By Dan Hunter
The majority of clear thinking fight fans (plus Floyd’s legion of fanatical followers) can clearly see that logic decrees that the unbeaten defensive genius that is Mayweather should be just too fast, too skillful and too darned unhitable for Cotto, and should therefore negotiate his way to yet another unanimous, if somewhat dull, points decision victory.
- Cotto is still a very dangerous fighter. The Puerto Rican powerhouse gave Manny Pacquiao what he later described as ”the toughest fight of my career” in November 2009. Since then, Cotto has won three straight, looking so-so in wins over Yuri Foreman and Ricardo Mayorga, but sensational against Antonio Margarito last December, hammering the man who had controversially (many believe the Mexican was using the same plaster-of-Paris inserts he was caught attempting to fight Mosley with six months later) battered him to his first defeat in July 2008. Far from looking like a ‘shot’ fighter, Cotto displayed a whole new level of boxing skill as well as his usual punching power in forcing Margarito to retire after ten one-sided rounds.
- Mayweather has always struggled with big, strong aggressive fighters. Many fight fans believe that Mayweather’s ledger should read 41-1, 40-2 or even 39-3 instead of the perfect 42-0 it currently is. Why? Because many believe that he was clearly beaten by Jose Luis Castillo in 2002, should have lost to Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, and some even think that Mayweather lost his rematch with Castillo also. Without doubt, his bouts with Castillo and De La Hoya – both agressive boxer-punchers – were the hardest of his career, and in Cotto he faces just such a fighter, plus a fighter that looks powerful at 154 lbs while still retaining his outstanding offensive skills.
- Only sluggers bother Cotto, and Mayweather can’t punch. Not since his days as a junior lightweight, anyway. At 130 lbs Floyd was a destructive puncher, scoring 20 KOs in 27 wins before moving up to lightweight. Since then, he has scored just six stoppages in fifteen fights. Clearly, unlike Pacquiao, Mayweather has not taken his power with him as he has climbed the weight classes. His two inside the distance victories in the last seven years were against weak chinned junior welterweight Ricky Hatton and his blindside win last year over Victor Ortiz, an opponent who was walking through Floyd’s best punches up until then. Cotto defeated the super skillful Zab Judah and Shane Mosley when both were at their peaks, and has only lost to ferocious punchers Margarito and Pacquiao.
- Floyd’s style is based on his reflexes, and they are clearly slipping. Mayweather was rocked by a big right hand from Shane Mosley in 2010 in the second round. It was the first time he had been tagged so cleanly since Zab Judah briefly floored him (unofficially) in 2006. Against the crude but game Ortiz, Mayweather was roughed up like never before. Although he was scoring and winning rounds, one couldn’t help but wonder what a more skillful, accurate and technically adept fighter like Cotto would have done with a Floyd that was so easy to get to.
- Mayweather cannot help but be distracted by his impending prison stretch. US penitentiaries are scary places full of scary people. There are going to be any number of mean ”mofos” with nothing much to lose looking to make a name for themselves by taking down Mayweather, and one can only imagine what hardened jail birds will make of a preening prima donna who calls himself ”Pretty Boy!” Floyd stands only 5’8” and weighs barely 150 lbs, and in prison there are no weight classes. Even though Mayweather’s celebrity status and wealth should smooth his prison stretch over – he must still be losing sleep over it!