Mayweather vs. Cotto: Thoughts on the Super Fight


By Hans Olson

“I’ve liked the idea of Mayweather/Cotto since 06/07!!!”

That’s what I wrote in my Mayweather column yesterday.

That’s weird, quoting myself…

Although Saul Alvarez was heavily rumored to get the shot at “Money” on May 5, the Cotto rumors were picking up steam by late last night…

With Floyd Mayweather, you just never know what direction he’s going to go in. There’s a certain level of showmanship and intrigue he carries that many others simply do not have. It’s in this way that Floyd Mayweather never disappoints in his announcements. There’s always a strange element of surprise—even when it’s something that you thought could be probable.

Although I’ve wanted to see Floyd fight Cotto for years, there was always a thought in the back of my mind that it wouldn’t happen for a number of reasons. It’s noteworthy that Miguel Cotto’s contract with Top Rank expired after his fight with Antonio Margarito late last year…

If only Manny Pacquiao weren’t with Top Rank…

But that’s another story for another day.

Today, it’s all about Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto.

Floyd will be going up in weight (not forcing Cotto down to a catchweight as Pacquiao did in 2009) in his second fight at 154—the first having been his clash with Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.

“Miguel Cotto is a world class fighter who can never be taken for granted and continues to prove he is one of the best in boxing,” said Mayweather in today’s press release. “It will be a challenge for me to compete with him at this weight, 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 again and Cotto’s reign as champion will end on May 5.”

Miguel Cotto, who has been on a roll since the Pacquiao loss, is confident he can be the first man to beat the 42-0 Mayweather.

“I am here to fight the biggest names in boxing,” said Cotto in the same presser. “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. 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.”

Doing so will be a considerable task, but not impossible. Cotto comes into the contest having fully established himself as a jr middleweight, defeating the likes of Yuri Foreman (TKO9); Ricardo Mayorga (TKO12); and Antonio Margarito (RTD10).

Floyd enters the fight having only fought four rounds in almost two years.

The thing is…he’s Floyd Mayweather.

The lack of activity from Floyd has been by design. He’s been able to maintain his health; he’s much younger in “fight years” than Cotto is…although it’s Miguel with the actual age advantage.

And though it was only 4 rounds that Floyd fought last September before knocking out Victor Ortiz, he showed no signs of a diminishing talent. His speed and reflexes were as good as they’ve ever been. There were moments of sheer electricity when Floyd let his hands go, and his ability to counter and nullify anything that Ortiz did was dazzling to watch.

But even if Miguel Cotto does bring a certain amount of wear and tear that he didn’t have back in 2007 (when fans originally wanted this fight to happen), he brings in a more developed style in 2012. The composure and ring generalship that Miguel possesses doesn’t happen overnight, and a savvy veteran may be someone who can give Floyd fits.

Then again…he’s Floyd Mayweather.

One thing is for sure, is that this is going to be an major, major, event.

A few final thoughts…

Can we all stop talking about how May 5 was the date chosen by Floyd because it was written in stone that he was going to fight a Mexican on Cinco de Mayo? Bob Arum was quoted by Boxing Scene’s Chris LaBate last November as saying “they bullshitted the MGM to get the date, to get May 5. So they cut us out of getting May 5. But we don’t need May 5 because we’re not fighting a Spanish guy next. But they want May 5 because they’re fighting Morales.”

Miguel Cotto is Puerto Rican…so I guess this pay-per-view will be a failure right???

I know Saul Alvarez is Mexican, and that would have been part of the promotion…but it wasn’t what was going to make or break that fight from happening. Everyone in boxing— from the writers, to the promoters, to the fighters, and fans…need to enter 2012 like the rest of the world and stop assuming certain ethnic groups, and those from certain countries only care about fighters who share their ethnicity or national background.

The Super Bowl is in Indianapolis this week. According to a 2010 Census, nearly 60% of the Indianapolis population is white. Imagine if figures like that were discussed in the NFL’s promotion of the game?

“Well, you know…the game will do such big business in that area because Eli Manning and Tom Brady are white!!! There are so many white people who will root for these two guys!!!”

Give me a break.

Nobody cares about this stuff anymore. The racial element of boxing is something that few people address, but it’s a problem. Albert Einstein once said “nationalism is an infantile disease.”

Let’s stop being kids here and just watch the fights.

Finally…

Can everybody STOP saying Floyd Mayweather “ducks” and “avoids” fights? If you eliminate any bias and study the last two years of negotiations between Floyd and Manny…it’s pretty easy to see who is to blame for Mayweather/Pacquiao not happening. It’s also worth noting that guys like Floyd, Manny, and Miguel are at the stage in their careers where they each dictate who and when they fight. All three of them fought their best competition years ago to get to where they each are today.

It’s a younger generation of fighters like Andre Ward and Timothy Bradley who need to be called out for “ducking” fights. Both Ward and Bradley are excellent fighters, but fighters who have not established themselves as ticket-sellers, pay-per-view attractions, or worthy of their P4P coronations. The way Bradley called out and then ducked Amir Khan, and the way that Ward did the same with Lucian Bute is setting a bad precedent going forward. For people to constantly ridicule Floyd Mayweather for what he has accomplished is not only insane, but it’s a tired stance that holds little merit and one that needs to be put to rest.

Get ready for May 5!

Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson.

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