Mayweather Challenges Cotto at 154 Pounds

By David Matthew on February 1, 2012
Mayweather Challenges Cotto at 154 Pounds
Respect to both camps for stepping up, doing the right thing, and getting this fight done

Mayweather has stepped up in dramatic fashion to take on the toughest fight available to him outside of Pacquiao…

Just moments ago, the Nevada State Athletic Commission unanimously voted 5-0 to issue Floyd Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) a license to fight on May 5th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The commission granted Mayweather a license to fight on the condition that he comply with all of the judge’s orders in his criminal case, including reporting to jail as scheduled on June 1st.

After a number of false reports signaling that Saul “Canelo” Alvarez would be Floyd’s opponent, it will in fact be Puerto-Rican star Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) who will face Mayweather in what will prove to be an exciting chapter in boxing’s history of mega-bouts to take place on Cinco de Mayo.

Prior to Cotto suffering his first defeat in controversial fashion to Antonio Margarito, this was the biggest fight to be made in boxing. To many experts, this is still a huge fight and arguably the biggest fight that can be made in the division outside of Mayweather-Pacquiao.

For Cotto, it is the furtherance of arguably the most accomplished boxing resume in modern times. Once again, Cotto is willing to put everything on the line to fight the absolute best in the sport in Mayweather—who many regard to be better than ever. Cotto, like many fighters, has continually stated that he is in the sport to challenge the best and to become the best. However, unlike many other fighters, Cotto actually walks the walk.

“I am here to fight the biggest names in boxing,” Cotto said. “I’ve never ducked anyone or any challenge in front of me. I have accepted everything to give the fans what they like…great and exciting fights. That is what the sport of boxing is all about; making the fights that the fans want and deserve to see. On May 5, stay tuned, because I will convincingly beat Floyd Mayweather.”

For Mayweather, it is continued evidence of his unequivocal recommitment to the sport. Prior to his bout with Victor Ortiz, Mayweather claimed he was only going to fight the best available opponents from here on out. Indeed, that’s exactly what he is doing. While some of his critics were skeptical and thought that he would take an easy fight or wait another year before lacing up the gloves, Mayweather has stepped up in dramatic fashion to take on the toughest fight available to him outside of Pacquiao.

Further, Mayweather will face a far more dangerous Miguel Cotto than the one Pacquiao fought. When Cotto faced Pacquiao in 2009, he fought at a catchweight of 145 pounds and was visibly drained both prior and during the fight. In a courageously ambitious move, Mayweather is reported to be challenging Cotto for his 154-pound title, moving up in weight to battle Cotto at his natural size. Mayweather hasn’t fought at this weight class since his split-decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, which many cite as Floyd’s toughest fight to date.

“Miguel Cotto is a world-class fighter who can never be taken for granted and continues to prove he is one of the best in boxing,” said Mayweather. “It will be a challenge for me to compete with him at this weight, but this is the type of test I thrive on and gives me the motivation to train even harder.”

To many experts, Cotto’s enhanced footwork and heightened technical abilities produced his greatest performance to date in his one-sided clinic of Margarito in their recent rematch. Against Mayweather—the sport’s supreme technician—Cotto will need all of his considerable abilities to be in sync. Conversely, Mayweather will be fighting a future Hall-of-Famer who is more war-ready and battle-tested than any other fighter in boxing today. Cotto will not be rattled by the big stage like Victor Ortiz, and both Cotto and Mayweather possess an elite mastery of the science that could produce an absolutely epic collision of craft, speed, punching precision, and iron will. Because of the intriguing contrast of styles and size between the two fighters, this could turn out to be more entertaining and exciting than even a Mayweather-Pacquiao match-up.

Many will ask how this fight was made so easily being that Cotto is a Top Rank fighter. But Cotto’s contract with Top Rank expired after the Margarito rematch, and this will be the first fight of his career without Top Rank and Bob Arum in his corner. 

Predictably, mainstream sports pundits will probably shrug at this fight. However, that is the result of their absurd obsession with a singular fight that blinds them from other remarkable fights and potential matchups that can be spotlighted in the sport. Boxing’s brilliance is more than just one overhyped mega-fight, and a Cotto-Mayweather fight above 150 pounds is as intriguing a bout as can be made at the moment.

