source: Chris Robinson | Examiner.com
The recently-announced May 5th fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto has already begun to generate loads of interest from the boxing world and you can bet your last dollar that the pre-fight buildup towards the event will be pretty massive.
Cotto has resurrected his career following a devastating November 2009 stoppage loss to Manny Pacquiao, having reeled of three TKO victories over former champions Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga and Antonio Margarito. Cotto captured the WBA junior middleweight crown with his June 2010 victory over Foreman and got revenge against Margarito, the first man to hand him a defeat, in December.
Cotto is a live threat heading into the Mayweather fight because of his championship experience, sound boxing ability and solid power and his opponent’s Uncle, Las Vegas-based trainer Jeff Mayweather, feels his initial move up to 154 pounds was his saving grace.
“I feel that [Cotto] was always struggling to make weight anyways,” Mayweather told me as he spoke at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, moments before his latest training with his new charge Deandre Latimore. “So that was one of his Achilles heels, that he was killing himself making that weight. I think that moving up in weight was a smart thing for him to do.”
Cotto’s July 2008 defeat at the hands of Margarito was horrific and lingered with him every day afterwards. Bad blood brewed between the two men when Margarito was caught trying to use plaster-caked hand inserts in his following bout with Shane Mosley, raising suspicion that the Tijuana fighter had too performed illegally with the same method against Cotto.
Cotto fought with a spirit and vigor in the rematch, busting up Margarito’s right eye and forcing a stoppage in the early seconds of the tenth round, but Mayweather feels other factors were in play.
“It seemed like, to me, that it was a replay of the exact same fight but the possibility of Margarito probably having hand wraps, that probably would have made the difference in the first fight,” stated Mayweather. “I mean, he got caught red-handed, so there’s no way you could say that he didn’t do it. As opposed to that he did. My thing is, in most cases when the guy doesn’t get caught, he keeps doing what he’s doing until he gets caught.”
Mayweather then weighed in on Cotto’s strengths as a fighter while predicting how he would try to attack his nephew.
“One thing, he’s a great counter-puncher and he’s a smart fighter,” Jeff said of Cotto. “He picks his spots and he gets in and gets out when he can. He’s got good boxing skills and he’s a decent puncher. He’s probably banking on the fact that he’s a bigger puncher, but, to be honest, that’s where it ends. He’s not a better counter-puncher than Floyd, he’s not faster than Floyd, he’s not a better defensive fighter than Floyd. The only thing he has going is that he’s bigger than Floyd.”
WBA junior middleweight titlist Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez was also in the running to face off with Mayweather on May 5th but Cotto was selected for obvious reasons. Mayweather feels the choice is without question, as Alvarez is still budding in the game while Cotto is well established.
“He’s a proven commodity,” Mayweather finished up by addresssing Cotto. “Alvarez is just a young guy that’s getting a buildup. He still hasn’t beaten anyone; he still really hasn’t done anything. He won a world title of course but I’m speaking in terms of what he’s achieved and what marquee names has he really beat. I think Carlos Baldomir is probably the biggest name on his resume that I know of.”
“And with that being said, he’s not big enough for this event especially on this day. The only thing that happens to be is that he was Mexican and that probably was the only thing that would lead to him getting a shot at Floyd, but other than that, he didn’t deserve a shot at Floyd.”