(Photo by Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions)
Well, Manny Pacquiao vs.Floyd Mayweather still hasn’t happened. So we’ve been left to whet our appetite with the fight on 5 May between Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. and Miguel Cotto. Irrespective of what some may think, this is a greater risk to Mayweather’s throne than “Vicious” Victor Ortiz.
This is not because Ortiz had no skill. He was actually able to get inside Mayweather’s defences during the fight but could not capitalise and was not sure what to do. Cotto would know what to do if inside. The question would be whether or not he can get inside.
The quiet man of Puerto Rico has just come away from a clear victory stoppage over Antonio Margarito while Mayweather comes from a knockout over Victor Ortiz. Both men are therefore bearing high morale and are convinced of their skills. The fight is a prelude to Pacquiao/Mayweather upcoming smash (if it ever happens!) but nonetheless is a worthy match up.
Cotto Could Win If…
- If he gets inside the near impregnable defences of Mayweather and can stay inside and break down the man who some view as today’s Sugar Ray Robinson or greater. It is not impossible to get inside with Mayweather, but seldom done; but for the one that gets inside it is more important to make it count. This will be the challenge facing Cotto
- Mayweather is not focused and external factors, such as looming prison time, legal challenges and other personal upsets rattle the cool exterior of Mayweather. Fighters are sensitive people when it comes to their psyche and training. Changes in diet, trainer or family environment could lead to a whole different fighter showing up on the day of competition. For those seeking evidence, think about the background noise facing “Iron” Mike Tyson going into his bout against James “Buster” Douglas.
- Mayweather is injured in the fight and his morale is rocked. Fans were able to see that Floyd could be hit and indeed hurt in the bout against “Sugar” Shane Moseley. The south paw in the second round surprised him with a good shot but to Mayweather’s credit and ring knowledge he found the strength to ride the storm.
- Miguel Cotto knocks Floyd Mayweather, Jr. down at any point in the fight. One of the most important things to Mayweather Jr.’s game plan is the fact that he is one of (if not THE) least hit boxer in the history of the sport and has not been off his feet at any time during competition. Dropping Mayweather at any time could signal the end.
- Mayweather has not acclimated himself to the fight weight that Cotto is accustomed to and will meet easily. There were some quiet whispers in the wind in the recent past about Mayweather making weight but how valid these claims are we will see on the day.
Mayweather Will Win If…
- He is able to break Cotto and expose what some refer to as his longevity issues. Cotto certainly has a good chin and is made of steel but he has struggled with endurance and fading in fights in the later stages.
- He shows up in the same form as normal without background noise rattling him. Mayweather normally exudes cool, rationale debate but as of late one can see the stresses or court, family and legal challenges taking their toll. He must get this under control to be focused and ready for 5 May.
- Cotto charges him and Mayweather then dictates the fight and outboxes and classes the Puerto Rican warrior. If it becomes a chasing spectacle, then the Pretty Boy will settle in and keep the opponent at a distance, take away his most impressive tools and shut him out. This could lead to desperation moves on the part of Cotto if he fears losing face. Evidence of brawlers resorting to desparate measures: Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Zab Judah and Miguel Cotto vs. Zab Judah.
- His opponent loses his cool and goes outside of his trainer’s plan. Classic difficulties with “Money” Mayweather’s style has led some fighters to throw out the game plan and adopt a “try anything” or “headhunter” style. Such frustration will play right into Mr Money’s plan.
- He has had ample time and conditioning to prepare himself for the weight change. Going up and down in weight can be an incredible shock to the system so submission and continuity with any training regime is crucial.
Floyd will not knock out Cotto unless he falls apart completely and I do not see that happening. The Mayweather/Cotto fight will go the distance and could end close but the points will land on the side of Mayweather and not Cotto.
The fight will have bursts of excitement but will by and large be very gritty and the tempo will slide back and forth between each fighter. Fans will get their money’s worth but the action will not be as continuous as Mayweather/De La Hoya. Now the waiting game begins…