Floyd Outpoints Pride of Puerto Rico

By David Matthew on May 5, 2012
Floyd Outpoints Pride of Puerto Rico
Most experts thought Floyd Mayweather would pick Miguel Cotto apart (Isaac Brekken/AP)

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.

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  1. chicagogato 06:49am, 05/07/2012

    Problem is, he didn’t actually win that round by any conceivable measure of what constitutes a winning round.  He won that round largely because he didn’t look as bad in that round as he did rounds 1-4.

  2. raxman 06:11pm, 05/06/2012

    Ted - “pierce the aura of invincibilty.” i refer you to Cheekay’s first comment - particularly the last paragragh. its important not to think that because cotto had a couple of rounds where he wasn’t completely domintated that floyd was ever in trouble. cotto was never the faded fighter that everyone made him out to be - he’d been beaten by manny when weight drained and having adopted some really bad habits. since then he’d beaten everyone he fought.
    i’d say, given the level of cotto’s skill and big fight experience floyd in fact proved his aura of invicibilty
    as for pacman - stylistically the leverage will always be with floyd. manny has proven in all those fight vs jmm that he needs his opponents to be in front of him and coming forward. its no accident his resume is light on counter punchers - the question is will bradley try to counter pac or will come straight at him and get smashed.

  3. AKT 12:36pm, 05/06/2012

    Love your ‘on mute’ analysis of the fight Cheekay Atomic! Spot on!


    If I am being honest, I am sure there are times when some commentators say person A got hit with a great shot by person B. You do a rewind and watch it again because you ‘missed’ it; and then you find out person A was the one doing the hitting. lol

  4. Matt McGrain 12:17pm, 05/06/2012

    10-2 both times.  Thoroughly enjoyed the performance by Money.

  5. THE THRESHER 11:14am, 05/06/2012

    What Cotto did last night was pierce Mayweather’s aura of invincibility. Once again, the leverage shifts to Manny, but Bradley better not spoil things.

  6. tHE THRESHER 10:22am, 05/06/2012

    Hats off to Cotto. What a MAN!

  7. Twistedchild 08:11am, 05/06/2012

    Hmmm, Floyd Gayweather didn’t pick Cotto apart the way the Pacman did. Guess Floyd really will never fight Pacquiao now. Oh well, would have been a blast seeing Floyd get busted up.

  8. Cheekay Atomic 07:02am, 05/06/2012

    @ David—true, but I don’t think the “if it was 10 rounds” hypothetical is relevant.  It wasn’t a 10-round fight and both fighters fought for a 12-round fight.  A 10-round fight changes everything about how the fighters approach the fight.


    Again—great analysis, though, I enjoy disagreeing with few people! No doubt, Cotto brought his A-game.

  9. mikecasey 02:38am, 05/06/2012

    Definitely the kind of fight you need - and want - to watch again. Well done to both men - and well done to our man David for a prompt and detailed report.

  10. David Matthew 02:06am, 05/06/2012

    Well-stated, gents.  I also scored it 116-112 for Floyd.  Had the fight only gone 10 rounds, it would’ve been a very close fight.  Floyd really shifted into that extra gear that few fighters have in their vehicle in the championship rounds (11/12) and performed like the great champion that he’s always been. 

    There were many layers to this fight along with a healthy dose off ebb & flow.  They fought at such a high level, melding skill & heart like only a handful of fighters can do. 

    Floyd continues to amaze me with his ability to adapt and anticipate punches.  He was able to basically take away Cotto’s straight right-hand (one of his best punches) - and every time Cotto would reach w/ the straight right-hand after going to the body first, Floyd was magician-like w/ his illusionist work, deflecting shot after shot with as slippery of a defense as there is.

    Would’ve liked to see Miguel throw the left uppercut more on the inside.  He only threw it a few times, but it landed when he did actually throw it.

    I’ll re-watch the fight tomorrow to see if my score changes upon another review.

  11. Dazza 11:57pm, 05/05/2012

    Good fight.  Good writeup, they both did the game proud.

    In pure boxing terms I actually thought the scores were reasonably accurate though to have had it 116 - 112 would have been more indicative of the part that Cotto played in the fight.

    I see the scoring as being very close to those of @Cheekay Atomic.  Cotto won rounds 6 & 8 clear enough, round 6 due to making Floyd pursue him, an unnatural game to Floyd, and tagging him with stiff jabs coming in.

    Floyd dominated the latter rounds, including 11 imho, by use of sharp uppercuts & right hooks.

    Both guys are very skilled at their particular game, Floyd is a once in a generation fighter though, that’s the difference.

  12. Cheekay Atomic 11:31pm, 05/05/2012

    Great coverage, David.

    It was a FANTASTIC fight, two world-class fighters, two world-class performances. 

    I must say, however, that this fight wasn’t quite as close as even I thought it was.  I just finished watching it a second time and have a completely new opinion. Watching it on mute also helps, as Jim Lampley (who we all love) was wildly overstating Cotto’s case. 

    My scorecard:

    Floyd clearly won 8 rounds; Cotto clearly won 2; there were 2 rounds that were push.  If you gave them both to Cotto, you had it 116-112; if you gave them both to Mayweather, you had it 118-110.  If you split them, you had it 117-111.

    I think that Floyd is a victim of his own success: any round in which he is hit, at all, we are inclined to give to his opponent almost independent of what he did.  The 5th round was a perfect example: Miguel Cotto won that round on many scorecards. Problem is, he didn’t actually win that round by any conceivable measure of what constitutes a winning round.  He won that round largely because he didn’t look as bad in that round as he did rounds 1-4.

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