SAN DIEGO, May 3, 2012 – It’s down to the final few days before the biggest boxing event of 2012 so far when Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto face off for the junior middleweight championship on Saturday, May 5 at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, Nevada.
At the final pre-fight news conference, full of the usual speeches, thank yous, shoutouts, and a small side dish serving of Mayweather mouthing off, it was Miguel Cotto’s trainer Pedro Diaz who summed up what the hype really means.
Diaz said, “Talking doesn’t get you the victory in boxing. In boxing, your fists, your preparation and the execution will get you the victory.”
Floyd Mayweather is a talker on a scale Muhammad Ali never imagined. If there were championships for talking, Mayweather would have no challengers and no equals.
But Mayweather has been able to back up the talk with an undefeated career record of 42-0, with 26 knockouts. Although there are those who don’t respect the man, respect the man’s record.
This time there hasn’t been any excessive trash talking. Mayweather himself called Miguel Cotto “a true champion,” and it’s true. Cotto, with a record of 37-2, with 30 knockouts, is a formidable fighter. What Manny Pacquiao is to the Philippines, Miguel Cotto is to the people of Puerto Rico worldwide: a celebrity, a star, an admired athlete, a beloved hero.
Cotto has the chance to defeat Mayweather for the first loss of an impressive career on Saturday night, making him an instant boxing legend. But the odds are against him.
Mayweather is moving up in weight to 154 pound to fight Cotto. The last time he fought at this weight, he had a spectacular victory over Oscar de la Hoya five year ago to the may on May 5, 2007, which gave him star status. Mayweather’s last victory was somewhat controversial. He beat Victor Ortiz in September by taking advantage of Ortiz’ inattention and failure to protect himself, knocking him cold. It was a legal move but it didn’t sit well with everyone, which is the story of Mayweather’s career.
Meanwhile, Cotto is coming off one of his strongest statements, a blistering win over Antonio Margarito by a tenth round TKO. It was sweet revenge for a fight three years before which many now believe was due in large part to Margarito’s loaded gloves, though nothing was ever proven.
Cotto has said Margarito took his confidence in that 2008 fight. When he beat Margarito last year, he got his confidence back and he would take it into the ring with Mayweather.
Objectively, there is no doubt that Mayweather has by far the superior speed, and the superior counter-punching savvy. Mayweather’s defense is first rate. He has an advantage in reach. It’s doubtful Cotto can get in close enough or catch the crafty Mayweather in an inattentive moment to hit him squarely.
Cotto’s style is steady and relentless power. He isn’t swift, he isn’t tricky. He’s got staying power, can take a punch, and doesn’t get rattled. He shouldn’t try to match Mayweather for speed. He should cut off the ring and give him less space to work with, which will take away his reach and speed. He should take a page out of heavyweight Seth Mitchell’s recent game plan and fight him like a linebacker. Cotto is bigger and his natural weight advantage will help him. He should block and tackle, go to the body, and wear Mayweather out. He’ll have to take a punch or two to do it, but if he’s as well-conditioned and mentally strong as he seems, he can do it.
Mayweather won’t need to land a lot of punches to win. He is the undefeated fighter and Cotto will have to win decisively to prevail. In an even fight, Mayweather will get the nod. Mayweather needs to move, employ his defensive skills, and land just enough punches to look active. He has by far the easier task. Admirers will say Mayweather earned this respect over his impressive career.
One question mark is the long layoff time between fights for Mayweather. It could have some bearing on the fight. Mayweather’s trainer Leonard Ellerbee says Mayweather’s had his best training camp in 15 years. Cotto and Diaz also say they had an excellent training camp in Orlando, Florida.
Both fighters will be well conditioned by the time the bell rings. Skills are there on both sides. Perhaps it will come down to sheer will. Who wants it more? Who is more motivated? Who has the focus and desire? This is the alchemy, the magic about boxing that fans love, the reason that this bout on May 5 and all great bouts are so highly anticipated.
We’re planning a Communities Super Cinco party online covering the fight for you right here on Communities at Washington Times. We’ll have a live chat starting at 10:15 Eastern Time/7:15 Pacific Time. We’ll cover the Canelo Alvarez vs. Shane Mosley undercard which is also sure to be exciting. Then we’ll be ready when Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto square off in Las Vegas. So be sure your margaritas are refreshed and you’re ready to go. Arriba!
Your fight chat moderators are:
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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