When: May 5, 2012
Where: MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: PPV at 9:00 p.m. EST
Weight Class: WBA Junior Middleweight Title: 12 Rounds
By Scotty L, Boxing Handicapper, Predictem.com
Floyd Mayweather, Jr., 42-0 (26 KOs), Las Vegas, Nevada, WBC Welterweight Champion VS. Miguel Cotto, 37-2 (30 KOs), Caguas, Puerto Rico, WBA Junior Middleweight Champion
Fight Odds: Floyd Mayweather (-800), Miguel Cotto (+500)
Over/Under: Over 10.5 (-175), Under 10.5 (+145)
Fight Analysis: On May 5, Floyd Mayweather takes on Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Arena in Vegas. This is Mayweathers stomping ground, but the Puerto Rican has fought many times in this very arena, so he will be in his comfort zone. Expect a tough fight for Mayweather, but he is an 8-1 favorite for a reason. For Cotto, this is a chance to get to the absolute top of the sport–something he has come painfully short of doing in an excellent career.
Cotto has really surprised some folks. Without getting too into the whole Margarito controversy, he took a terrible beating in that fight. After getting throttled by Manny Pacquiao in September 2009 in a 12th-round TKO loss, his run at the top appeared over. But he roared back by winning 3 straight in dominant fashion, including snagging a belt at 154 and exacting revenge on Margarito.
But lets be honest–once you go over the peak, there is no coming back. Cotto has done as good as Ive seen anyone in a long time in stemming the erosion, but I think its fair to say hes not the fighter he once was. It might be overstating the case to say Cotto promoter Bob Arum has used cute matchmaking to preserve one of his best meal-tickets. At the same time, wins over Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga, and Antonio Margarito alone dont suggest Cotto is primed for another go at the #1 spot. Foreman had a belt, but has not won a fight since and his overall world-class status was only marginally established. Mayorga had long ceased being a top force in the ring. And Margarito could barely get licensed and really seems like damaged goods at this point. This is not meant to impugn Cottos rebound from the Pacquiao loss, as he has really looked as good as you can expect in the past two years or so.
He will need to do a lot better than that to stand a chance against a man many think is the finest fighter in the world. Mayweathers ambition in the category of choosing opponents can be questioned, but his excellence is above reproach. 42 up and 42 down speaks loudly. Perhaps even more impressive is the utterly dominant fashion in which he has vanquished his foes. Giving Mayweather a good fight would be a boon at this point, but beating him will require a for-the-ages performance from a prime fighting force and Im not sure Cotto is capable of providing that.
Sharpness will play a big role. Punching is one thing. Power, timing, and persistence can overcome sharp punching to some degree, but Mayweather is more on-point in every category. His reflexes, movement, defense, thinking ability, and speed are just on a higher level than any fighter in the world, not just Cotto. In addition, Mayweather is the fresher fighter, despite being almost 4 years older. Whereas Cotto has been stopped twice in brutal fashion, in addition to a slew of other taxing fights, Mayweather has barely been touched.
Those betting a lot on Mayweather will need to consider a few things. This isnt a fight Floyd needed–its almost a money-grab or a way to stay busy. Its much more than that for the prideful Puerto Rican. Hes fighting for country and legacy. This is one time fix-all fight that would mask any disappointments he experienced during his long and distinguished career. And hes been on the big stage before. If Mayweather, 35, starts aging in front of our eyes or is overlooking this fight, Cotto could take advantage.
Scotty Ls Pick to Win the Fight: Normally, one would consider outside distractions to hurt a fighter. Mayweather, with a pending jail sentence awaiting and a continuous p.r. battle with Manny Pacquiao still going on, seems to be above it all. At the end of the day, he always shows up ready to go regardless of what is at play outside of the ring. His work ethic is still unmatched and hes always well-prepared both physically and mentally.
I look for Mayweather to use his superior speed and wheels to out-maneuver Cotto for large chunks of the fight, while his defense and anticipation will give him the edge during selected moments of in-fighting. Employing a more scientific approach than Margarito or Pacquiao, Mayweather will not stop Cotto, but rather outpoint him by a large margin. Lay -800 on Mayweather and -175 on the over.