Think Bob Arum and Manny Pacquiao thought they saw some erosion, as Hochberger did, on Saturday against Cotto? (Chris Farina photo)
Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto Takeaways:
-First off, what an awesome fight! Nice to see Floyd actually be in a real fight. He definitely won, but I had it awfully close. I scored the fight 6-4-2 for Mayweather. If you score the two even rounds (3 and 9) for Cotto, you’re looking at a draw potentially. That said, I definitely think Floyd earned the victory. I’m looking forward to re-watching and seeing if I stand by my scoring or not (Cinco De Mayo is always a tough night to score fights accurately as the tequila makes me fade in the championship rounds). I also tend to favor the aggressor (usually the guy coming forwards) in close rounds, so I gave Miguel the benefit of the doubt a few times.
SIDEBAR: Judges need to feel that it’s acceptable to score even rounds. (EDITOR NOTE: Smart fella, the Hochberger kid. I encourage even rounds, to encourage fighters to win rounds more conclusively. Coin-flip rounds should be scored even, period. I had three even rounds in Saturday’s fight, FYI.) Sometimes, rounds are just that: Even. I think the lack of even rounds scored evenly leads to a lot of the questionable scorecards.
-As I’ve said before on this site, I’m a Cotto guy. He’s been my favorite fighter since 2002. I was so proud seeing him fight a way more competitive fight than he was expected to. In reality, he fought the ‘perfect fight’ to beat Floyd. Everyone knows that to beat him, you need to pressure him against the ropes, land combos/body shots, and hurt him. Oscar tried valiantly, but it’s simply not his game. This is a Cotto-style fight. The reason it was so much more competitive than what people thought is that Cotto was incredibly patient. He kept his guard high and tight until he exploded with combinations. His heavy left jab was probably the best punch of the fight, and had he thrown it more, the outcome could have been a bit different.
-Miguel Cotto has pretty decent footwork, but he simply hasn’t learned to move his head well. It cost him dearly. That was the difference in the fight. Floyd’s sublime head movement allowed him to dodge more of Cotto’s punches than anyone has ever been able to do. Cotto’s lack of head movement allowed Floyd to rack up points by landing clean counter shots in most every exchange.
-Albeit slightly, I think it’s fair to say Mayweather is regressing from his prime (which is fair after 43 fights and 15+ years). While this fight did more to strengthen Floyd’s resume/credibility, his ever so slight decline in speed and reflexes should be noted. This fight showed he can still win a slugfest, can still take a punch, and is still the best defensive/tactical boxer in the game. But it also showed he’s not invincible. Seeing this fight just convinces me further that he would lose to Manny Pacquiao. Floyd can’t stay off the ropes (or doesn’t care to), and Manny is faster/more accurate than Cotto. I’m convinced it would be a similar fight, but that Manny would land more effectively, efficiently, and at a higher volume than Miguel did. Mayweather’s punch stats had to represent the lowest percentage of landing he’s ever had. There’s a direct correlation between that and Miguel’s commitment to defense/patience, but also due to slightly slower combinations than we’ve ever seen out of Floyd.
-I really feel we’ll find out a lot about their potential (fantasy) fight based on Manny’s upcoming showdown with Tim Bradley. Bradley is very good, fast, and unbeaten. If Manny looks to be a class above him, then I feel confident he beats Floyd. If it’s as close as the Mayweather-Cotto fight, I start having my doubts because it means Manny has probably regressed a bit as well. I am pretty confident we’ll see Manny-Floyd eventually, but I sincerely hope it’s while they’re both still close to their athletic primes. That, conversely, looks unlikely.
-The good: Mosley showed a lot more fight than I expected. The bad: He has no zip on his punches anymore, and while he showed heart, he also showed that he couldn’t beat anyone above average anymore (Can anyone name one fighter of significance that Shane would even be a 3-1 underdog against? And would anyone actually take that bet?). He is way too easy to hit, and no longer offers much offensively. Canelo stood right in front him and he couldn’t do a thing about it. While he was considerably more game than expected, it’s hard to watch a mere shell of “Sugar” Shane. Nobody can really argue that.