Respect to both camps for stepping up and getting this fight done.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. Selma 12:01pm, 07/26/2013

    I sure do hope this match is not corrupt.  Boxing alrdaey have a bad reputation of corruption.  However, I could see why some people would think that there is some element of fraud in this match. There is absolutely no reason why Margarito should be awarded this fight against Pacman but for some reason he got it. And Top Rank would lose a ton of potential Pac dollars if Pac loses.  So I would understand why many would believe that there is some Bob Arum influence to ensure that Margarito won’t lose and cost him to lose some big money.  (Don’t worry, nobody is saying Pac is corrupt he just may not be aware of what deal Arum and Margarito have).Who knows where Margarito can fight next because of his suspension. So Arum and Top Rank would lose even more with a Margarito win.  So I am almost certain they would do what is neccessary to protect there big money earner Pacquiao.

  2. Don fron Prov 12:53pm, 02/05/2012

    Good post, Rax—

    There was a time that I’d have been more interested in May/Cotto, but that might have had more to do with perception than anything else—though I do think that Miguel has been through too many wars and is waning. As for Martinez: Again, I don’t overrate him, but I don’t underrate him either, and I think that Pavlik’s best rounds against him were the middle rounds where Martinez often has a bit of a fade—little bit like a brain fart.  Anyway, with his speed, pretty good power, athletic ability, and smarts, I’d say that Sergio does belong in the ring with Jr.—

    Or more so, Junior belongs in the ring with Sergio if he aspires to fight the best.  However, I certainly agree with you about the 154 division, so maybe Martinez can’t make that weight—no matter what he says.  Or maybe Martinez and his team know more about what he does or does not have left that I can ever hope to.

  3. Angelo Lefty 08:45pm, 02/03/2012

    Not to throw u under the bus but the Ortiz Berto fight has been cancelled. I do hope Manny takes on Bradley which I know he wouldn’t do. no other real bouts to look for but hey maybe Gamboa will move up in weight after he sweeps his weight class.

  4. Quami Simmonds 03:05pm, 02/03/2012

    Mayweather is losing me man, everyone knows cotto doesnt have the skill to win this fight, if it wasnt pacquiao it was supposed to be martinez, wow what a waste, I just hope to God manny doesnt do a bitch move like this and fights marquez again instead of the winner of ortiz vs berto

  5. The Tache 07:59am, 02/03/2012

    I would have preferred to see this fight 4-5 years ago but will take it now. People can argue back and forth about Cotto’s chances as much as they like, it doesn’t change the fact that in the absence of Manny there is no one else in at ww/lm that is a more credible opponent.

    FWIW I hope Cotto shocks the world and smashes Mayweather to pieces and knocks half the potential purse away from greedy/scared PacWeather

  6. Angelo Lefty 08:43pm, 02/02/2012

    Lol @ Frankin comment. That’s funny I dnt completely disagree but still its funny. I’m not saying that Cotto will beat Mayweather he’s clearly the underdog but who isn’t at this point against Floyd.. All I’m saying is that its a fight and anything can happen in a fight.

  7. FrankinDallas 08:12pm, 02/02/2012

    Miguel…just a word to you, ok? I was in PR over New Years and your people really love you. After you get beaten to a pulp by Floyd, take your money and retire. Please.

  8. David Matthew 04:31pm, 02/02/2012

    raxman’s teaching!

  9. Bruno 03:19pm, 02/02/2012

    Joe mEliot SR,

    When Floyd get a promoter and stops thinking the world should turn around him, we will get a fight. Please explain to me why Floyd should get 60% of the purse and Pac 40%,

  10. raxman 02:38pm, 02/02/2012

    don - i dont think cotto does belong in the ring with floyd - but i dont see anyone that does - at least cotto is a) a warrior and b) used to the big events. canelo would get overawed by the size and work you have to do promoting the big fights it would be wrong to throw him in with floyd before he’s even had a big event.

    what i dont get is how for years i’ve heard people say mayweather should’ve fought cotto and i’ve said the last couple isnt it obvious that cotto wouldnt stand and chance and i’ve been lambasted, with everyone saying floyd should still fight him to prove it - now some of those same people are saying this fight is a joke.

    martinez is a lot like manny in that he lunges in and out - if you stand in front of him he’ll kill you but any fighter that can move their and take away his control of the scratch line (i dont know if this is a universal term in melb its that point where both fighters are in range) can beat martinez. ideally this is done jmm style with a half step back but Pavlik had his best rounds by moving fwd first and catching Maravilla flat of course jack double your jab lowe didnt capitalise on it and spur kp but thats another story.

    and also 154 division has a totally different roster since maravilla last fought there - its the best in boxing now with at 6 or 7 guys that would make great match ups for sergio - much better boxers than dzinurik, barker and macklin thats for sure.

