On Cinco de Mayo Saturday (or Cinco de Mayweather as some called it), Floyd Mayweather proved yet again that he’s arguably the top boxer in the world. Mayweather faced a larger, more powerful and very game Miguel Cotto and did what he’s done 43 other times — turn him away the loser. Save for a few rounds in which Cotto looked like the hungrier fighter, Mayweather’s spotless record wasn’t in any trouble of being undone.
Mayweather looked like he was maybe on his B or B- game and still lost only two rounds on two scorecards and three on another. Personally, I had him losing three rounds with one other that was close. My friend and co-writer at Fight Game Blog, Duan Greally wrote the story of the fight for Cotto in his preview for our website.
He (Cotto) needs to rattle Floyd early and take the sting out of the fight. Otherwise he’s just going to be beaten to the punch and frustrated all night.
That’s nearly exactly what happened. In the rounds that Cotto won, he was the aggressor, forcing Mayweather against the ropes, throwing power punches and putting Mayweather on the defensive without space to manever. But when Mayweather was on the offensive, he fired a barrage of punches from straight right-hands, to uppercuts, to hooks, and a wider right-hook that banged near Cotto’s ear and Cotto could do nothing but try to cover up and take the shots. It was a fight in which Mayweather decided that rather than make Cotto miss, he’d rather make Cotto hurt. Cotto’s face was swelled up from the first round on, but you have to give Cotto credit; he never wavered, kept coming, and made Mayweather bang.
Mayweather had one blemish on his face, which was a bloody left nostril that came from a stiff Cotto job. But he might’ve taken a hit to his pride. He wanted desperately to put Cotto away and even buckled him in the 12th round. But he was fighting Cotto’s fight at Cotto’s weight, and maybe, just maybe, he was a bit mortal. Was it age? Was it the fact that he was fighting in a weight class above? Whatever it was, Mayweather wasn’t his sharpest nor his strongest. This wasn’t the same Mayweather who was able to hit Victor Ortiz twice before Ortiz was even able to react.
Mayweather detractors will point to Cotto’s fight with Manny Pacquiao a few years ago as proof that Mayweather is losing his step. In that fight, Pacquiao stopped Cotto, but that Miguel Cotto wasn’t the same as this one. That Miguel Cotto was haunted by his fight with Antonio Margarito which may not have been clean since Margarito was caught loading his gloves in his very next fight. He also had to make 150 pounds which drained him. Mayweather belabored the fact that he wanted Cotto at his full strength at 154 pounds rather than at a catch weight. But Pacquiao fans may have a point.
A top flight Manny Pacquiao may have been able to handle this Floyd Mayweather. But then again, any version of Floyd Mayweather would’ve probably beaten the Manny Pacquiao who eked out a victory over Juan Manuel Marquez last year. At the post-fight press conference, Mayweather said the fight with Pacquiao would probably never happen. He and Pacquiao’s promotor Bob Arum don’t get along and he doesn’t want to split the purse 50/50, which is more of a pissing contest than anything else when you make a minimum of 32 million dollars a fight, like Floyd made tonight.
If the Pacquiao fight isn’t on the table for Mayweather, and personally, I don’t think it will ever happen both for the reasons Mayweather stated above, and also, because I don’t truly believe Team Pacquiao would agree to Mayweather’s blood testing demands, including wanting Pacquiao to train solely US because he’ll be easier to test. Pacquaio usually begins his training camp in the Philippines.
So what’s next for Mayweather? He’s headed to jail on June 1 for an 87-day sentence for a domestic battery conviction. After that, it’s not clear. It was thought that Mayweather could fight young and up and coming superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who beat up Sugar Shane Mosley for most of 12 rounds in the semi-main event last night. But I think that would be a mistake for Canelo and Golden Boy as well as Mayweather. Even though Mayweather would be a heavy, heavy favorite to beat the young Alvarez, it might be best for him to stay out of the 154-pound division. The last time he fought at the weight before last night, he beat Oscar De La Hoya in a close decision and it was the last time he didn’t look fantastic in victory.
If Tim Bradley beats Manny Pacquaio, which is a big if, he may want to fight Mayweather for another big purse, but there’s probably a rematch clause with Pacquaio were that to happen. If Andre Berto beats Victor Ortiz this summer, he could put himself in line for a fight with Mayweather. The winner of the Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson rematch may want to go up to 147 for a big payday with Mayweather. Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. are out there at middleweight, but those would be catch-weight fights and both men are naturally much bigger than Mayweather.
With Mayweather, his fight future can be a bit of a soap opera. He retired after beating Ricky Hatton in late 2007 only to come back less than two years later to face Juan Manuel Marquez. After his jail stint, he’s said previously that he wants to fight one more time this year. He’s also stated that he wants to retire by 2014 at the age of 37. When asked if he would retire after the fight was over last night, he said he didn’t know. With his drawing power at it’s near peak, I’d be surprised if he called it quits. But if he wanted to, going out by beating Miguel Cotto isn’t a bad way to leave the sport.