LAS VEGAS — WBC welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. headlines the main event of Saturday night’s HBO Pay Per View-televised card from the MGM Grand, challenging WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto, a man he considers to be undefeated even though Cotto has suffered two knockout losses.
But Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) dismisses the setbacks, contending that Margarito’s gloves were loaded, and that Cotto was physically drained against Pacquiao, whom he fought at a contracted catchweight of 145 pounds.
Margarito had an illegal plaster-like substance that was discovered and removed from his handwraps prior to his ninth-round stoppage loss to former champ Shane Mosley in January of 2009, leading to speculation that he may have been dirty against Cotto.
Cotto avenged the loss to Margarito by 10th-round knockout victory last December, a triumph that represented his third straight stoppage since falling to Pacquiao.
The win over Margarito was Cotto’s first under new trainer, Pedro Diaz, a PhD in Pedagogical Sciences and an ex-university professor in sports science, whom he credits with helping to restore his confidence.
But will that duo be able to fashion a strategy to handle the wizardry of Mayweather?
RingTV.com picked the brains of 24 boxing aficionados concerning what they believe will transpire when Mayweather and Cotto meet.
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Miguel Cotto: Floyd Mayweather will just outbox Miguel Cotto. His defense is too good and he’s too quick. As good as Cotto has been fighting lately, I’m not sure that he’s good enough to beat Mayweather.
Mayweather knows that the clock is running on him, and he’s going to make every fight that he fights now a very special performance.
Floyd Mayweather TKO 10 Miguel Cotto: The first few rounds will be competitive, with Miguel Cotto probably edging a stanza or two. But at around round four, Floyd will figure out his opponent as he always does.
He will find his mark and make Cotto pay with his patented lead right hands as he walks him into shots. By round eight, he’ll be pot-shotting a bloodied Cotto, who will be in dire straits, which will force the bout to be stopped. Mayweather by TKO in 10.
Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press
Floyd Mayweather W 12 Miguel Cotto: You know, I like Floyd Mayweather in what will probably be a more interesting Mayweather fight than the ones that we’ve seen recently.
I think that Miguel Cotto will give him some trouble early and press the issue, but I think that ultimately Mayweather triumphs in a 12-round decision.
Floyd Mayweather W 12 Miguel Cotto: Miguel Cotto is a seasoned and brilliant championship fighter, but he is up against a genius in Floyd Mayweather Jr. The boxing maestro that Mayweather is, he will work Cotto out as the rounds progress.
Mayweather is clearly up for this test, and the way in which he has spoken of the Puerto Rican’s abilities will guarantee that he is on his mettle. There may be a few harum-scarum moments for Mayweather, but his defensive skills, and ring smarts will be just be too sharp for Cotto.
Indeed, Cotto, like Juan Manuel Marquez did, like Ricky Hatton did, may well bring out the very best of ‘Money’ Mayweather. The fact that it is only Mayweather’s second bout at light-middle will not be an issue for him. Mayweather will march on unbeaten to 43-0. Mayweather wins by points victory.
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Miguel Cotto: I like Floyd Mayweather on points in a surprisingly competitive and entertaining fight. I think both boxers have the ability to hurt each other and that will produce drama and excitement during the bout.
I believe Mayweather will hurt Cotto first, and he’ll do so early in the bout with a one-two combination or a lead hook. I think Floyd will try to make a statement by going for the kill, and that Cotto, who is a good counter puncher, will clip — and hurt — Mayweather with a counter hook.
Once both fighters have recovered and settled down, I think Cotto will attempt to walk Mayweather down behind his jab while the odds-on favorite waits for another opportunity to hurt and maybe KO the defending titleholder. Cotto’s heavy jab will bother Mayweather.
The few times Floyd’s back touches the ropes, the Puerto Rican will punish him with body shots. But Mayweather will land cleaner power shots to the head. I think he’ll repeatedly rock Cotto and bust up the underdog’s face as they head into the late rounds. Mayweather will take command down the stretch, and reverse the roles by stalking a backpedaling Cotto.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. TKO 11 Miguel Cotto: Multiply Manny Pacquiao’s speed by a factor or two, and you get an approximation of the challenge facing Miguel Cotto, who lost a 12th-round stoppage to Pacquiao in 2009. Cotto is tough and smart. He also proved he can change.
He adjusted his style for a dramatic victory over Antonio Margarito in a rematch. But in terms of how to judge his chances against Mayweather, his newfound mobility against Margarito is an illusion. Granite monuments are quicker than Margarito. Cotto’s best, perhaps only, chance is early.
Cotto can spring the upset if he can crack Mayweather with his potent left during the first few rounds and capitalize in a way that Shane Mosley didn’t after rocking Mayweather with right hands in the second round of a 2010 bout.