  11. the thresher 12:28pm, 02/02/2012

    Joe, I don’t care anymore. It’s no longer compelling.

    They have disgraced themselves and they are disgracing boxing IMO.

  12. Joe Elliott Sr 12:25pm, 02/02/2012

    When Manny gets old Bob Arum out of his life. Then will have a Mayweather beat down of the Pac-Man.

  13. Angelo Lefty 10:49am, 02/02/2012

    I thought Cotto and Mayweather were a long shot. I just recently commented on the possible outcome of this fight. Cotto is really strong and can also rally and may even be able to do a little adjusting himself. Mayweather welcomes pressure. I’ve seen Mayweather rocked but not finished. Miguel Cotto is a guy u dnt wanna show signs of injury to. He can be relentless and if he could plant his feet and press Money on the ropes while money will have that Philly shell-like defense with his shoulders high he may need to work on sharpening his accuracy to land that punishing hook to the body to split the guard. That’s not as hard as it sounds. Money will give you the opt to land shots. Maybe it’s a measuring tool to counter but that can backfire against a fighter like Cotto at his strength. Cotto has a good corner, I like the boxer Mayweather fun to watch but my spidy senses tell me 2012 is gonna be a interesting year…... especially for upsets. Just saying.

  14. Don from Prov 09:39am, 02/02/2012

    Rax: As far as I recall nobody really—beside Williams—wanted to fight Martinez at 154, and I am far from conned by Sergio: I don’t overestimate Martinez but I sure as hell don’t overrate Cotto either—especially not based on a victory over a shell of Margarito.  If—IF—Floyd is a wide points winner over Martinez (which does contradict some others saying it would be silly for little Floyd to fight big old Martinez) but if Floyd is a wide points winner over Sergio than Cotto doesn’t even belong in the same ring with JR.

    I’m sure not one who wants Manny/Floyd or nothing.  I’d have been happy with Alvarez/Floyd though there is no real reason to think Saul would have done much better than Miguel: EXCEPT he is younger/hungrier/stronger and there is at least the potential for some interest there.  I think that once Floyd gets going he will handle Miguel, but I’d be very happy to be proved wrong (something I am with a certain regularity).

    I’m just not buying—or excited—by fights that involve Manny or Jr.  JUST because it is a “Manny” or “Floyd” fight.  If they fought about once every two months, and the fights were on (sort of free) television (HBO/Showtime)—maybe. But Mega-Events that aren’t mega- at all?

    That is a sucker’s game, IMO.

  15. the thresher 06:48am, 02/02/2012

    This fight is an end result of what I call the Mayweather Business Model which I will define in my next article.

    The winner wins


    the loser wins

  16. the thresher 06:32am, 02/02/2012

    For me “mismatch” isjust the right term. But it will be an interesting one.

  17. the thresher 06:30am, 02/02/2012

    And dare I say it will be a systematic beat down fight.

  18. Pete The Sneak 05:41am, 02/02/2012

    I concur with Yank…While this by no means is a mismatch, Floyd is the master of adjustment during a fight. I think it will indeed be competitive and Cotto may even be looking upset in the first half of the fight. However, once May gets into a flow later in the fight his movement, elusiveness and speed will unfortunately (after all, I am a Cotto fan) be too much for El Gran Campeon Boricua. Hope I’m wrong, but my boy will have to bring a whole different bag of tricks to pull this off. But I’ll be watching and rooting for him. My only regret about this fight is that it’s not at Madison Square Garden. My god, can you imagine the crowd and all around buzz that would have created here? Man O’ Man…Peace.

  19. "Old Yank" Schneider 04:53am, 02/02/2012

    For me “mismatch” is too strong a word, however I think Mayweather’s speed will be too much for Cotto. I expect to see a bout that looks competitive until Mayweather does his necessary adjusting—say a 6 round competitive bout. After that I doubt Cotto will take a round. In the end it will look like 9-3 in Mayweather’s favor and a very nice payday will be had by all.

