The fight that hardcore and casual boxing fans alike want the most looks as if it will not happen in 2012. Floyd Mayweather" class="aalmanual" target="_blank" href="https://www.sportsmemorabilia.com/player/Floyd_Mayweather_Jr.?utm_source=Shareasale&utm_medium=affiliates&utm_term=kw--Floyd_Mayweather_Memorabilia|cpn--no_coupon|offer--no_offer&utm_content=L--Boxing|t--all_boxing|p--Floyd_Mayweather_Jr.|pc--Collectibles_and_Memorabilia|ag--NoGender&utm_campaign=dest--www_sportsmemorabilia_com|creatv--Text_Link|date--9142015|geo--NoGeo&SSAID=720398&sscid=41k3_3sw5v">Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao both have different dance partners lined up for their next fights, with Floyd set to face Miguel Cotto on May 5th and Manny lined up to fight Timothy Bradley on June 9th.
Many would say that the Miguel Cotto of today is a faded version of the one who beat Shane Mosley and Zab Judah, and was known for grinding his opponents down and for his devastating left hooks. To be sure, his tough losses at the hands of Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito have taken something out of him. Few fighters could take the kind of punishment Cotto did in those fights and come out unaffected. But since those losses Cotto has won several fights in a row, taken on a new trainer, and avenged the Margarito defeat. He’s a top box office draw and Ring Magazines #1 ranked fighter at 154 lbs. In short, he’s the most legit opponent Floyd could have picked aside from Manny.
Come fight night Floyd will be a prohibitive favorite, and rightly so. He’s undefeated and although he will be 35 years of age when they meet he has not shown any signs of diminishing as a fighter. If perhaps he’s lost a fraction of a second off his reflexes, he’s more than made up for it in the way he’s adapted his style. In his last few fights he’s shown a great ability and willingness to stand and trade in the pocket and even go toe to toe when has to. His ring IQ and concentration are unmatched. All that said, Cotto does bring more than a few things to the table that make him a worthy foe.
Consider how Cotto stacks up as compared to Mayweather’s last three opponents: Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, and Victor Ortiz. Juan Manuel Marquez is the total package but against Floyd he was simply too small. Cotto won’t have that problem and if the fight comes off at 154 lbs he will be the bigger man in the ring. Shane is one of the best boxer-punchers of the last decade, but his shot reflexes and lack of a jab to work behind doomed him against Mayweather. Mayweather will have the edge in reflexes and handspeed, but Miguel does possess an excellent jab that he uses to set everything else up and his reflexes and ability to let his hands go is still there as he displayed in the Margarito rematch. Finally, Cotto has been on the big stage before and has the presence not to mentally fall apart like Victor Ortiz did.
Cotto’s best shot at victory will involve using the jab frequently and applying smart but not reckless pressure, landing the left hook to the body, pushing the fight to the ropes, then clinching at the right time. He won’t win a boxing match, nor should he try to force an all out slugfest and risk gassing out too quickly. But since Floyd can be a slow starter, pressure early on will be critical. The smart money is on Mayweather but if Cotto can make Floyd uncomfortable, put some early rounds in the bank, and make their meeting more of a fight than a boxing match then he just may give the Money Man his toughest challenge to date.
Follow Boxing Writer Adam Millican on TWITTER @REALCOMBATMEDIA
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