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Mayweather Is Pushed By Cotto But Rises To The Event

BY Frank Lotierzo ON May 07, 2012
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MayweatherCotto Hoganphotos2This past weekend boxing fans had to shell out nearly seventy dollars in order to watch boxing's best pound-for-pound fighter, Floyd Mayweather 43-0 (26) fight WBA junior middleweight title holder Miguel Cotto 37-3 (30). And as sad as it is that boxing fans have to be gouged to see quality fights like Mayweather-Cotto, this one was an outstanding bout and no one could have felt as if they were fleeced afterward.

Mayweather won a well deserved, hard-fought unanimous decision (I had it 8-4 / 116-112 Maweather) over a game but not quite up to the task Cotto. The fight saw plenty of good give and take action. However, when it was over it was obvious to all that Mayweather is the superior fighter. Actually, watching Mayweather and Cotto proved what it looks like when a genuine great fighter meets a terrific/outstanding fighter.

Boxing aficionados can debate styles and strategies all they want. The trouble with that is it's the fighter who makes the style - not the opposite. Mayweather dictated the terms of the fight aside from a few good runs that Cotto put together. Sure, you'd be correct in suggesting that Cotto waited on Mayweather too much. He was directly squared up right in front of Mayweather in the danger-zone and didn't let his hands go. What a colossal mistake that was for the simple fact that Floyd was too fast and accurate for Miguel to try and wait and then react to what he did. There were so many patches during the bout when Cotto would get close to Mayweather and not make Mayweather do what he didn't want to. Miguel was too cautious and looked as if he was more concerned about going first and missing, and then being countered, which ultimately paralyzed him and opened the door for Mayweather to unload and score.

When Cotto tried to push the fight he did it in runs, something Mayweather quickly picked up on. Floyd knew that during the holes Cotto's inactivity provided that he could fill them and control the round. Again, Cotto's offense wasn't consistent and Mayweather knew he'd get his openings after Miguel's flurries. Lastly, what did Cotto gain by trying to bring Mayweather to him? He was constantly beat to the punch and had nothing to hit after Mayweather scored because Floyd moved back just enough to disrupt Cotto from getting off. That was apparent early and Miguel should've abandoned that tactic before the second round was over. It netted him nothing and put him down further in the scoring.

Before the fight it was said here that Cotto would probably get his faced chopped up if he fought as the attacker, but that didn't turn out to be the case. In reality, Cotto didn't pay much of a price for trying to carry the fight to Mayweather. It was also stated here that if Cotto didn't possess enough of an equalizer in his left hook, he'd have no shot to win. Well, he didn't. As evidenced during the fight, Mayweather was never shook or in trouble one time during the fight. Yes, he got hit more than he has since he fought Jose Luis Castillo 10 years ago, but he never had the look of a fighter who wished he was somewhere else.

When all is said an done, Cotto was trying to fight two styles against a fighter who had an answer for any and everything he attempted. It's easy to highlight what Cotto didn't do, but it's really more about Mayweather and how versatile and great he is. Floyd showed just how physically strong he is and won a lot of the inside exchanges where it was thought to be to Cotto's advantage (just as Sugar Ray Leonard did during his epic bout with Marvin Hagler). And if Cotto couldn't overwhelm Mayweather on the inside, what was left for him to do?

Mayweather did everything against Cotto, he boxed, he slugged, he used the ring, he fought as the aggressor and also fought off the ropes. He excelled in every facet and what's more is --- when he was pushed and it looked as if Cotto had something going, Mayweather, like all the greats have done before him, came out in the next round and immediately seized the control back of the fight. This illustrated his character and showed everyone watching that he is every bit as smart, tough and determined as he says he is.

Oh, he's also creative. Of course the broadcast never commented on this. But how many times did Mayweather make Cotto pay with something new he introduced during the fight? That is when he feinted a left hook, then feinted a straight right hand, only to turn it into a lead right hook and nail Cotto perfectly on the point of his chin. That was a thing of beauty to watch.

Because Mayweather has cherry picked opponents for a large portion of his career, he's been open to criticism regarding just how great or terrific he is. But he showed against Castillo in their rematch and Cotto this past weekend, when he's pushed he's very able and capable of answering the call. The problem is he hasn't faced enough of the upper-tier class of opponents who were around to push him.