  20. Joe 04:24am, 02/02/2012

    Money vs. Cotto can sell tickets and PPV given the Miguel Cotto brand BUT this is an easy matchup for Money - must agree with Thresh on this one.  Now the fight I want to see, as I’ve stated before, is Alvarez vs Money on Cinco de Mayo but next on the list would be Martinez vs Money, that’s the fight I’d almost predict a Martinez victory because he would box and give as much as he gets.  Pretty Boy couldn’t simply hide behind that left shoulder block, jab and throw one straight right hand every so often to beat this man.  Lil Floyd is / will make Miguel look silly - hate to say this but Miguel is close to being a shot guy.  Definitely walk off money for Cotto.

  21. Moneyisallover 10:24pm, 02/01/2012

    First of all is about them time mayweather is stepping up , all ya boxing fan don’t think this going to be easy for money may, he’s one of the best the sport has seen but against cotto he’s playing with fire and for me he’s going to get burn mayweather he’s a runaway fighter and cotto is give all u got type of a fighter mayweather haven’t seen this kind of fight since he fought Oscar, and that was a decision fight and cotto right now got something to prove that he is one of the best and Also to prove to Puerto Rico trust me PAC man is never going to get the chance to fight money may cotto is going to shock the world especially PAC man, and if money may win I don’t got nothing against the dude he should retire and hang it up PAC man duck him he almost lost the last fight he not ready for money or cotto he duck him to he wanted the rematch and he say no money on me that pacman loosing the next fight I said it here first and he loosing to a bum and credit to both camps especially to money may for proving me that he wants to fight

  22. David Matthew 06:34pm, 02/01/2012

    Thresh, I know you don’t think much of Cotto - but come on bredren!  You keep claiming that Cotto’s face was a mess after the Marg fight - but we’ve been over this.  This is Cotto’s face the very next day after the Margs fight! ->

    Sure - Cotto’s face gets busted up a lot…it’s a product of the way he fights and the risks he takes…but he did not get torn up against Margarito in the rematch like you purport.  Margarito’s face was the one in shambles.

    And as for Floyd busting up Cotto’s face by round 4?  Come on - Cotto is not Arturo Gatti (who is the last guy Floyd really marked up in the early rounds).  Cotto’s face got marked up against two supreme pressure fighters (one who had plaster in his wraps).  Both Pac & Margs are known for throwing sometims 100+ punchers per round…Mayweather is a reflexive counter-puncher/boxer…he’s not a pressure come-forward guy who fires off the amount of shots Pac and Margs too…thus - to say he’ll have Cotto’s face destroyed by round 4 is just hyperbole.

    Second - I think people are underestimating Cotto’s boxing ability, just like they did when he fought Mosley years ago.  Cotto can box w/ the best of them.  Sure, he’ll likely be in over his head against the greatest technician in the sport…but Cotto has experience like few others on this grand of a stage, and dare I say it will be a competitive fight.

  23. Bruno 05:57pm, 02/01/2012

    I seriously believe that Floyd is totally sick in the brain. He claims that Pac Man does not want to fight him but mister God wants 60% of the purse and leave 40% to Pac Man. Who does he think he is? He did the same thing for the last 3 years with the blood test. Wake up Floyd, you are a chicken yourself, you are always finding excuses. SHAME ON YOU AND COTTO WILL BEAT YOU LOSER.

  24. the thresher 05:43pm, 02/01/2012

    Calling it a mismatch doesn’t mean I won’t buy it and watch it. Mayweather’s style will be a nightmare for Cotto. He will bust up his face, have him bleeding badly by the 4th round, backpeddling by the 5th, and done by the 10th. My God, did you see his face after the Margo fight? And Mayweather is a very accurate and slashing type of puncher. Cotto is way too ponderous and slow for him. Like I said, it will be alsaughter but one I will want to see.

    As for Manny, those comments don’t belong to me.  I could care less if Pac and Manny ever fight. But I do care if they fight other guys like Bradley, Canelo, Khan, Peterson, Ortiz, etc because at least they will be in action. As for JMM, he whines too much to suit me. He should just fight and hope for the best. Christ, he has more money than there is money—thanks to Manny.

    Manny has been JMM’s cash cow. And now Mayweather will become Cotto’s cash cow and lifetime annuity. Take it to the bank—pun intended.

  25. bergmuff 05:42pm, 02/01/2012

    floyd claimed that the pacman is just fighting his leftovers, now who is he fighing but pacman leftover but he is too dumb to know it just like his flomo fans.

