The recently-announced May 5th fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto has already begun to generate loads of interest from the boxing world and you can bet your last dollar that the pre-fight buildup towards the event will be pretty massive.
Cotto has resurrected his career following a devastating November 2009 stoppage loss to Manny Pacquiao, having reeled of three TKO victories over former champions Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga and Antonio Margarito. Cotto captured the WBA junior middleweight crown with his June 2010 victory over Foreman and got revenge against Margarito, the first man to hand him a defeat, in December.
<— Bonus slideshow: Saul Alvarez’s flame Marisol Gonzalez causes a scene at Super Bowl XLVI wearing a red dress plus bonus shots
Cotto is a live threat heading into the Mayweather fight because of his championship experience, sound boxing ability and solid power and his opponent’s Uncle, Las Vegas-based trainer Jeff Mayweather, feels his initial move up to 154 pounds was his saving grace.
“I feel that [Cotto] was always struggling to make weight anyways,” Mayweather told me as he spoke at the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas, moments before his latest training with his new charge Deandre Latimore. “So that was one of his Achilles’ heels that he was killing himself making that weight. I think that moving up in weight was a smart thing for him to do.”
Cotto’s July 2008 defeat at the hands of Margarito was horrific and lingered with him every day afterwards. Bad blood brewed between the two men when Margarito was caught trying to use plaster-caked hand inserts in his following bout with Shane Mosley, raising suspicion that the Tijuana fighter had too performed illegally with the same method against Cotto.
Cotto fought with a spirit and vigor in the rematch, busting up Margarito’s right eye and forcing a stoppage in the early seconds of the tenth round, but Mayweather feels other factors were in play.
“It seemed like, to me, that it was a replay of the exact same fight but the possibility of Margarito probably having hand wraps, that probably would have made the difference in the first fight,” stated Mayweather. “I mean, he got caught red-handed, so there’s no way you could say that he didn’t do it. As opposed to that he did. My thing is, in most cases when the guy doesn’t get caught, he keeps doing what he’s doing until he gets caught.”
Mayweather then weighed in on Cotto’s strengths as a fighter while predicting how he would try to attack his nephew.
“One thing, he’s a great counter-puncher and he’s a smart fighter,” Jeff said of Cotto. “He picks his spots and he gets in and gets out when he can. He’s got good boxing skills and he’s a decent puncher. He’s probably banking on the fact that he’s a bigger puncher, but, to be honest, that’s where it ends. He’s not a better counter-puncher than Floyd, he’s not faster than Floyd, he’s not a better defensive fighter than Floyd. The only thing he has going is that he’s bigger than Floyd.”
WBA junior middleweight titlist Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez was also in the running to face off with Mayweather on May 5th but Cotto was selected for obvious reasons. Mayweather feels the choice is without question, as Alvarez is still budding in the game while Cotto is well established.
“He’s a proven commodity,” Mayweather finished up by addresssing Cotto. “Alvarez is just a young guy that’s getting a buildup. He still hasn’t beaten anyone; he still really hasn’t done anything. He won a world title of course but I’m speaking in terms of what he’s achieved and what marquee names has he really beat. I think Carlos Baldomir is probably the biggest name on his resume that I know of.”
“And with that being said, he’s not big enough for this event especially on this day. The only thing that happens to be is that he was Mexican and that probably was the only thing that would lead to him getting a shot at Floyd, but other than that, he didn’t deserve a shot at Floyd.”
Nonito Donaire-Wilfredo Vazquez BONUS SLIDESHOWS
Donaire drops and defeats Vazquez, Chavez Jr. overcomes Rubio – Candid shots from ringside of Donaire and Chavez’s victories plus bonus shots of Shane Mosley, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., and others
Massive Chavez Jr.-Rubio / Donaire-Vazquez Weigh-in Gallery – A closer look at all four HBO stars weighing in, behind the scenes shots and cameos by Freddie Roach, Bob Arum, Larry Merchant, and several others
Tensions arise at final Donaire-Vazquez presser – See images of Nonito Donaire and Wilfredo Vazquez going face to face plus bonus shots of Freddie Roach, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Bob Arum, Marco Antonio Rubio and others
Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. arrivies in Texas, eyes upset – The Puerto Rican is in town and ready to pull off the upset over Nonito Donaire this weekend
Donaire and Vazquez Jr. open media work out – Images of Donaire and Vazquez working out amidst drama surfacing from their recent Twitter war of words
A closer look at ‘The Filipino Flash’ – Behind the scenes with Nonito Donaire in Las Vegas, in the ring scoring his victories, and in training camp
Additional photos of Wilfredo Vazquez – Images of WV2 training in Puerto Rico, his bout with Jorge Arce, behind the scenes, and more
Comparing Nonito Donaire and Guillermo Rigondeaux –A look inside the recent camps and fights for Rigondeaux and Donaire; live from the Vegas gyms and ringisde for the Narvaez and Ramos bouts
Brandon Rios’ intense training and call out of Gamboa –Former WBA lightwegiht champion Brnadon Rios sparred in Oxnard, California and had some choice words for Yuriorkis Gamboa
Sergio Martinez training, waiting for a super fight –Lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez trains in Oxnard, California as he eyes a March 17 date with Matthew Macklin
Kelly Pavlik training with Robert Garcia – A look inside the Oxnard Boxing Academy as former champ Kelly Pavlik begins working with his new trainer Robert Garcia
Andre Berto training like a beast despite knocks from Ortiz – Andre Berto trains in Van Nuys, California amidst criticism from his February 11th rival Victor Ortiz
Mercito Gesta trains in Ceba plus bonus shots – Images of lightweight star Mercito Gesta training in Cebu in the Philippines plus bonus
Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. ripped for Donaire – Images of Puerto Rico’s former champ as he is cut and focused for his Feb. 4th duel with Nonito Donaire, plus bonus images from Donaire’s Vegas camp
Rigondeaux stops Ramos; Mayweather, Julaton, Ward attend – Images from Guillermo Rigondeaux’s 6th round knockout over Rico Ramos plus bonus shots of Mayweather, Ana Julaton, and others ringside
Mayweather Jr. calls out Manny Pacquiao – Images from the Mayweather Boxing Club as Floyd Jr. hosts the media and calls for a May 5th date with Manny Pacquiao
Photo journalist Chris Robinson – Behind the scenes in Las Vegas with the Mayweathers, Pacquiao, Donaire, Cotto, Marcos Maidana, Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Brandon Rios and several other stars
Guillermo Rigondeaux preps for Ramos – Candid shots of the Cuban star working out days after hitting Vegas and eyeing his Friday night duel with WBA champ Rico Ramos
Ringside with the Tecate Girls – Visit the slideshow for a look at the Tecate Girls on the scene in Las Vegas, entertaining at the fights, and in personal photo shoots
Intense sparring with Nonito Donaire – Go inside the camp of the ‘Filipino Flash’ as he goes heads up with Russian featherweight prospect Evgeny Gradovich at the Top Rank Gym in Vegas
Rico Ramos returns fire to Rigondeaux – Catch up with WBA junior feather champ Rico Ramos as he trains at the Mayweather Boxing Club for his bout with Rigondeaux
Nonito Donaire’s first day of camp in Vegas – Take a look at Donaire’s first day of camp in Las Vegas as he starts off sparring and dives right in
Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com andwww.Twitter.com/CRHarmony