MANILA, Philippines – Floyd “Money” Mayweather (42-0, 26KO), the flashy defensive specialist from Grand Rapids, is set to challenge Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30KO) of Puerto Rico.
It’s an interesting clash of styles, with Mayweather playing the role of matador to Cotto’s raging bull. The two boxers were on a collision course back when they were Jr. Lightweights but for some reason, the fight never materialized.
On May 5th, Cinco de Mayo weekend, the two finally meet head-on for the WBA Jr. Middleweight championship of the world.
Mayweather, who now fights only once or twice a year, was last seen delivering a knockout against Victor Ortiz five months ago.
After Ortiz deliberately head-butted Mayweather against the ropes in round 4, the brash American retaliated by hitting off the break, catching an unprepared Ortiz with his hands down and sending him to the canvas in a scramble. The young Mexican was never able to recover and was counted out, giving Mayweather the controversial victory.
Cotto on the other hand, since losing handily to Manny Pacquiao, has put together 3 straight wins against quality opponents, looking better each time out. He’s moved up to the 154 lb. weight class where he’s more comfortable, beating the likes of Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga and arch-nemesis Antonio Margarito – with all victories by stoppage.
Being matched up against Mayweather, Cotto recognizes that this will be his toughest challenge to date.
A defensive wizard
The undefeated Mayweather is heralded as perhaps the greatest defensive fighter of all time.
In 42 professional fights, Mayweather has never hit the canvas and has never tasted defeat. Some have gotten close – Jose Luis Castillo and Shane Mosley to name a few – but none were able to capitalize on their success against Mayweather’s seemingly impenetrable defense.
Mayweather employs a ‘Y’-stance, giving opponents only a small area of his body which is hittable. He then combines that with a crafty, modified ‘Philly Shell’ featuring the very infamous shoulder roll which is used to parry incoming attacks.
Combine that with Mayweather’s lightning fast reflexes and he’s able to effectively nullify an opponent’s offense, frustrating them into committing mistakes which he uses to score points and win rounds.
42 opponents have tried to decipher Mayweather’s enigmatic style, but 42 have failed.
This gives Cotto a steep proverbial mountain to climb once they step inside the ring in May.
Cotto must pile on the pressure
Miguel Cotto can best be described as a boxer-puncher.
He has decent punching power coupled with decent boxing skills. His best defense is his offense so to speak, but he’s not completely rife of technical ability.
Cotto can definitely outbox most opponents he goes up against but it goes without saying that he will have to play the role of aggressor against Mayweather. To be effective, Cotto has to apply pressure constantly in hopes of wearing out his foe.
He has to make Mayweather work every minute of every round. Excellent conditioning will be a critical factor in this fight. If Miguel Cotto can outwork Mayweather, he has a shot at scoring a late round KO or a close decision.
It’s certainly no secret that Miguel Cotto must throw punches in bunches to keep Mayweather on his toes, it’s the only chance he has at the upset. Of course, all of this is easier said than done as Floyd Mayweather is extremely hard to hit.
Can Miguel Cotto be the first to defeat the arrogant multidivisional champion? We’ll know in a couple of months.
Winner likely to face Pacquiao
The winner of this fight would ideally be the front runner in facing Manny Pacquiao in the late fall.
Cotto was thoroughly destroyed by Pacquiao back in 2009 and would love a chance at revenge. Mayweather on the flipside, has had multiple failed negotiations in setting up a superfight with Pacquiao for the last 3 years citing disagreements in drug testing protocols and purse split.
Recent developments however, with both fighters publicly acknowledging their intentions to fight one another, have fans hopeful that the fight is close to coming to fruition.
The winner of Mayweather-Cotto would be in the perfect position to go up against the ‘Pacman’ in a high-drama, end of the year boxing finale. – Rappler.com
Visit Rappler.com for more updates on Mayweather-Cotto. The writer will be breaking down some of the technical intricacies of this matchup in the coming days.