  26. David Matthew 05:24pm, 02/01/2012

    I concur w/ Cheekay.  To me, the people who are saying that this fight is a joke wouldn’t be happy with any opponent not named Pacquiao.  I want the Floyd-Pac matchup as much as anyone, but I do think there are other fights that are intriguing for Floyd…Cotto is one of them.  I am actually going to say right now that this is going to be competitive.

    One point where I slightly differ w/ Cheekay is on Floyd’s size.  I think Floyd is a bit bigger than Cheekay cited…he walks around at 150 right now (as he just mentioned in an interview today) - and he barely sheds weight for fights, so I think that in his 30s he has naturally bulked up a bit w/ more upper-body strength.  I actually think 150 is the ideal fighting weight for Floyd right now.  154 however, is a different story and Floyd deserves props for taking that challenge against Cotto.

    Also - given that Sergio has already stated he’ll fight Floyd at 150 - I don’t think it’s crazy to fathom a Sergio-Floyd matchup at jr. middleweight.

  27. Cheekay Brandon 03:43pm, 02/01/2012

    I’m sorry-

    Anyone asking Floyd to call out Sergio Martinez is plain out of their mind.  Martinez is a natural, walking 154 and could easily fight at 160.  He’s been fighting at 154 for *over* 10 years. 

    Floyd is naturally about 135-140.  Asking either Floyd or Manny to fight Sergio Martinez is silly. 

    The only fair fights for either Floyd or Manny at 154 are to fight guys who are coming up, recently, from 147 and are relatively blown up.  For example, Floyd having to fight Oscar De La Hoya at 154 was unfair, given that Oscar had just fought for the world title at 160, and was the best middleweight in the world not named Bernard Hopkins.

    Cotto represents a fair size matchup and is indeed, no walk in the park as a fighter.  Cotto is highly skilled and is naturally bigger (by about a full weight class, maybe slightly more) than Floyd Mayweather.

    Its a perfectly fair, good matchup. Its far from an easy match. 

    We can be as disappointed as we want to that Floyd is not fighting Pacquiao, but to call this fight a “joke” or “easy” is simply unfair.

  28. David Matthew 02:34pm, 02/01/2012

    Don - disagreeing is never an issue w/ me. It’s always done respectfully here. I think that Cotto at 154 is one of the toughest challenges available for Floyd.  I also think the Sergio fight is a big challenge, and Floyd did say that he would fight Sergio at 150. Problem is - Sergio is fighting Macklin in March and it didn’t work logistically. Unlike many others, I thought that Canelo vs. Floyd was also a tough challenge and a real risk for Floyd.

    I think it’s hard to be overly critical of this fight, or Floyd’s choice to fight Ortiz in his last bout. Sure, it’s not Pacquiao, but it’s still intriguing.

    I don’t like that we seem to be so turned off by anything except Floyd-Pac. In the NBA - of course we want to see Miami-Chicago or Oak City v. Lakers every night…but there are nonetheless other interesting match-ups and I think it’d be silly to say that those match-ups didn’t make sense just because they weren’t the ideal match-up.

  29. raxman 02:31pm, 02/01/2012

    thresher and don - you poor cynical bitter bastards. this fight is great news. floyd fighting cotto at 154 - floyd will have to be at his absolute elusive best to not get hurt by cotto. this is going to be the classic boxer vs puncher fight.
    and don if sergio wanted to or could make 154 he’d be there. its a hell of a lot better talent pool and hell of a lot better fight than at 160. martinez has you conned, he seems the only one aware of his limitation it’s why he’s only fought nobodies since the Williams rematch (Dzinurik and Barker) and seems intent on continuing (Macklin) to do so. people keep judging the guy on his victory of Pavlik and one punch ko of P-dub - well what about the 40 odd fights before that when he was less than a superstar - floyd destroys martinez by wide, wide ud.

  30. Don from Prov 02:10pm, 02/01/2012

    P.S.  Ditto Thresher on mismatch.

    And on the new business model.
    A pox on both Manny and Junior.

  31. Don from Prov 02:08pm, 02/01/2012

    David: I honestly do not set out to take an opposite position from yours, but for me this fight makes about as much noise as a fart in a bathtub, and does not equal taking the biggest challenge available—

    Call out Sergio.
    If 154 is fine for Jr. make Sergio come down—

    Then we’d have an interesting match.

  32. the thresher 01:45pm, 02/01/2012

    Mismatch but a nice retirement bundle for Cotto. The new business model is alive and well.

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