But the guess here is Mayweather’s defensive wizardry will keep him out of harm’s way long enough to deliver a late-round stoppage with stinging precision that will bruise, then bloody, the vulnerable scar tissue surrounding Cotto’s eyes.
Floyd Mayweather W 12 Miguel Cotto: For someone who has been in the pro game 16 years, Floyd Mayweather is remarkably preserved. He still has the quick hands and the even quicker brain, though his legs aren’t nearly as mobile as they once had been.
No matter. Mayweather is still the faster man and he hits hard enough to gain most opponents’ respect. Miguel Cotto showed against Manny Pacquiao that speed really bothers him, and he’ll likely end up being a step behind Mayweather all night.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. UD 12 Miguel Cotto: Floyd Mayweather has too much speed and will outbox Miguel Cotto and will win on points in a close unanimous decision.
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Miguel Cotto: Anyone who assumes this fight will be anything other than a procession for Floyd Mayweather’s mercurial skills is mistaken. This will be a rout of magnificent proportions even if on paper Miguel Cotto is a formidable opponent who’s engaged in a fistful of profitable and exciting fights.
Cotto’s exciting, in part because of his attack-minded approach, but also because of his unpredictable frailties. Put alongside Floyd Mayweather though, he will look as slow and lumbering as every other of Mayweather’s opponents – unable to think past the default pressing tactic that all past vanquished have tried and failed at.
Dealing with Mayweather’s lighting fast hands and even quicker brain is one of the hardest challenges in all of sports. While this won’t quite be an Arturo Gatti beat-down for Mayweather, it will nevertheless be one-way traffic in the mould of his bout with Juan Manuel Marquez. Mayweather by unanimous decision by 11-to-1, or, 12-0 in rounds.
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Miguel Cotto: Miguel Cotto will try to slow down Floyd Mayweather by going after his body early and often. Doing effective work to Mayweather’s body won’t be easy, however, because Mayweather is perhaps the best defensive fighter in boxing.
Eventually, Mayweather’s speed and skill will be too much for Cotto in a fight that comes about four or five years too late. Mayweather will win in convincing fashion.
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Miguel Cotto: I like Floyd Mayweather by decision. I give Miguel Cotto a much better chance than most people give him. But I think Mayweather is too good of a boxer.
Mayweather’s hands are too fast, and I think he knows how to fight guys like Cotto. So I think that Cotto will give him some moments, but I think that Mayweather will win a decision.
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Miguel Cotto: I like Floyd Mayweather by wide decision over Miguel Cotto. He’s too fast, too quick and a much fresher fighter.
Miguel Cotto TKO 11 Floyd Mayweather: I think this fight has potential to be a very good one. On a personal level, Floyd Mayweather is the best and most complete boxer I have ever seen. But Miguel Cotto is the best fighter I have ever competed against, so I have a lot of curiosity about the fight.
Mayweather is 35, yet still looks good and looked great in stopping Victor Ortiz in September. Cotto, though, is not Victor Ortiz. Cotto is much more mentally tough and has a more focused determination in these big fights. Cotto is not the kind of guy that you just have an easy night against.
Even if you beat him, you will know afterward that you were in a fight. If Floyd can actually win this fight easily, it would make him even greater than I already feel that he is. But I don’t expect an easy night. I expect a very good fight.
Personally, I think this is the only fight Floyd Mayweather has a legit chance of losing. And if he doesn’t lose it, I don’t see anyone else beating him — even Many Paquiao. Styles make fights, and Miguel has a style that can trouble good boxers.
Floyd is rightfully the favorite, and he’s fighting at home in a Las Vegas ring, which is very spacious and very fast, and that will help. If he wins this, I’ll say it again, no one will beat him. People are going to think I’m crazy but I pick Cotto by late-round stoppage, possibly on a body shot.
I don’t think Miguel can win a decision, and even if he does, he wouldn’t get that decision. I expect a great fight, and I respect both fighters a ton. But I’m pickin’ the upset. Cotto by TKO win in either round 11 or round 12. I know, I’m crazy, but that’s my pick.
Floyd Mayweather UD12 Miguel Cotto. While his pending jail time, heavier gloves at 154 pounds, and eight months of inactivity should not be ignored, it would still be wishful thinking to pick against Floyd Mayweather, who I think will outbox Cotto over 12 rounds. Cotto is enjoying a renaissance with new trainer Pedro Diaz.
But Mayweather will not approach him in a straight line the way a faded Antonio Margarito did last year. I expect Floyd to find ways to stay off the ropes for prolonged periods of time and avoid Miguel’s left hand to unleash the harder, cleaner shots en route to a decisive victory.
