Boxing

Official ESB Countdown to Mayweather vs Cotto: A Look at Subplots and Caveats

By Vivek Wallace: When the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto was signed, perhaps the biggest backdrop looming above was the fact that Mayweather agreed to let it all take place at 154lbs. Being the bigger draw between the two, one would think that Mayweather would pull the strings and have Cotto play puppet, eager to land a big payday with an outside shot at doing something monumental. Hesitant to join his co-P4P compadre as a catchweight king of sorts, Mayweather decided to give one major advantage to the man who stands across from him.....or did he?

One train of thought tells us that Cotto is the Champion, therefore it was somewhat natural to have the two face-off at his given weight. The reality behind the move tells us there's probably a little more to this puzzle. Actually......quite a bit more to it. One of the popular, yet rarely spoken theories is that Cotto coming in heavier could actually work against him. At first glance, this theory doesn't hold a bucket of water, but a deeper analysis can flip that bucket rather quickly, causing an 80% chance of 'rain' on the proud Puerto Rican's parade come fight night. When we take a close look at Cotto's tenure as a jr. middleweight, certain things come at a high premium, (power); while others simply remain to be seen (speed and durable stamina).

Cotto has always had deceptive speed and somewhat questionable stamina, but as a jr. middleweight, spanning nearly a full two years now, how much have they truly been tested? Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga, and a very inactive and shop-worn Antonio Margarito represent a very marginal template of what this opponent (Mayweather) will have to offer.

When you look at it from this standpoint, you have to question, how truly prepared is Cotto? Pacquiao was the last fighter he faced with speed. Beyond that, Mosley and Judah was roughly 5 years ago. What has Cotto faced in recent times to prepare for what he's on the brink of facing? Moving up in weight allows him to eat a little more arroz con pollo and all the things Puerto Rican natives love.....but is that a good thing, or can it ultimately work against him? From 2008 to current, Cotto has faced Gomez, Margarito, Jennings, Clottey, Foreman, Pacquiao, Mayorga, and Margarito, again. That's an awfully stiff leg of competition....and that's not to say 'stiff' in a formidable way, either!

This group of fighters that he has faced recently (with the exception of Pacquiao) all seem to be heavy in the foot, and rather easy to hit as a result. Foreman was a little crafty, but even he, with his knee issues and unorthodox style wasn't a good look for the mobility that awaits.

The ability to enter the ring approximately between 163 and about 167 on fight night can undoubtedly work against Cotto when we think of the fact that he has yet to be tested in a speedy shootout as a 'big-boy'! Considering that size against a breezy 153lbs or so on a slick-fisted Mayweather, things get even more complex. By his own admission, the difference in the two Margarito fights was his ability to move and stay fresh late. Great in accomplishment it was, but when we revisit that night of the rematch, many remember Cotto taking a lot of shots late and had the fight not been stopped, it would have been awfully interesting to see how things could have ended. The general assumption was that his stamina was better, but staying off the ropes, better footwork, and less punishment could have been the perfect culprit to create such a facade.

Against a cat-like speedster who isn't always easy to hit, one really has to wonder how much the one thing said to be Cotto's benefit (higher weight) will work in his favor? One other subplot is the 8oz gloves. This could be an X-factor, nullifying Mayweather's speed and conditioning advantage. Flipside to this equation could mean that Cotto's quick-to-scar eyebrows could get slit sooner, as well. When we look at all the subplots and caveats in this affair it adds great interest to a fight that needs very little to do so. The journey begins in only 2 weeks. Next week is the final installment of the countdown, as the final week will be a prediction and analysis. Stay tuned.

(Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached at 954.292.7346, vivexemail@yahoo.com, Youtube (VivekWallace Boxing Channel), Twitter (VivekWallace747), Skype (Vito-Boxing), and FaceBook).

Article posted on 20.04.2012



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