighters, especially those who rely mostly on speed and reflexes, have not only started to decline but have declined. He has barely fought in the last few years and resorted to a sucker punch to finish Victor Ortiz in his last fight just as it seemed Ortiz was starting to come on and give him a tough time. Cotto is 31 which is generally considered to be in the prime years for a fighter.

Then there is the weight class they are fighting at, the fight will be contested at 154 lbs for Cotto's title belt. Floyd is moving up to this weight for only the second time and in his first he was given a tough fight by a clearly past his prime Oscar De La Hoya. Miguel is the naturally bigger man and will have the strength and power advantages over the smaller Mayweather.

It will be a very difficult fight for both men but after getting over my initial disappointment in not getting to see Mayweather vs Pacquiao I am extremely excited about this fight. Mayweather will have to be at his best to defeat Cotto as many of the "experts" believe he will. I don't think he'll be at his best and can't wait to see Miguel knock his smug smile off his face and become the first man to knock out "Money" Mayweather!

Article posted on 04.02.2012

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