Mayweather vs Cotto: "Keys to Victory", "Four to Explore", and Official Prediction
by Vivek Wallace: Las Vegas - For years, American Floyd Mayweather and Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto have been on a collision course. Promotional politics had kept them away from one another for quite some time, but as with all things in life, no method of prevention could possibly withstand the grasp of the inevitable. Fight fans around the globe have been somewhat torn on who would have won had the two met in the past, yet the fighters themselves apparently agreed at one point.
Article posted on 05.05.2012
When asked about the the potential showdown in the early years, Mayweather had always pointed to his superior skills as a bona fide reason for delivered victory. Miguel Cotto, in a very odd way practically agreed, stating that he "would never think of him", (Mayweather), because "he was better than [me] on all levels and he was a great champion". Fast-forward a few years and suddenly, things have changed..
When asked about his chances of defeating Mayweather now, Cotto has been very vocal, leveraging the old adage "everything happens for a reason", and telling all within earshot that his losses brought out the best in him, which has made him a more complete fighter. Cotto would sum up those recent statements by saying "the time is right" to dethrone Floyd Mayweather. Most would agree that his talent has come full circle and that perhaps his confidence is far greater at this stage than we've seen recently, but in what has become a pre-fight ritual lately, Floyd Mayweather fired a one-liner recently as well, which could very well tell the story by the end of the night.
Against the young Victor Ortiz, Mayweather echoed very loudly: "if you make a mistake....you have to pay"! After an intentional headbutt foul that kicked off a love-fest of hugs and kisses from Ortiz, two thunderous shots landed cleanly to end the night. In the case of Cotto, Mayweather fired 5 words that could also resonate loudly in the end if he has his way. Those words to Miguel Cotto: "You're f*****g with the best"! Cotto will now have to test that theory. In an effort to see what his odds look like, we analyze "Keys to Victory", "Four to Explore", and an "Official Prediction".
MIGUEL COTTO - KEYS TO VICTORY
For Miguel Cotto, keys to victory will all come down to pressure. Very intelligent pressure. The biggest knock on Cotto in the past has been that he has lacked the discipline to stick to the script when the going gets rough. Against a fighter as savvy as Mayweather, Cotto will need to bring this element in at a high premium, and he'll have to do it for a full 12rds. The biggest tool for Cotto will be the jab. He's a left-hand dominant fighter which we know can give Mayweather problems. If he wants to give Mayweather more problems, he will steal a page from Mosley's book and flicker the jab, followed by a thunderous overhand.
Pressure, a jab, timely footwork, and a heavy dosage of body work could weaken the legs of Mayweather by the late rounds and great conditioning will be enough to seal the deal. Following this plan is a sure shot at victory for Cotto. But does he have the discipline and stamina to pull it off? There lies the operative question.
FLOYD MAYWEATHER - KEYS TO VICTORY
For Floyd Mayweather, keys to victory could be rather simple if applied properly. He's facing a bigger man, who's very confident, and truly feels he cannot be beaten at this stage. Mayweather will need to impose his will on Cotto early, out-speeding him, yet protecting himself from return rapid fire at all time, and subsequently getting in the head of Cotto early. Pedro Diaz has appeared to have worked wonders for Cotto, but it'll be interesting to see if Cotto can listen to him and execute once Mayweather begins to land at will and escape Cotto's shots simultaneously.
The biggest key for Mayweather is to keep Cotto on his backfoot. Accomplishing this will mean that Cotto is not only off his gameplan, but also unable to plant and land effectively. It could all go downhill for Cotto if he finds himself dealing too strongly with this. Anything less and it's an even game, as most of Mayweathers' strengths would be nullifed with Cotto's size and deceptive speed. Floyd is one of the best in-fight thinkers that the game has ever seen. A natural ability to shift gears as the fight wears on will only solidify the job these keys to victory would initiate.