As of this writing his signature win is beating Cotto. Yet, does that certify his greatness? Maybe, maybe not. It was said here before the fight that Mayweather waited for the right time to fight Cotto. I still believe that. But I must submit, based on their recent fight, I now believe Mayweather would've defeated Cotto at any point during their careers had they met. The fight was competitive between them but it was never in doubt that it was going to be Mayweather's night.

The only fighter who one can make a case for to beat Mayweather is Manny Pacquiao. Well nothing has changed on my part. The more I've seen of Mayweather and Pacquiao as of late, the more I'm convinced that Mayweather will beat Pacquiao by a clear cut decision and control the action most of the way.

The truth is, Floyd Mayweather is no doubt a great fighter. The unknown is we just don't know how great he is.

Comment on this article

deepwater says:

damn good fight. mayweather won 7 rounds to 5. if cotto won the 12 it shoulda been a draw. floyd never ever took this much punishment b4. cotto has nothing to be ashamed of. floyd might retire after getting a beating like he never got b4.

ali says:

Mayweather chin and toughness is underrated..

puncher says:

I have to disagree that Cotto did not let his hands go. He did as much as Floyd and it was Floyd the one that was avoiding Full Metal Contact with Cotto. Yes...Floyd has faster hands and did show, but not as much as stated in the article. Cotto did let his hands go at the right place and at the right time except in the last two rounds.

Floyd was the better man on Saturday...but Cotto was not far behind!

Coxs Corner says:

I agree with Frank 100%. Mayweather is a great fighter but we do not know how great because of his rather poor level of opposition over the years. He is not in the class of Ray Robinson-R. Leonard-Tommy Hearns at welterweight but is likely in the next tier with men like Emile Griffith-Luis Rodriguez, et al., although I would pick the latter men to beat him based on their high level of opposition.

As for Pacquiao I think he is on the decline and Mayweather will beat him. In 2009 I think its a different story perhaps but Mayweather will be able to outpoint Pacquiao at this stage of their careers.

michaelabii says:

Very good analysis. Mayweather was pushed but as usual showed superior stamina and in my opinion was punching harder in the closing championship rounds. Cotto had a great strategy and in effect was trying to catch Mayweather in between punches in the exchanges and he did succeed at this to some degree. Mayweathers defence is in reality his ring intelligence and anticipation which is second to none in the sport. Great defensive wizards like the once great Wilfredo Benitez had a radar like ability to slip punches by a hairs breadth while standing right in front of you (watch Hearns/Benitez to really see this). Mayweather intelligently anticipates where his opponents punches are coming from and rolls either under or parries the punches by raising not just his shoulder but his whole upper torso in different angles. You really end up punching at a taller or shorter person depending on how Mayweather chooses to use his now legendary defense.

MisterLee says:

I also think Compubox didn't count much of Cotto's body attacks, and his small hooks, jabs, and uppercuts inside. All good. The system, the HBO crew, and many viewers are biased. imo. I had Cotto winning 7 or 8 rounds to 5 or 4 for May.

Travis says:

Hats off to both guys Saturday night. I would say the fight exceeded most expectations. Mayweather did his thing, but it wasn't easy. Cotto used Mayweathers fighting style. Great defense, good counter punching, which isn't easy against Mayweather. Cotto used his jab quite a bit which was key. It wouldn't have hurt to pump it a little more, but he did a great job. Mayweather also fought a great fight. He was fighting a fierce Cotto, who when on his game is about the best out there. People have been saying Cotto is one foot out the door for a while now. But to compete against Mayweather like he did, shows me otherwise. Myself, I don't enjoy Mayweather when he goes above 147. He loses a half step, and he's a fighter that depends on speed and fast reflexes. I also feel he is aging slightly. This is one reason why he has been stalking his opponents more recently. Counter punching isn't as easy as it used to be for him.
Mayweather did make several good adjustments during the fight, which is another reason why he is the best. His straight right wasn't a threat early, so he used a wide right. Again Cotto's D blocked many of those shots, but they still jostle your head around.
The left uppercuts came in the later rounds as well.

Styles make fights, people compare this fight to PAC vs Cotto.
PAC got a late stoppage where May went to decision. PAC vs Marquez trilogy has been one of the closest in history. May dominated Marquez. Shane Mosley knocked Marg out! Where PAC could not. And both PAC and May dominated Sugar. We could go on and on about catchweights, timing, etc. I feel $ Mayweather is the best boxer in the game, and the best defensive fighter ever, which many people don't enjoy.

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