Lem Satterfield

Ring Kings: Mayweather-Cotto, set for May 5

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. believes himself capable of scoring a knockout against WBA junior middleweight titleholder, Miguel Cotto, even though he could not do so the last time he fought at 154 pounds. That first appearance as a junior middleweight was back in May of 2007, when Mayweather took Oscar De La Hoya’s WBC belt by split-decision.

Mayweather blamed the fact that he couldn’t stop De La Hoya on the size of the gloves rather than any lack of power in his own fists during the second day of a three-city press tour promoting his May 5 clash with Cotto at The Apollo Theatre in New York City on Tuesday.

“Against De La Hoya, they gave me heavyweight gloves. They gave me 10-ounce gloves,” said Mayweather, who will pursue his eighth title belt over five weight classes against Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.  “We are requesting eight ounce gloves for this one. Hopefully, we can get them. We want blood, sweat and tears for this one.”

Mayweather, who turned 35 on Feb. 24, is coming off a fourth-round knockout of WBC welterweight beltholder Victor Ortiz last September. Since he’s a titleholder at 147 pounds, and Cotto holds a major belt at 154 pounds, the event was dubbed “Ring Kings: Mayweather vs. Cotto.”

Mayweather and Cotto visited San Juan Puerto Rico on Monday and will be in Los Angeles on Thursday.

“Miguel Cotto is a world class fighter who can never be taken for lightly and continues to prove he is one of the best in boxing. It will be a challenge for me to compete with him at this weight,” said Mayweather, who is 42-0, with 26 knockouts.

“But this is the type of test I thrive on, and gives me the motivation to train even harder. I have no doubt in my mind that my title belt collection will increase once again and Cotto’s reign as champion will come to an end on May 5.”

Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs), who is 31, has won three straight fights, all by knockout, since being dethroned as WBO welterweight titleholder following a 12th-round stoppage loss to Manny Pacquiao in November of 2009.

Cotto will make the third defense of the belt he won during his 154-pound debut by ninth-round knockout over Yuri Foreman in June of 2010, and is coming off December’s 10th-round knockout of Antonio Margarito.

Cotto’s triumph over Margarito avenged an 11th-round knockout and his first career loss, which cost him the WBA’s welterweight belt in July of 2008. But Mayweather is ready to halt Cotto’s momentum, as did Margarito and Pacquiao.

“I just feel like if a guy has hit the canvas before, it’s in the back of his mind that he can go down again,” said Mayweather. “I’m quick on the draw, and you have Antonio Margarito, who was landing a lot, and he’s slow. We attack quick. We’ve been hit with good shots before, and like a true champion, shake it right off.”

altCotto is not concerned about Mayweather’s reputation.

“I am here to fight the biggest names in boxing. I’ve never ducked anyone or any challenge in front of me. I have accepted everything to give the fans what they like–great and exciting fights,” said Cotto. “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.”

On the Mayweather-Cotto undercard, WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (39-0-1, 29 KOs) will face five-time title winner Shane Mosley (46-7-1, 39 KOs).

In returning to the MGM, Mosley, 40, is returning to the site where he suffered a unanimously decision loss to Pacquiao nearly a year ago to the day — May 5 of last year.

Mosley last win was a ninth-round knockout of Margarito more than three years ago on in January of 2009. Margarito had never before been stopped.

After that, however, Mosley lost a one-sided decision to Mayweather, and battled to a draw with Sergio Mora in May and September of 2010, respectively.

Other than a close unanimous decision loss to Cotto in November of 2007, Mosley has performed well opposite Latino fighters.

Mosley has twice beaten De La Hoya — the second time for both the WBC’s and WBA’s junior middleweight belts in September of 2003 — scored consecutive knockouts over former world champion Fernando Vargas in 2006 and Ricardo Mayorga in 2008.

“I’m excited to work with Golden Boy Promotions again and for this opportunity to fight Canelo,” said Mosley.  “It’s going to be a big night for boxing fans around the world.”

Alvarez is after the fourth straight knockout in as many defenses of the belt he won by unanimous decision over Matthew Hatton last March, and he’s coming off a fifth-round knockout of former welterweight beltholder Kermit Cintron in November.

“Shane Mosley is very experienced and strong. He knows how to move in the ring and remember, he did hurt Floyd Mayweather,” said Alvarez, who, at 21 years old, is nearly half Mosley’s age.

“Mosley is still highly respected and has done so much for this sport. I think he is an opponent that will give me a lot of experience, but I have youth on my side. That is my advantage.  I am going for the victory which will continue my path into the boxing big leagues.”

COTTO: DEAL TO FIGHT MAYWEATHER WAS “BETTER” THAN PACQUIAO

Among the reasons Cotto bypassed a rematch with Pacquiao to face Mayweather was that he would “not fight below 150 pounds,” adding, “Mayweather Jr. said he has no problem going up to 154 to fight me.”

“Pacquiao is the one who objected and wants me to once again come down to a weight between 145 and 147 pounds,” said Cotto, in an earlier story on RingTV.com.

“If Pacquiao had no trouble going up to 150 to fight [Antonio] Margarito, why is there a set requirement for me to go down again?” “Does he fear me? If Pacquiao wants to fight me again, it must be above 150 pounds. I will not continue to sacrifice my body to lose weight.”

In New York on Tuesday, Cotto praised Mayweather for rising in weight to face him, and said that the deal to face the unbeaten, seven-time titlewinner was more suitable than that to face Pacquiao.

“We speak with [Golden Boy Promotions CEO] Richard Schaefer and the people from Mayweather camp. After that we went to Vegas and spoke with Top Rank. The offer we received from Mayweather was better,” said Cotto.

“We received better benefits from Mayweather. It was strictly business…He didn’t make a catch weight. He wanted my title and he came to my division and he faced me at my weight,” said Cotto.

“That’s what a real sportsman does…That’s good. He doesn’t take advantage of anything. He just made the fight the way that it ought to be made.”

Cotto said that he believes that his size will be an advantage, but that he will not sacrifice speed against Mayweather.

“My advantage is the weight class –154 is my weight. Power is going to be on my side. But I have to put other things like speed and movement on the upper level for this fight,” said Cotto, who hopes to negate Mayweather’s speed “The same way I handled Shane Mosley a few years ago.”

“People said he had that advantage over me. His speed is the same. We want to work on everything, pressure, movement…This is going to be that kind of fight, like the fight with Mosley,” said Cotto.

“I’m going to have in front of me, Floyd Mayweather, the biggest boxer in our sport right now. I’m going to train for that kind of fight, like when I trained for the Mosley fight.”

altIS MAYWEATHER’S LEGACY SECURE WITHOUT PACQUIAO?

“Absolutely,” said Mayweather.

“It’s so crazy that before you heard of Pacquiao, people were saying [about Mayweather] that this is one of the best fighters that ever lived,” said Mayweather. “Now all of a sudden, this guy comes out of nowhere, and people say Floyd can’t go down as the all-time greatest if he doesn’t fight this guy.”

Mayweather points to his one-sided victory in September of 2009 over RING lightweight champion, Juan Manuel Marquez, who has battled Pacquiao through a draw and disputed losses by split-decision, and, majority decision, the latter, in November.

“This is the same guy that just lost, and the media knows he lost,” said Mayweather. “I was off two years and came back and fought Marquez and it was an easy fight for me. Not saying that Marquez is not a Hall of Famer. But I can only speak about what I’ve done.”

 

 

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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