Mayweather - Cotto: When The Smoke Clears

boxingBy Nicholas Dash - “Miguel Cotto is flat-footed” was Floyd Mayweather’s dismissive assessment of Manny Pacquiao’s victory over the Puerto Rican in 2009. Yet, Miguel Cotto would remain on his toes from the 1st to the 12th yesterday in the memorable May 5th matchup. Mayweather would remind us late-on that he could skip too, but for the majority of the fight he would choose not to, electing for a pace that he could sustain. A substantial difference in speed opened up a chasm on the scorecards while encouraging a familiar swelling to reveal itself on Cotto’s face. Miguel Cotto was most often caught with right hands whipped around the side of his sturdy guard, and any suggestion of a stoppage was deemed plausible. Then, a change came.

In the middle rounds Cotto was still bouncing with his will intact, appearing to be the younger, fresher fighter. At one point countering a Mayweather right hand with such a sharp jab that it rendered a look of confusion on Floyd’s face as he realised that his reflexes had not picked up the incoming bomb until it landed. Floyd still remained effective throughout this lull, with a phenomenal accuracy and range of shots, however, the snap in his punches deserted him for extended periods. Twice at the end of late rounds Cotto evaded Mayweather flurries with the surprising ease he had shown early against Margarito in their first encounter..

Floyd prevailed. His composure as awesome as ever, he adapted to the circumstances he found himself in; the current incarnation of Mayweather is no longer the ‘Pretty Boy’, lacking the legs to execute the footwork displayed in his youth. To his advantage he actually sits-down on his shots, often delivering them with more power, almost dropping Cotto with a stunning uppercut popping up from the depths. After visibly taking breaks in the fight, Floyd recovered well and utilised more combinations than he did pre ‘retirement’.

At times, it was Floyd’s experience rather than physical ability and other mental attributes that protected his lead, an indication of his future in a state of very gradual physical decline. Still, this was a good win in a very good fight. Cotto’s conditioning matched his determination and as he pressured Floyd it was clear how much Cotto had recovered what he once lost in the exhaustive descent to the catch-weight fight with the devastating Pacquiao, years ago. This was a more rejuvenated, patient and confident Cotto than the version who challenged the Filipino.

It is clear that change has demanded adaptation and Floyd has responded as well as can be expected, with the exception of a preference for fried food. Fans around the globe now await the latest unveiling of Manny Pacquiao, to see what form he will take and what possibilities he presents for the still potential mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather. We can only hope they manage to preserve enough of their gifts to represent themselves well.

Article posted on 06.05.2012

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