Mayweather-Cotto: Opposites Attract

By David Matthew on May 3, 2012
Mayweather-Cotto: Opposites Attract
Mayweather and Cotto know that they have to be at their very best against each other

Brash Prizefighter vs. Stoic Warrior; Extrovert vs. Introvert; Unblemished Virtuoso vs. Wronged Martyr; Mayweather vs. Cotto is here…

With the year’s biggest fight to date rapidly approaching, both Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto have made their respective appearances at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, spoken to the media, hyped the promotion, and provided fans with plenty of glimpses into their training camps and preparation via HBO’s 24/7. Now, a fight that first grabbed the attention of fight fans five years ago is finally upon us. Brash Prizefighter vs. Stoic Warrior; Extrovert vs. Introvert; Unblemished Virtuoso vs. Wronged Martyr; two proud future hall-of-famers with competent technical ability, supreme focus, and war-tested willpower. Mayweather vs.Cotto is here.

During the initial HBO Face Off hosted by Max Kellerman, the respect both fighters showed each other while face-to-face was unprecedented in a Mayweather pre-fight promotion. Usually, there is genuine tension and some degree of dislike between Floyd and his opponent. However, in this particular Face Off, there was genuine regard for the other. That tone has since shifted, as Mayweather—true to form—has yet again entertained us with the Money persona, taking calculated shots at Cotto on 24/7. From mocking Cotto’s boxing stance to an attempt to emasculate Cotto by questioning his close relationship with Cotto Promotions Director and friend Bryan Perez, the provocative Mayweather is back.

That is not to say that Floyd doesn’t still hold the same respect for Cotto as he did during that initial Face Off, as most certainly Mayweather will show Cotto the ultimate respect after they fight, as he does all of his opponents. That said, Mayweather isn’t just a once-in-a-generation boxing talent, he’s also a superb promoter fully aware of what sells fights, and he knows exactly how to arouse crowds via controversy and brash outspokenness. This led him to refer to Cotto as being “scared” because of his usual reserved entrance to MGM Grand where Miguel remained in his introverted zone, perhaps not giving the fans what they wanted in the form of extroverted embrace. This is who Cotto has always been, but it doesn’t stir controversy or stir WWF-like pre-fight hype so many yearn for. Because of that, Floyd is once again the instigator who will say just about anything to build the hype to a climactic crescendo. He may even need it at this point in order to get that extra edge in training camp to motivate himself even harder.

While Cotto has always been internally motivated, Floyd seems to thrive off of controversy, even if it is largely fictional. Having been the Money May persona of flashiness, brashness, and unapologetic swagger for so long, to ask Floyd to fight somebody without lashing out at them with verbal assaults seems contrary to his essence as a fighter. Just as his comrade 50 Cent whispered, “He’s trying to make sure you can’t feed your kids” to Mayweather during his ring-walk against Victor Ortiz, those around Floyd seem more than eager to animate him with a dark aura of vengeance and sometimes even hatred in the moments leading up to a fight. Some fighters have reserves of self-motivation inside of their soul that enables them to persevere during the darkest, most trying moments. Others seem to feed off the external chaos and hype that swirls around them as a mega-fight approaches. Given the fact that Mayweather was thrown in a boxing ring and forced to fight before he even knew if he liked the sport, one can hardly blame Mayweather for approaching the business at hand in the manner that he does. After all, this is—as Floyd so poignantly points out—“the hurt business.”

For Cotto, his team has predictably refrained from personal attacks. Instead, Cotto has talked about his intensive training camp and credited some of the new techniques he has learned from trainer Pedro Diaz as the reason he will defeat Mayweather. “I have the blueprint to beat Mayweather,” Cotto said recently, but he is much more convincing when throwing sweeping left hooks to the body than he is in press conferences saying what he’ll do with his patented monotone broken English. Perhaps the most fire-lit oratory produced by Team Cotto was from trainer Diaz, who explained that “Invincible men only exist in movies” in response to Mayweather’s perfect professional record.

While some may lust for even more blatant disrespect to be displayed between Mayweather and Cotto, there seems to be an organic rivalry and tension that has brewed. This isn’t new in the fight game. In 2008, when both fighters were undefeated just prior to Cotto’s loss to the plaster-loaded Margarito, this was the premier fight to be made in the sport. Few would deny that Cotto has successfully rehabilitated himself after the devastating losses to Margarito and Pacquiao. But the question still remains as to whether he can retain his elite stature against a talent like Mayweather. For Mayweather, he knows that Cotto’s unrelenting resume and big-fight experience won’t see him fold in the big moments like Ortiz did in September. For Cotto, he knows that Mayweather’s level of skill and mastery of the sweet science is more advanced than anybody he’s ever faced. Both fighters know that they have to be at their very best against each other, and both fighters seem to have an unspoken understanding that this will be a true battle of supreme skill and will.

