On May 5th, Miguel Cotto, 37-2, 30 KO’s, will be the next man to attempt the impossible: Defeat Floyd Mayweather, JR., 42-0, 26 KO’s. The current WBA light middleweight champion, Cotto now faces the most important fight of his entire career and is a live underdog going into the showdown with Mayweather, JR.
The odds are stacked heavily against Cotto. Sportsbook review and other sites will be placing the champion as the long shot to retain his title, but there are several factors to examine.
Although the fight is set with Cotto, Floyd Mayweather, JR., spends much more time talking about the Filipino slugger, Manny Pacquiao. If he is looking beyond Cotto, that may open up some opportunity for the motivated champion. Outside of Mayweather, Cotto has fought just about every notable fighter in and around his division including Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Manny Pacquiao, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, Ricardo Mayorga, and Paulie Malignaggi. He is a seasoned veteran and only 31 years old, an advantage going into this one. Floyd is 35 years old and inactive. He fights once a year and despite the claims that this has no effect on him inside of the ring, it eventually will.
Kostya Tszyu is a good example of inactivity ruining a career. Tszyu was fighting once a year…once in 2002, once in 2003, once in 2004, and then his defeat came in 2005. Before that loss, he was devastating and looked as if he had found a way to cheat the system. Ricky Hatton proved that he didn’t. The inactivity ruined him.
Mayweather, JR., has had only 3 fights since 2009, beating Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley by unanimous decision and having a controversial knockout win over Victor Ortiz. The Marquez and Mosley bouts were carefully selected by the sharp businessman, knowing full well that Marquez was too small to beat him and Mosley was far too old. Ortiz was the risk and although the fight was a disaster, Floyd should be given credit for taking on a young and ambitious puncher.
Cotto falls in between Ortiz and the other two. He is 31, but he is a battle-worn 31 and it has yet to be seen if the demons were exorcized when he avenged his defeat to the “hands of plaster” Antonio Margarito in his last fight.
Most boxing fans are very familiar with the story. On July 26th, 2008, undefeated Miguel Cotto faced off against Antonio Margarito in Las Vegas, Nevada. Margarito was the underdog, the everyday man that clawed his way to the top of the division. He was easy to root for. Well, to the shock and delight of many, Margarito upset Cotto via 11th round stoppage, administering a savage beating, leaving him a bloody mess. It was a feel good moment for boxing, but that would go away rather quickly when it came out that Margarito had been using Plaster of Paris on his hand wraps, making his fists literal bricks. It explained why Cotto was as beaten up as he was. He looked as if he was in a car accident without a seatbelt and was propelled into the windshield.
The loss had a lasting mental affect on Cotto. In boxing, one loss, especially by knockout can destroy you, and it seemed to be the case here, but he did return and won a couple of fights before losing via TKO to Manny Pacquiao.
With three straight victories, including one over Margarito in a rematch…a fight he easily won when it was fair and square, Cotto goes into the fight with Floyd with a full head of steam, but he will have to fight the best fight of his career to even be competitive.
Cotto is a puncher, but he’s not particularly quick and he doesn’t chase you down. He’s not Julio Cesar Chavez. He has adopted the style of a boxer/puncher, and he isn’t the toughest guy in the world to hit. Floyd studies boxing, knows boxing, and knows what opponents to select. Cotto has a tendency of boxing when he should be aggressive and pushing his opponent around. If he tries to outbox Floyd, the show will be over before it begins, although there is a chance if he can time his jab correctly.
Cotto’s jab is one of the most effective punches in boxing…when he uses it. If he can time Floyd and land that jab with regularity, he may get some serious things done. Floyd is so used to controlling the action and operating with this calm demeanor that a continuous jab would be jolting both mentally and physically. If Cotto accomplishes that, then he could start to add on to it with the body work that he does really well.
The overhand right is a shot that Floyd can be hit with. Cotto is more of a hooker but has a decent right that can be effective when combined with the other elements to this game plan. Cotto’s biggest enemy will be discouragement. He does get discouraged if fights are not going his way and will become complacent and content with just going the 12 rounds. He wears down in the later rounds, which he cannot afford to do here.
Floyd Mayweather JR., adjusts to any situation and will have the idea to play with Cotto for 12 rounds and take the wide decision, which is the most likely ending to this fight. It is up to Cotto to go above and beyond what we have seen him do to pull the upset of the year and shake up the top of boxing. I have a sneaking suspicion that this fight will be more interesting than most people think.