-The fact that Canelo was in talks to face Mayweather next were ridiculous to begin with. No 22-year old is ready for Mayweather’s experience and skill level. I hope that his handlers saw enough on Saturday night to understand that he is not even close to ready for a fighter at Floyd’s level (from what I’ve read they have). It would practically be an amateur vs. a novice. That’s more a testament to Floyd’s greatness than a knock on Canelo.
-Canelo got some solid experience (fought a crafty veteran, fought under the bright lights of stardom, and suffered a cut) and took it all very smoothly. He didn’t so much as blink when cut, and he was totally stoic throughout, which is a great characteristic for a prize fighter. Big props to Canelo’s cut man…that could have been something that affected the entire fight, but it was a total non-issue for the young star. From a technical standpoint, Canelo has some clear issues to work on. He does a decent job cutting off the ring, but he allowed Shane Mosley to walk him into the ropes quite a few times. Shane was doing nothing more than plodding forwards, so that’s unacceptable for a fighter with young legs like Canelo.
-One thing I loved about Canelo is that even though he was winning a near shutout, he was still trying to close the show in the 12th round. Most fighters would have kept their distance, played it safe, and cruised to a decision. Canelo was still throwing bombs with bad intentions to the final bell. Much respect.
-Canelo reminds me a lot of a young Miguel Cotto the way he fights. I don’t know if he’s a natural lefty like Miguel, but he definitely likes his lead left hook a LOT. Canelo hits hard and is an accurate puncher (like young Cotto) with very strong body punching (like young Cotto), but if he doesn’t start moving his head (Cotto never really corrected this) he’s going to be outboxed and beaten by a decent veteran like Carlos Quintana before long. Frankly, although Canelo showed some flashes of brilliance, he certainly didn’t look like the next big thing. I’d go so far as to say Cotto looked better and scarier at the same point in his respective career while taking on more dangerous opposition. Canelo also needs to have a more sustained body attack in his fights. He’s a very solid body puncher, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a stronger conviction to body work could have actually led to a stoppage against Mosley. The more I think about it, Canelo vs. Cotto actually makes a lot of sense. I don’t think Canelo is quite ready, but I can see him hurting Cotto.
-Have you ever seen a more nervous person in your life than Oscar De La Hoya during the post-fight interview for Canelo? Oscar looked calm and collected watching his prized possession take punches without once moving his head, but couldn’t have looked more uncomfortable hearing the kid answer questions.
Random Weekend Topics:
-When did Bernard Hopkins start shopping at the Gap? How many 47-year old former inmates from Philly that have a profession in combat sports dress like hipsters? Nobody fights quite like him, and nobody dresses quite like him. And he certainly did not look like he was in a title fight just a week ago.
-Speaking of not looking like he was in a title fight last weekend… always nice to see Paulie Malignaggi in the house #TK. Sounds like he is likely to meet Devon Alexander for his next fight. Good fight. I would think Alexander takes that one with a clear UD, but Paulie always brings it, and he’ll make Devon prove he belongs in the upper echelon of the 147-lb division.
-Can we all agree that Jessie Vargas is just ‘OK’? Nothing wrong with him, and he’s a good boxer with good skills. But without Mayweather behind him… probably nothing there.
Fights I want to see made:
-Mayweather v Sergio Martinez: This would be a huge notch in Floyd’s belt to beat the lineal Middleweight Champion. It would be the ultimate boxing chess match (how do you counter a counter-punchers counter?), and although it may lack Saturday’s action, it would be artistry.
-Lucian Bute- Andre Ward: I also think these two would put on a clinic in Boxing 101. They are both phenomenal technical boxers, and I’d love to know who’s really better.
-Yuriorkis Gamboa- Adrien Broner: Assuming Gamboa can figure out his legal mess, what are we waiting for here? This is can’t-miss action that will tell us if either one is a future heir to Mayweather’s PPV/P4P crown. Just make sure Gamboa is on board.
-Seth Mitchell- Tomasz Adamek: Adamek won’t prepare Seth for the Klitschkos, but he’d provide without question the toughest fight to date for the former MSU Spartan. I like Mitchell a lot, but need to see him against a good boxer before putting too much faith in him. Defeating Adamek would prove a lot more than beating someone like Robert Helenius who happens to share the Klitschko’s frame.
-Justin Bieber vs. Canelo Alvarez. Mexico’s biggest star vs America’s biggest star.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?