Boxing: Mayweather vs. Cotto - Value for ‘Money’?
By Martin ‘The Brain’ Potter of the One More Round podcast - On Saturday May 5th the world’s best pure boxer and pugilism’s premier money making machine – Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather (42-0) - steps through the ropes once more for his annual appearance; this time against Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto (37-2). Like a fistic Father Christmas, Mayweather only appears but once a year, although instead of giving people what they want and fulfilling the wishes of millions boxing fans by fighting a certain Filipino, Floyd picks who he fights and the opponents he chooses are usually a gift to no-one but himself.
Article posted on 23.04.2012
On this occasion, although it is once again NOT Manny Pacquiao in the opposite corner, Mayweather does deserve some credit as he faces arguably his toughest test in a number of years in the resurgent form of Cotto. But is it likely to be a close fight?
There are some reasons to believe Cotto could make things trickier for Floyd then many seem to think...
Firstly, the fight takes place at the light middleweight limit of 154 pounds and it is Cotto who holds both the belt and the experience advantage in this division, having in fought there in his previous three bouts, compared to Floyd’s solitary appearance against an ageing De LaHoya back in 2007. Despite this however, it is actually Mayweather who holds advantages in both height and reach over Cotto, which could well negate the Puerto Rican’s extra experience at the weight. So if size won’t help Cotto, what else is there in his armoury that might trouble Mayweather?
Perhaps Cotto’s defeats might fool Mayweather into thinking his opponent is an easy mark and arguments can be made that both of Miguel’s reverses were spurious. In his first defeat as a professional Cotto was both outboxing and outfoxing the relentless Antonio Margarito; for the first six rounds of the bout it was an almost flawless performance. Yet as the fight wore on, Mexican Margarito started to land with more frequency and left Cotto’s face a bloody, swollen mess; Cotto was stopped late on. However as we all know, in his next fight Margarito was found to have a foreign substance in his hand wraps and to this day suspicion remains as to whether he used the same ‘substance’ in his victory over Cotto – a suspicion that only heightened when Miguel bested him in the rematch.
In addition to the controversial nature of the Margarito defeat, Cotto was stopped by the lightening quick hands of Filipino threshing machine Manny Pacquiao. But yet again, Cotto can point to the fact that Manny made him fight at a draining 144 pounds – a whole ten pounds lighter than what he will weigh against Floyd. For the first few rounds of his fight with Pacquiao, Cotto was doing well before being eventually overcome by Manny’s speed and power; although it could be argued that the arduous weight loss played a part in his downfall as much as Pacquiao’s ability.
As both of Cotto’s defeats can be questioned, do they really tell us how Floyd can beat him? Floyd Mayweather will not be wearing loaded gloves and Miguel Cotto will not be weight drained, so perhaps they don’t tell us a great deal. Perhaps they don’t, however...
... Floyd Mayweather is a more accurate and economical puncher that either Margarito or Pacquiao and he takes fewer shots in return. Although it is debatable as to whether Floyd is quicker than Manny, the difference is negligible and Cotto, as he did against Pacquiao, will struggle to cope with the speed. Of course the way in which a fighter can combat speed is with timing – something that Miguel Cotto certainly has – yet Floyd’s timing is even greater. Mayweather is a natural counter-puncher, whilst Cotto is more aggressive and this means it will be hard for Cotto to time Floyd’s attacks, which will primarily be thrown in response to Cotto’s own. Floyd is also a cautious fighter and when he does counter Cotto, the shots will be pot shot singles or fast ones-twos before he gets back behind his high shouldered defence.
Whilst Pacquiao showed us that Cotto can be hurt with speed, Margarito showed us – whether legitimately or otherwise – that Cotto can have his will broken. In his first fight with Margarito, the fact that Cotto seemingly couldn’t hurt the Mexican (despite outboxing him early), alongside the blows he was receiving, seemed to dishearten him and this is something I expect to see again against Floyd (although it will be the fact he can’t hit Floyd, as opposed to the fact he can’t hurt him).
I predict that for the first four rounds Miguel Cotto – still full of confidence following the revenge win over Margarito – will put everything on the line and run Mayweather close. However after that, once Floyd has worked him out, I can see more and more fast counters landing and Cotto simply struggling to cope. Although ruthless in his last victory over Ortiz, Mayweather rarely risks over committing and therefore the smart money would be on a decisive points win once again for Floyd Mayweather.
Whilst I commend Floyd for meeting his toughest opponent for some time and look forward to the fight (and the same applies to his nemesis Manny Pacquiao when he meets Tim Bradley), the fact is that boxing fans are still being forced to settle for second best. Maybe some see Floyd vs. Cotto and Pacquiao vs. Bradley as ‘value for money’, but by not fighting each other (and I now don’t think they ever will) both Pacquiao and ‘Money’ have devalued boxing.
To hear more of my ill-informed views on a wide range of subjects from sport to Stallone you can tune into my new show, the One More Round podcast on iTunes (search ‘One More Round podcast’) or at www.onemoreroundpod.com You can also contact me on Twitter @theboxingbrain or @onemoreroundpod or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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