Dream The Impossible Dream: Can Cotto crack the Mayweather code?

Posted: May 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

The life of Miguel Angel Cotto during the last four years have been tumultuous to say the least. The crushing lows of losing his father and being beaten by both Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito were hard to bear.

Cotto’s loss to Margarito went from being a stellar win in favour of the Mexican to something more sinister. The hardened hand wraps found on Margarito in his next fight cast a doubt over the Cotto bout.

There was no shame in Cotto’s second career loss, this time to Pacquiao. However, it was the loss of his father to a heart attack between these two contests that hit Miguel harder than any opponent.

Cotto is very much a family man and his father played a huge role in the Puerto Rican’s boxing career. Friend, mentor and advisor, it was clear that Cotto Sr was an enormous part of his son’s life, in and out of the ring.

At the time Cotto said, “My father was the strength. He was the strength that I had, but I will handle it. I have to”.

The Pacquiao loss aside, Miguel Cotto appears to have done just that. A move up to light middleweight saw Cotto wrest the WBA title from Yuri Foreman in clubbing fashion. A defence against Nicaraguan wild man Ricardo Mayorga followed and then came redemption.

In early December last year, Miguel faced his waking nightmare, Antonio Margarito in a long-awaited rematch. In 9 one-sided rounds Cotto closed the chapter on Margarito, “ I just stood in front of him, enjoying the moment and my victory”.

For all his visible and extravagant wealth, life hasn’t always been kind to Floyd Mayweather either. A tough Michigan childhood with a father who reportedly sold drugs to supplement a wage made in the boxing ring. There is a story that Floyd Sr once used an infant Floyd Jr as a human shield during an altercation with a rifle-brandishing relative.

Shortly after turning pro, Mayweather moved west to Las Vegas where, under the tutelage of his uncle he took on the world, and won. Love him or loathe him, there can be little doubt that Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr is one of the outstanding boxing talents of his generation.

Victories over the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez and Arturo Gatti are hard to ignore. Accusations that he avoided a prime Manny Pacquiao should not detract from what has been a supreme career.

The unmistakable shoulder roll off the ropes has been a defining image of this century’s boxing action. In that stance lies a huge part of Floyd’s mystique. The man is so hard to hit properly. A few have managed it, most notably Shane Mosley, Zab Judah and Jose Luis Castillo. Even that impressive line-up didn’t manage to put Mayweather away though.

With that in mind, how does Miguel Cotto find the strategy to beat Floyd? The short answer is, he doesn’t. I genuinely can’t see a way for Cotto to beat Mayweather. There will be quite a size difference come fight night. Floyd is expected to weigh in three pounds under the 154lb limit.

Cotto is expected to be right on the light middleweight ceiling. The difference is that Cotto will put on much more weight than Mayweather between the weigh-in and the fight. Will size give the Puerto Rican an advantage?

An interesting parallel to draw on this topic is that both men have fought Shane Mosley. Mosley is a bigger puncher than Cotto and he hit Floyd Mayweather on the button. It absolutely rang Floyd’s bell but it didn’t put him down.

If Mosley couldn’t knock Mayweather out, what chance does Cotto have? By the same token I don’t expect Mayweather to win by stoppage and that means the judges will decide. In that regard it comes down to who is the better boxer. With all due respect to Miguel Cotto, the better boxer is Floyd by a country mile.

Michael Woods of ESPN recently asked his followers on Twitter where a Cotto victory would rank among the upsets of modern boxing. The overwhelming response was that it would come second only to James “Buster” Douglas beating Mike Tyson. That is the magnitude of the challenge awaiting Miguel Cotto.

Many boxing fans would, to paraphrase Sir Alex Ferguson, love to see Floyd Mayweather knocked off his perch. Miguel Cotto is a hugely popular fighter around the world and a victory for him would be an achievement beyond any other. From a sporting standpoint there are few things I enjoy more than watching Mayweather fight. I am expecting another master class come fight night.

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