Floyd Outpoints Pride of Puerto Rico
While some were critical of this fight even being made, Mayweather and Cotto scored a clean knockout on behalf of the fight game…
They said it couldn’t be done and in a sense they were right. It couldn’t be done. But Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs), in losing his WBA super welterweight title by decision to Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Saturday night, redeemed himself at the same time as he redeemed boxing.
While predictions varied in the days leading up to the fight, most experts thought Mayweather would pick Cotto apart and dominate throughout in one-sided fashion. But those who felt that Miguel Cotto would be competitive against Floyd Mayweather were vindicated. This was a thrilling bout, and Cotto gave Mayweather arguably his toughest fight of his career. You don’t see Mayweather get hit flush, ever—at least not with any consistency. But Cotto was at times able to match Mayweather punch for punch, and drew first blood as he busted up Mayweather’s nose with stiff jabs like we’ve never seen before.
However, it was ultimately the superior craft, clean technique, and telepathic reflexive ability of Floyd Mayweather that won this fight. The early rounds were akin to a high-level chess match, as both fighters positioned themselves to land their best punches. Mayweather’s looping right hand found its mark around Cotto’s high guard time and time again, and at times—particularly in the fourth round—Floyd was scoring at will with cracking right hands as Cotto was unable to mount an effective defense.
After being largely outclassed in the first four stanzas, Cotto came alive in round five and was beginning to land some meaningful shots, particularly to the body as he ripped Mayweather while he was pinned against the ropes. Cotto was able to time Mayweather with his left jab—which was his most accurate punch—and it landed frequently enough to cause blood to stream from Mayweather’s nose during round six. As the middle rounds progressed, it was Cotto who was winning the exchanges.
As the ninth round began, the fight had shifted in Cotto’s favor and on most scorecards he had nearly pulled even with Mayweather. Rounds 10 and 11 saw both men have their moments, but Mayweather’s superior technique resurfaced as he resumed landing the right hand around Cotto’s guard, and was getting back into a comfortable rhythm, ripping Cotto with rapid-fire combinations that were beginning to make their mark on the Pride of Puerto Rico.
As the 12th round began, both fighters continued fighting at a world-class level, treating fans to thrilling action and a sophisticated display of pugilism. While Cotto was still game, it was Floyd Mayweather’s night once again as he settled into his stance and shot brilliant combinations at Cotto from all angles. Then, with one scintillating right hook/left uppercut combo, Mayweather momentarily buckled Cotto. Flurrying with final sequences of precision punching, Mayweather closed the show in dramatic fashion, once again asserting himself as the greatest boxer in the world after winning the championship rounds as a true champion should.
The judges awarded Mayweather a unanimous decision, scoring it 117-111 (twice) and 118-110. While they certainly had the right man winning, the margins seemed a tad too wide and didn’t accurately reflect the spirit of this fight, which featured more competitive moments than Floyd’s split-decision over Oscar De La Hoya. Incidentally, that fight took place five years ago to the day. After that fight, Mayweather felt he had nothing left to prove. Since then, he’s proven a lot, and has become a bigger star than almost anyone could have ever imagined. He’s done it because of his uncanny command of the science—and he has worked hard to become the fighter he is today, a fighter who still reigns at the top of boxing’s food chain.
While some were critical of this fight even being made, Mayweather and Cotto scored a clean knockout on behalf of the fight game, as both warriors fought their hearts out in the kind of war that is worth all of the hype and currency that it generates.
“Tough fight,” said Mayweather at the post-fight presser. “What else can I say? Cotto is tough. We gave what the fans wanted to see: blood, sweat and tears.”
Indeed they did—and boxing is all the better because of it.
Cotto declined a post-fight interview and was seen with his family in the locker room while Mayweather was being interviewed. Cotto did however deliver this statement shortly after the fight via Twitter: “I feel great. Just resting In my SkyLoft with my family. Nothing to be down about. I respect the judges dec. but I completely disagree.”
After all that he has endured both in and out of the ring, Cotto has at least earned his right to skip an interview after a grueling fight where he yet again thrilled fans with his passion and signature brand of warrior culture. After all, having only (really) lost to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, Cotto has nothing to be down about.