Was this fight really as close as many seem to think it was? I've watched it twice now, once with the sound off, and I scored it 117-111.
The fight reminded me a lot of the James Toney-Vissily Jirov fight from 2003. That fight was also considered close by some, and wide by others. Last night, I thought the enthusiastic crowd and the blood on Floyd's nose, along with the destination of most of the action, made some of the rounds appear alot closer than they really were.
When the action took place in the centre of the ring, Mayweather dominated with his overhand right- a clear indication that he had studied the Shane Mosley-Miguel Cotto fight. At times, Floyd didn't even bother to set it up behind a jab, he was literally throwing it one right hand after the other. Don't confuse this for Floyd's regular straight right hand lead, this was a far more aggressive, looping shot. Cotto, who's hands were in his usual high guard defensive position, had no answer for it. Also when the fight was in the centre of the ring, Floyd dominated with his rythm breaking jab, to the head and body, and a punch i've seldom seen Floyd utilize - a lead hand uppercut. This punch was effective because Mayweather threw it from the same angle as his jab, which resulted in Miguel not being able to anticipate what punch Floyd was going to throw next. When Cotto did mount his offense, he was stifled and stymied by Mayweather's uncanny ability to read an attack. By dipping low enough to make Cotto land off the mark, or by simply shutting down the left hook by raising his right arm in such a way that his right elbow was protecting his face and body, Cotto did not get in enough clean, scoring shots for my liking. In the centre of the ring, Floyd dominated.
Now here is where there is a misconception in boxing. If a fighter has his back to the ropes, it does not automatically mean that his opponent has gained the upper hand. There are very few fighters who are as comfortable as Floyd Mayweather is when he is in this, a percieved negative position-only James Toney could match him in this area. In other words, because it's not the norm to see a fighter voluntarily go to the ropes, when it happens, many view it as a sign that said fighter is being forced there against his will.
Like in the James Toney-Vassily Jirov fight, Mayweather actually got the better of the exchanges in close up on the ropes. Yes, Cotto did have some success there, he was throwing enough to get at least a few clean shots in, which he did. However, the vast majority of Cotto's swings were finding nothing but elbows and thin air. Mayweather on the other hand, was actually landing the better, cleaner shots with his back to the ropes. Take another look at the fight, you will see Mayweather fire off short crisp combinations -mainly left hooks and uppercuts- with his back against the ropes. This really was a dissitation on inside fighting. Mayweather's relaxation, visual clarity and extreme comfort in this position, amid punches raining down on him, is a sight to behold. Again, go back and watch the action without paying attention to the crowd every time Cotto swings at him, there were very few occasions when anything landed clean on Floyd. With his back to the ropes-Cotto's most dangerous offensive position-Mayweather got the better of almost every exchange.
Cotto deserves a lot of credit for his effort. He fought a very disciplined fight, but I dont think the fight was close as most seem to think it was. Cotto's ;lack of footspeed hurt him in the centre of the ring, and Mayweather's impregnable defense hurt him in close and up on the ropes.At 35 years-old, I dont think there were any significant signs of a Mayweather decline. Mayweather, a defensive specialist,is so dominant, that any landed shots on him are going to be blown out of context.
For once, we know what is next for Floyd Mayweather. After that? As usual, who knows. Lets hope it's the fight we all want to see.