The fight comes in the aftermath of the failed negotiations to make a bout between Mayweather and WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao, who appears close to locking in WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley as his next opponent, accoring to the fighters’ promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
“Floyd always asks us to find the best available competition for him to fight, and we have found that in Miguel Cotto,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions.
“This is a very risky fight for Floyd as Miguel is a solid 154-pound champion who has already proven to have great boxing abilities and to be a very competent and strong puncher. This is a big test for Floyd, but as always, I believe he is the superior fighter with unmatched skills.”
Cotto, 31, is coming off December’s 10th-round stoppage of ex-beltholder Antonio Margarito at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which avenged his 11th-round knockout loss in July of 2008.
The Margarito win was the third straight stoppage for Cotto since being dethroned as WBO welterweight beltholder by Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) in November of 2009.
Cotto took the WBA 154-pound title from Yuri Foreman by ninth-round stoppage in his junior middleweight debut in June of 2010, and vanquished ex-beltholder Ricard Mayorga via 12th-round knockout in March.
“I am here to fight the biggest names in boxing. I’ve never ducked anyone or any challenge in front of me,” said Cotto, who counts as perhaps his biggest career triumph a unanimous decision over Shane Mosley in November of 2007.
“I have accepted everything to give the fans what they like — great and exciting fights. That is what the sport of boxing is all about; making the fights that the fans want and deserve to see. On May 5, stay tuned, because I will convincingly beat Floyd Mayweather.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR SAUL ALVAREZ?
Mayweatther had been considering as an opponent, 21-year-old WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez., who is 39-0-1, with 29 knockouts.
With Mayweather out of the picture, however, Schaefer said finding an opponent for Alvarez is among his next big tasks.
“We’ll be working in the next day something toward finalizing the next fight for Canelo. We’ll see what’s going to happen,” said Schaefer. “But there is actually a possibility that Canelo could be a co-feature on May 5.”
AMIR KHAN TARGETS MAY 19
Schaefer said that Amir Khan will not wait for Peterson, who dethroned him as IBF/WBA titleholder last month by disputed split-decison. Khan has an HBO-designated date of May 19 at a venue to be determined, according to Schaefer.
The WBA has ordered an immediate rematch with Peterson in response to an appeal by Khan, although Peterson is also considering a clash with Marquez slated for July 14 at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.
Peterson earned $650,000 against $1.1 million for Khan, and in the interest of a rematch, has been offered by Schaefer “$1.5 million” and “a 50-50 split of world-wide revenues” for a return bout.
Photo by Chris Farina – Top Rank
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org