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Miguel Cotto: Miguel Cotto is a counter puncher, and he’s going up probably against the premiere counter puncher in the game. So It’s a difficult way for him to try to succeed in the fight.
I think that Floyd Mayweather’s speed is going to be way too much for him. I would be a little bit surprised if he has success that way. I would be surprised if Cotto won a single round of the fight.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. UD 12 Miguel Cotto: The only thing that you can say about Miguel Cotto is that maybe he has the style. Everybody wants to know how to beat Floyd Mayweather, and they look at Jose Luis Castillo as the man who came closest to actually beating him.
Maybe Cotto has the style to back Floyd up, bully him a little bit and maybe make it a little bit rough for him. Floyd doesn’t have the lateral movement that he used to have.
He stands in front of you a lot more. So maybe he’s also compensating for something. I think that he has adapted his style to compensate a little bit. You can make that case. If Cotto comes in behind his stance and has a good jab, I could see that happening for maybe a couple of rounds.
Floyd just likes to take his time and he could use the first couple of rounds to figure out what’s going on. And then, once he has Cotto timed, he’s going to start lashing out from behind that shoulder roll, and Miguel’s just going to keep walking into punches. I think that it will become more and more one-sided.
I can see Floyd stopping Miguel, and I can also see him being happy with a decision. Mayweather wins, and I’ll say by a decision, but a late-round stoppage would not shock me.
Jack Obermayer, USA Boxing News
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Miguel Cotto: Oh how I wish Miguel Cotto could put a lickin’ on “Money”, but that ain’t gonna happen. Cotto was top flight stuff back when.
But tough fights, as well as facing a superior ring man will say “paid” to his distinguished career. Floyd Mayweather cuts him up and chops him up. Lucky to make it the full 12.
Floyd Mayweather KO 10 Miguel Cotto: I just don’t believe the hype as far as Miguel Cotto being completely re-invented. If you go back through his run at 154, Yuri Foreman was coming into that fight with a knee injury. And his knee blew out on him during the fight.
Ricardo Mayorga hadn’t won a fight in years until right before he came into the fight with Miguel Cotto. Mayorga was coming off of a layoff of at least two years or so from the Shane Mosley knockout. And that was a very competitive fight, even though Mayorga was coming off that layoff.
Even when you go into the Antonio Margarito rematch, Cotto outboxed him in the rematch. But from what I saw, I thought Cotto was starting to slow down at the point where that fight got stopped, and I thought that Margarito was starting to come on a little bit.
If they didn’t stop the fight because of the eye, and maybe if the eye didn’t get blown up, who know what would have happened? So coming into this fight, I think that Floyd Mayweather’s speed will be the biggest factor in the fight, and I think that Miguel Cotto’s just not fast enough.
I think that Mayweather’s going to stop inside the distance, inside the later rounds. If I had to pick a round, I would say in the 10th. I think that it can be competitive for as long as a couple of rounds, maybe similar to Cotto in the Pacquiao fight, where it was competitive for a couple of rounds. But I think that the speed’s going to take over.
Floyd Mayweather UD 12 Miguel Cotto: When Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto were both forces at 140 pounds, I always favored Mayweather in such a matchup. It’s years later, and that hasn’t changed.
I expect a very competitive fight early on, but I see Mayweather taking control of the contest by the mid-rounds and see him pulling out a convincing unanimous decision.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. TKO12 Miguel Cotto: Floyd Mayweather may see Miguel Cotto as undefeated, but Cotto’s body tells a different story. Since the first Antonio Margarito fight, Cotto has had problems with swelling and the accuracy of Mayweather will bring it to the fore.
Mayweather won’t have an easy night, and should have trouble with Cotto’s counter jab, but Floyd’s reaction to fighters who bring it offensively has usually been to answer, and with a chip on his shoulder.
For Cotto, it will mean a fight where the punishment mounts and one where the late rounds see him too easy to hit. Mayweather has a big chance to score a stoppage late, though a decision win might be the more likely outcome.
Floyd Mayeather UD 12 Miguel Cotto: I think Floyd Mayweather is just too fast and too good for this version of Miguel Cotto, who remains capable, but is not quite what he was. Mayweather will win a one-sided decision.
Floyd Mayweather KO 10 Miguel Cotto: I can see Miguel Cotto coming at Floyd Mayweather — coming at him, and coming at him.
I can also see Mayweather side-stepping Cotto’s charges and tapping him with quick, accurate jabs, mixed in with an occasional power punch.
I can see Mayweather eventually making Cotto’s face look as if was worked through a meat grinder, and eventually, the fight getting stopped late on cuts.