This article was originally published in the June 2012 issue of THE RING magazine, which is on sale now.
Floyd Mayweather deserves his status as one of the best boxers of his generation but the future hall of famer has also earned his share of criticism because of his overly cautious selection of opponents since leaving the lightweight division almost 10 years ago.
Mayweather fought former welterweight beltholders DeMarcus Corley and Zab Judah immediately after the southpaws suffered defeats. He took on reigning 140-pound champ Ricky Hatton at welterweight, after the British star had proven to be decidedly less-than-formidable at 147 pounds. Mayweather also fought Juan Manuel Marquez, who had never fought above 135 pounds, at welterweight (and didn’t bother to honor a contract that required he weigh no more than 144 pounds). The careful moves helped make him the undefeated superstar he is today but also garnered considerable resentment from many hardcore fans.
But nobody can fault Mayweather’s choice to face Miguel Cotto, the current WBA 154-pound titleholder, on May 5. Mayweather elected to go up in weight to fight the Puerto Rican star, who has won three consecutive fights, at junior middleweight.
For the first time in a long while, Mayweather (42-0, 26 knockouts) does not have almost every advantage over his opponent. Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs), who at 31 is four years younger than Mayweather, is the stronger and harder-punching fighter. He has also exhibited good technique since he was stopped by Manny Pacquiao in late 2009. But will his current form, comfortable weight and strength advantage be enough to challenge Mayweather?
That’s what this comparison – which matches both veterans in 20 categories – aims to find out. Each fighter will be rated on a scale of 0 to 5 in each category. A score of 100 would denote a perfect fighter, which Mayweather believes he is. But is he? And how close does Cotto come to matching Mayweather? Let’s find out.