Will Mayweather be able to get the better of the fire-fueled exchanges that inevitably will occur? Will Cotto be able to effectively flurry with combinations as Mayweather is comfortably ensconced in his seemingly impenetrable shoulder-role stationary defensive stance? How will Mayweather wear 154 pounds? Will Mayweather’s speed at 154 be the same? Will Cotto have enough pop behind his punches to bother Mayweather and buckle him like Mosley did in 2010? Will Cotto be able to get away from Mayweather’s razor-precise right hand leads that have spelled doom for every single Mayweather opponent? These questions will be answered Saturday night when two of the sport’s most dynamic performers square off on Cinco de Mayo. If the fight fever hasn’t hit you yet—perhaps you need to take a closer look at what could be an epic fight for the ages. Buckle up.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

HBO Boxing: Mayweather vs. Cotto - Under the Lights

Floyd Mayweather vs Miguel Cotto - HBO Face Off with Max Kellerman

Manny Pacquiao vs Miguel Cotto Full Fight

Miguel Cotto vs Antonio Margarito (1/5)

Miguel Cotto vs Antonio Margarito (2/5)

Miguel Cotto vs Antonio Margarito (3/5)

Miguel Cotto vs Antonio Magarito (4/5)

Miguel Cotto vs Antonio Magarito (5/5)

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  1. Takamasa 07:46am, 07/26/2013

    I am Joshua Mbngo Dmbungo TONGUE-CLICK Jnr. Jnr.I love Cotto but to have him in and Froch out is a mistake. I’ll show you why.Cotto’s last five fihtgsMichael Jennings   Vrey average, gone on to be KO’d by Kell Brook in as many rounds as it took Cotto.Joshua Clottey   Solid fighter but pushed Cotto right to the limit in a controversial result.Manny Pacquiao   Best fighter he faced utterly dominated himYuri Foreman   A decent win but nothing more. He was carrying injury and was stopped three rounds earlier in his next fight.Ricardo Mayorga   Shot to pieces and an awful record in his last few fihtgs and inactive.Froch’s last five winsJean Pascal   Took Pascal’s 0 and won by a margin. Pascal has since become the 175lb numero uno and hasn’t been beaten since.Jermain Taylor   Former undisputed middleweight champion, still looked sharpAndre Dirrell   hard to judge thanks to inactivity on Dirrell’s part of late, but like Cotto had Clottey Froch has Dirrel.Mikkel Kessler   A close, close loss. Odd that even though Froch was reigning champ it was in Kessler’s backyard. Also Froch lost weeks in training thanks to the ash cloud.Arthur Abraham   Completely dominates a fighter who was supposed to beat him and shuts out the former top ten P4Per.I think Froch deserves to be there ahead of Ward and Cotto. Cotto’s entire career is great, but his recent wins aren’t THAT significant. Also I see Froch as #1 in a talent packed division. I don’t see 154 having anywhere near as much talent.TONGUE-CLICK!

  2. paul 09:55pm, 05/04/2012

    But yes, outside of Pac, this match-up is a good un’, COTTO COTTO COTTO haha

  3. paul 09:53pm, 05/04/2012

    David Matthew, I take your point, but I think there is a difference between ‘honesty’ (which implies truth) and the infantile ramblings of mayweather. He oftens says what’s on his mind because he’s not emotionally or intellectually mature enough to control himself. That he is a great boxer won’t colour my view of him as a person: pathetic.

  4. David Matthew 11:19am, 05/04/2012

    thresh/paul - i think you guys are being a bit overly cynical.  If there’s one thing about Floyd - it’s that he’s honest.  He’ll say whatever he feels and express himself w/ out regard for how people will perceive.  We’ve seen that time and time again.  So the notion that he is trying to be a ‘good’ guy and is pretending is suspect to me.  I think it’s more accurate to say that he has a genuine respect for Cotto, but note that he’s started to really disrespect and disparage him in 24/7 - true to Mayweather form.  Also - I think this is as good of an opponent as possible for Mayweather right now.  Outside of Pac, who would you rather see Floyd fight?

  5. mikecasey 01:47am, 05/04/2012

    Let’s get it on - and let’s get it over with!

  6. paul 12:13am, 05/04/2012

    I think Mayweather has taken his reputation to the point where he has to pretend to be nice. His actions up to, and the aftermath of, Ortiz took his level of asshole through the roof. This is damage limitation. Not that he really gives a shit anyway of course.

  7. the thresher 05:48pm, 05/03/2012

    Mayweather has been shrewd so that this did not come off as bad guy vs. good guy.

    It helps sell tickets to come off as if Cotto really has a chance here—which, of course, he really doesn’t. Too slow, too short, too predictable, and too old (ring age).

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