FOUR TO EXPLORE (CRITICAL GAME-CHANGERS TO WATCH FOR)
MIND OVER MATTER?: The mental aspect of this fight will be very key for Cotto. In each of his losses there was the deeply inflicted mental pain of being beaten into submission, which is vastly different from a 10-count where one fails to answer the call. That's a huge element of concern. It isn't probable to see Mayweather stop him, but it will be interesting to see if Cotto can stay focused once Mayweather starts to tee off on him at will in a way that Cotto can't control. If this does happen, will Cotto have the warrior mindset necessary to weather the storm? Or will this start to feel like a repeat of an "old movie" again, signaling him to "stop" his own nightmare?
FEELING HIGH: Mayweather has been blessed with an ego that always seems to be high as the sky, but this time around, he'll be entering the ring with his weight listed along a comparable fashion. The last time we saw Mayweather above 147lbs in the ring he won, but it didn't quite look good. This time around he's facing a younger, more complete fighter than he faced at the time, and he will enter the ring many years older, and heavier than he ever has. Essentially this is Mayweathers experiment, and Cotto's comfort zone. Could that lead to Mayweather going "down" for going "up"?
FOUL PLAY OR FAIR PLAY?: Lately we've seen several bad calls in the sport of boxing. When you consider the blatant dislike for Mayweather, one has to realize acknowledge that he isn't exempt. In some ways it can be said that Mayweather controls the sport, as his undefeated record gives him leverage to pick and choose who he faces, and under which terms it will happen. Although he allowed Cotto to face him at his best weight; it should also be noted that to beat a champ you must do so decisively. That said, is it totally outside the realm of possibility to see the judges award Cotto a close decision (under the "you must take it from a champ" definition) to strip Mayweather of the one thing that gives him enough leverage to actually refuse a 50/50 split with his co-P4P king in the sports most coveted matchup?
CORNER or CORONARY?: The word 'coronary' typically refers to the heart. The word 'corner', as defined in boxing, typically refers to the man leading his troop to battle. In this fight both men have heart, and both men have great corners. A good question would be which corner has more heart? Diaz seems to be a very fundamental student of the game who uses sound logic to create angles; while Roger Mayweather seems to carry a cutting edge sharp enough to draw blood. In a bizarre, yet probable scenario that has the fight close on the scorecards going into the championship rounds, is it really a question as to which trainer one could expect to get more out of his fighter to step on the gas and either seal the victory or steal the victory (late in the fight if it appears up in the air at that stage)?
OFFICIAL PREDICTION - (ALONG WITH UPSET BAROMER: RATING 1-5)
As stated from the day this fight was signed, this will be the stiffest test we have seen Floyd Mayweather in throughout his entire career. Cotto brings deceptive speed, great power, great durability, and a newfound level of confidence that we apparently forgot he once had. I think Cotto's ability to time Mayweather with combinations while he attempts to land his patented one-and-done leads will prove a greater obstacle than many, including Mayweather bargained for. I see Cotto finding a way to make Mayweather very uncomfortable early in the fight, and pressing the action harder than Mayweather is used to.
The key in this fight will be rounds 7-12, when Mayweather shifts gears from a fighter that used traps to create damage, to a fighter that capitalizes on every wide punch thrown, and every other assignment blown. Cotto will see himself ahead on the cards after the midway point to the surprise of many, only to watch that lead evaporate like dew on a fresh cut morning lawn when Mayweather dials in and finally digs deep, reminding many of a level of aggression they forgot he had. Floyd will be hurt, and may even touch the deck, but his passion to cement his legacy in the heart and mind of all fight fans will never burn brighter than it will on this night. His first Castillo fight will be revisited on Cinco De Mayo. Both the action and the outcome.
(FLOYD MAYWEATHER VIA SPLIT DECISION: UPSET BAROMETER WILL PEAK AT 5 of 5, as Cotto has the tools to not only win, but stop Mayweather, with the right shot landed)
(Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954.292.7346, Youtube (Vivek Wallace Boxing Channel), Twitter, (VivekWallace747), Skype (Vito-Boxing), and FaceBook).
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