SAN DIEGO, May 6, 2012 – Miguel Cotto made Floyd Mayweather work harder in the ring that he’s had to in recent years, but Mayweather was up to it as he won a unanimous 12-round decision over the popular Puerto Rican fighter Saturday night in Las Vegas to remain undefeated at 43-0.
Cotto’s team put an outstanding game plan together. Cotto (now 37-3) came to this bout in excellent condition. He fought a far more proactive fight than he generally does, and on several occasions he put Mayweather into the corner and did damage first with body shots, followed by selected upper cuts. Mayweather’s nose began to trickle blood after the fourth round, and it never let up.
But it was only a trickle. Mayweather did not let it distract him. Mayweather put his brilliant defensive skills to work against Cotto. His trademark shoulder roll away from punches and his ability to present a poor target is second to none.
Mayweather sometimes appears unimpressive to the casual viewer because he picks his spots, keeps himself out of harm’s way, and when he punches, he rarely misses. CompuBox showed a 179-105 edge in punches landed for Mayweather. Mayweather landed several hard shots. Mayweather staggered Cotto with a wicked left upper cut in the last round of the fight. Cotto was fortunate it didn’t happen earlier in the fight. He managed to make it to the end although it briefly seemed in doubt.
For Cotto fans, round eight was the best round of the fight. Cotto had Mayweather back in the corner, and connected first with body shots, followed by effective upper cuts, one of the few punches Mayweather had trouble deflecting. Mayweather looked rattled and the crowd was going wild. It was a moment of high drama in the desert.
The crowd hoped Cotto would come out in round nine and finish Mayweather off. It didn’t happen. Had Cotto exhausted himself with his effort in the previous round? Perhaps so. Cotto fought well. But Mayweather fought better. Cotto should take pride in his effort, but no boxer accepts defeat. He either learns from it, or lets it steal his confidence.
Cotto left the ring and declined the post-fight interview. He failed to show up at the post-fight news conference. He reportedly went to a local hospital to be checked out. At 11:49 p.m. Pacific Time he posted the following message on Twitter first in English, then in Spanish: “I feel great. Just resting In my SkyLoft with my family. Nothing to be down about. I respect the judges dec. but I completely disagree.” If Cotto thinks he won this fight, he needs to watch a replay.
By contrast, Mayweather was everywhere. He talked with Larry Merchant after the fight in the ring – yes, the same Larry Merchant who he trash talked only to have Merchant take him down a notch. Merchant cleared the air before the interview, noting for the viewers that Mayweather had called him the night before to apologize for the September incident, and Merchant had accepted the apology.
As HBO announcers Jim Lampley and Emanuel Steward were discussing the fight on camera ringside after the bout, Mayweather surprised the announcers from nowhere, threw his arms around both men, and conducted a second, even more energetic post-fight chit chat. Mayweather said Cotto was tough, though slow and awkward. he mixed it up with Cotto more than usual because that’s what the fans wanted to see. Revisionist history? Maybe.
Mayweather said the words everyone wanted to hear: Let’s make the Pacquiao fight. But he put conditions on the bout, saying he wouldn’t fight Manny Pacquaio as long as Bob Arum and Top Rank are involved as promoters and he wouldn’t accept a 50-50 split of the gate. Here we go again. Enough already!
Tonight Mayweather played Cotto’s game a bit more than he should have. But he still prevailed. Cotto had to work harder than Mayweather to achieve the same execution. It was like two guys both bench pressing the same weight. One cleans it with little effort; but the other guy has to concentrate and exert himself to achieve the same bench press.
Mayweather’s guaranteed $32 million payday is a record for a single fight in boxing history. Depending on late hour pay per view sales, it could reach as much as $40 million. Miguel Cotto is guaranteed an $8 million payout. Pay per view is likely to hit $2 million, which would put this bout in the Top 5 on the all-time pay per view list. The attendance was 16,047, with a gate of $12 million.
In the undercard fight, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez won a unanimous decision over “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Mosley stood in well against Alvarez, who is 19 years younger, but he didn’t have the punching power to do any damage against Alvarez. Mosley opened up a cut over Alvarez’ left eye right at the browbone in the third round, but Alvarez’ corner did a masterful job managing it and it became a non-issue. “I kept telling myself don’t worry about the cut, let my team worry about the cut. And in the end it was all right,” said Alvarez.
Alvarez showed excellent punching power and his trademark patient approach, which was less than thrilling for fans. He takes his time, he presses forward, and it worked. Alvarez threw punishing body shots, and while they won’t produce a crowd pleasing knockout, they are punches that get the job done. Alvarez says he’s ready for the Mayweathers, Cottos, and Pacquaios. It’s far more likely he’ll face someone like James Kirkland. His promoters already have a September 15 pay-per-view date in Las Vegas set up, which happens to be the evening before Mexican Independence Day.
Mosley is destined for the Hall of Fame, and will always be thought of as a world-class boxer. He ruefully said after the fight that maybe it was time to move into promoting fights, instead of fighting them. It’s time for Mosley to retire. Let’s hope he stays active in the sport, because he is among the most knowledgeable observers of boxing and its practitioners today.
Good news for fans who wouldn’t or couldn’t pony up the PPV fees. HBO will replay both the Alvarez/Mosley and Mayweather/Cotto fights on Saturday, May 12.
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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