Maybe if Miguel Cotto wasn't making a small fortune for his upcoming fight with Manny Pacquiao, he might try and pull a Floyd Mayweather and come in two pounds over the contracted weight. The problem is he can't take a chance on possibly imploding a fight he's sure he's going to win. But maybe if Cotto rolled the dice and came in at 147 instead of the agreed 145 specified in the contract, we wouldn't see anymore of these ridiculous catch-weight bouts and fights could be determined in the ring instead of on the scale.
In all fairness Floyd Mayweather Jr. must be given credit for the savvy way he played everybody who isn't part of his management faction before his fight versus Juan Manuel Marquez. When the fight was announced it was stipulated that it would be fought at 144 pounds. This definitely favored Mayweather being that Marquez fought as a featherweight or lower for all but three of his 55 pro bouts. To make matters worse Mayweather weighed in at 146 (he never had any intention of weighing in at 144) and paid Marquez six hundred thousand dollars for coming in two pounds over the weight. The night of the fight Mayweather refused to allow HBO to weigh him again meaning he was probably 20 pounds heavier than Marquez during the bout. Whatever Mayweather weighed, one thing is clear, he was well above the welterweight limit of 147.
Floyd's weight had been a mystery during the run up to the fight and no one knew what he weighed though many speculated. Nobody reading this saw him step on a scale. If Mayweather's shenanigans proved one thing– it's that weight plays a big role in the outcome of fights and many are won and lost on the scale. That may not be news to some but some fans/writers don't fully understand just how much of a factor it is regarding fighters in the lighter divisions. That's not saying Mayweather wouldn't have handled Marquez had they both weighed the same. What it's saying is Mayweather's decided weight advantage made it all but impossible for Marquez to have a chance at scoring the upset as the 4-to-1 underdog he was installed as.
In a little less than two months Miguel Cotto will defend his IBO welterweight title against junior welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao. Despite the fight being for Cotto's title, the fighters have agreed to weigh in at a 145 pound catch-weight, something that was insisted upon by the Pacquiao faction before the fight could be finalized. That said, Cotto being forced to come in at 145 won't compromise him as much as Marquez was being that he fought Mayweather at welterweight. Then again no one can say for sure. It's not like Cotto makes 147 with ease. And shedding those last two pounds trying to make 145 after he's already dried out will no doubt weaken him some.
Because of money and most big fights being promoted and centered around one fighter it's difficult for new fans to take an interest in boxing. And that's because it is subliminally instilled into their mind that only the star fighter is worthy of their attention and time. The reality is Mayweather-Marquez was all about Mayweather and he was able to dictate the terms for the fight. It just so happens that Pacquiao-Cotto is all about Pacquiao and therefore the terms and conditions for the fight are all about him. It's a joke that Cotto's title is on the line yet he isn't allowed to weigh in for the fight as he did for his title bouts against Mosley, Margarito and Clottey.
The reason for that is Manny Pacquiao isn't a full fledged welterweight (like Marquez was) and is still boxing’s most talked about and chronicled fighter in spite of Mayweather's exhibition against Marquez last week. The truth is Pacquiao has handled the move up in weight much better than Marquez. In fact Manny is one of the few fighters who’s carried his big punch into the higher divisions he's fought. It seems everybody is worried about Pacquiao fighting a relatively small welterweight like Cotto, but nobody cared about the risk Marquez took spotting Mayweather who knows exactly how much weight.
If Pacquiao and/or his trainer believe he's not a true welterweight then don't fight Cotto or any other welterweight title holder. For the fight to be taken seriously let Cotto fight as high as the welterweight division allows. In all honesty does anyone really think Mayweather did something great in beating up the lightweight champ fighting as an undersized welterweight? The same applies to Pacquiao fighting Cotto at 145. Those two pounds Cotto has to come in under the limit are relevant; if they weren't Roach wouldn't be insisting on it.
Regardless of how convincing Pacquiao were to look, Cotto won't be the same fighter who fought Mosley, Margarito and Clottey. The Cotto who prepared for those bouts wasn't burdened with draining himself two extra pounds. The same two pounds Mayweather couldn't or wouldn't shed.
It would be great if Cotto weighed in at 147 for the fight. To do that Cotto would have to be considered the gutsiest fighter in professional boxing knowing the boxing establishment would do everything in their power to protect Pacquiao. No doubt Roach and Pacquiao would be rattled knowing Cotto was at full strength and power and that he would be the best he could be that night. On the other hand if Pacquiao did beat Cotto nobody would be saying the things that are now being said about Mayweather's victory over Marquez. Actually his standing and legacy in boxing would escalate dramatically for beating a fighter who wasn't handicapped via the scale.
That said the Las Vegas commission would no doubt force Cotto to lose the two pounds and then he'd really be weakened for the fight. Not to mention Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach being the stickler that he is, he would definitely call the fight off if Cotto couldn't or wouldn't get down to 145. However, if Pacquiao agreed to fight Cotto after he weighed in at 147, he'd be more respected for that even if he lost than if he knocked a drained Cotto out in the second round.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com