On the 1st of June Floyd Mayweather Jnr will have to surrender himself to the prison authorities to begin a 90-day term for domestic violence. Tonight he takes on Miguel Angel Cotto in the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas.
Has his impending incarceration had any influence on his decision to get in the ring with the dangerous Colombian? Mayweather has fielded a lot of criticism since becoming a world champion for taking what some would call the easier options available. His reasons for not getting in to the ring with Manny Pacquiao smack of excuse making.
No one can claim Cotto is an easy fight, so is Mayweather finally starting to take some risks with his unbeaten 42-0 record? Or does the American welterweight king believe Cotto has been sufficiently softened up by the kind of twelve-round wars which Mayweather’s defensive style ensures he avoids?
The $45 million he’s being paid to be the challenger to Cotto’s WBA light-middleweight title may also have been a factor for ‘Money’ Mayweather.
He also has some honour to recover after his cheap-shot knock-out win over Victor Ortiz in his last fight back in September.
The core question to be asked is not what’s motivating Mayweather but whether or not he can be beaten tonight. Theoretically of course he can but is Cotto the man to do it.
The Colombian claims to be ready to chase his challenger if that’s what’s required. If he is to stand a chance then Cotto needs to cut off the ring, force Mayweather in to corners and do some damage up against the ropes. Cotto has fierce body shots which have stopped many an opponent. A few lefts to the floating rib will slow anyone down.
Mayweather isn’t very easy to hit and combined with his hand speed and punch accuracy, he’s adept at making his opponents look bad.
Cotto does have some advantages though. He’s a more natural light-middleweight and weighed in three pounds heavier than his opponent at 154lbs to Mayweather’s 151lbs. The champion could well outweigh the challenger by up to ten pounds come fight time. If he does, then he’ll be looking to get as close to Mayweather as possible to make that size count.
Cotto has been in against the best in the world and only twice has he come up short. The first was the now controversial loss to Antonio Margarito, which Cotto avenged in his last fight, the second was a twelfth round KO loss to Manny Pacquiao. In all Cotto has fought 19 title fights at various weights, winning 17.
He’s a tough, battle-hardened warrior who will look to hunt Mayweather down and pummel him in to submission. He has the talent and the toughness to do it but there’s still a reason why the defending champion is the 5/1 underdog.
Love or hate Floyd Mayweather Jnr he is an extremely talented boxer and could have been one of the aabsolute time greats if only he’d taken a few more risks with his career. If only he’d gotten in to the ring Pacquiao.
Miguel Angel Cotto is certainly a risk but is it big enough to satisfy the critics?