It has been tried 43 times, and still no one has managed to defeat Floyd Mayweather. But Miguel Cottoin came reasonably close in the main event at the MGM Grand on Saturday night in Las Vegas. No, Floyd didn't look like vintage Floyd; there will be talk that he has slipped a notch, as just about every round had no runaway winner. But Cotto must be given due credit. His guard was tight, he was composed and intense the whole way through. But the judges had the last word, and they gave the nod to Mayweather, by scores of 117-111, 117-111, 118-110.
Floyd went 179-687, while Cotto went 105-506. Pacquiao fans will note their guy managed to stop Cotto (TKO12), while Floyd didn't.
Afterwards, Larry Merchant said Floyd apologized to him yesterday and he accepted it, so they chatted. Larry said it was a battle royal and Floyd said it is about giving the fans their money's worth. Floyd said Cotto is a tough competitor. "He came to fight," he said. Larry asked him about the jail stint. Floyd said he has accepted it, as a "true man" would. Floyd, asked if he'd fight Manny next, said Bob Arum is stopping a Pacquiao fight. He said he couldn't name another potential foe, as Merchant said Oscar De La Hoya told him Canelo is not ready for Floyd. Could he take less than 60% to Pacman's 40%? Floyd didn't answer, and changed the subject to blood tests.
Floyd hopped down to talk with Jim Lampley and Manny Steward after he chatted with Merchant. He said he gave the fans what they want, noting he is older. He said Cotto is tremendous, and gave HBO props, and said he admitted to Merchant that he was wrong for blasting him after the Ortiz fight. Masterful public relations work, it must be said. As he switched it up in the fight, going to the ropes and the corner, and then staying center ring, he keeps us all guessing, never knowing if he'll drive straight on or swerve a subject.
Mayweather (age 35; living in Las Vegas; 42-0 with 26 KOs entering; led to ring by 50 Cent, the WWE's Triple H and Justin Bieber; seven crowns in five divisions) was 151 pounds, while the WBA junior middleweight champion Cotto (37-2 with 30 KOs; age 31; from Caguas, Puerto Rico; three division champion) was 154 pounds on Friday. They both used 10 oz gloves, the same size heavyweights use, so we wondered how that would influence the event. Robert Hoyle, Dave Moretti and Patricia Morse-Jarman were the judges. As always, we prayed they ate their carrots leading up to the event.
In the first, it was a Floyd feel em out. Cotto had a snappy jab. Cotto looked to be the aggressor, though Mayweather landed a few more, perhaps.
In the second, Cotto picked Mayweather up, and oh no, they touched gloves. Would this thing deteriorate? Cotto kept close, and Floyd was fine with that. He had his back on the ropes, and worked from there. His right hand was working. He slipped and ducked and Cotto had trouble landing clean.
In the third, Cotto's jab worked, but so did Floyd's right. Floyd was 47-26 in punches landed to this point. Floyd worked center ring midway through. In the fourth, in center ring, Floyd landed rights. He stayed off the ropes now. Blood did trickle from his nostril. "C'mon damnit, let's go," Cotto trainer Pedro Diaz said after.
In the fifth, Floyd switched it up, back to the corner. Cotto landed a solid left hook, and the men traded, and the crowd liked it. In the sixth, the blood trickled from Mayweather's nose, from the jab he wasn't slipping or picking off. Cotto was now backing up, of his own volition. Floyd chased him, to not great effect. "That emeffer running," Uncle Roger said after. But it worked, I thought. Harold Lederman had Floyd up 4-2. I had him up 4-1-1.
In the seventh, Floyd wanted to land power rights. It was a tight round, as Floyd wasn't busy and Miguel looked like the aggressor. Blood was present on Floyd's nose. In the eighth, Floyd was back to having his back to the corner. He liked the uppercut in tight. But he wasn't busy enough, I'd guess, in the judges' eyes. The crowd sensed upset.
In the ninth, it was nip and tuck, not much separating the men. Floyd was up 136 to 87 in punches landed, according to CompuBox. In the 10th, the round was tight, as usual. In the 11th, Floyd stayed in the middle of the ring early. He looked to land power rights to the side of the head, as Cotto kept his paws in front of his chin. In the 12th round, Floyd bombed with the right. Cotto got buzzed by an uppercut with a minute left. We'd go to the cards.
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Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?