Those who favor Floyd Mayweather in Saturday's bout believe the current WBC Welterweight Champion is simply too fast, too savvy and too instinctive for his foe.
Of Mayweather's 42 pro fights, his critics will point to only two or three occasions where 'Money May' looked vulnerable.
To find Floyd Mayweather's most threatening challenge to date, one will have to cycle back ten years to his first bout with Jose Luis Castillo in April 2002. Although Floyd Mayweather won on all three scorecards some, including HBO's Harold Lederman, had Castillo winning. Silencing his critics, Mayweather would cruise to a relatively easy, but close, unanimous decision win in their rematch.
Simply put, the fresh, preserved 35 year old Floyd Mayweather has been virtually flawless in victory in nearly every outing during his sixteen year career.
Whether the freakishly-skilled Mayweather is picked to win by stoppage or decision, for most boxing scribes and fight fans alike, the result of Mayweather vs Cotto is a foregone conclusion.
But Miguel Cotto, a world champion in three different weight classes and likely first ballot hall of famer, is arguably the most qualified opponent Floyd Mayweather has ever faced sans Oscar De La Hoya.
While Miguel Cotto's critics don't question the future hall of famer's courage and desire, most believe the battle-tested Cotto is damaged goods, citing his two brave but terribly brutal loses to Antonio Margarito in 2008 and Manny Pacquiao in 2009 and the alleged physical wear and tear he's endured in hard-fought victories against the likes of Joshua Clottey, Zab Judah and Shane Mosley.
Whether Cotto has been severely impacted from previous ring wars remains to be seen but the current WBA Jr Middleweight Champion is only 31 years old and is still, almost unanimously, among boxing's elite.
Courtesy of Gabriel Gonzalez - Hogan Photos
Would today's more mature Miguel Cotto, with new trainer Pedro Diaz, have faired better against Manny Pacquiao in 2009? Did Antonio Margarito defeat Cotto in their first bout as result of the former's cheating? Is the Miguel Cotto of 2012 a physically and psychologically healed fighter who is more dangerous now than ever?
At this point in their careers, most insiders and fans believe Floyd Mayweather enjoys a significant edge over Cotto in hand-speed, footwork, ring intelligence, reflexes and conditioning. But throughout boxing's long and glorious history, many favorites have entered the ring with similar perceived advantages only to be dismantled by the mental and physical strength of their presumably inferior opponents on fight night.
Below is a statistical and factual look at Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto heading into Mayweather vs Cotto on May 5th.
** Represents a possible significant advantage
Record: 42-0 (26 KO's)
Reach: 72"/ 183cm **
KO percentage: 62%
Title Bouts: 19-0 (10 KO's) in title fights
Rounds Boxed: 303
World Champions Fought: 16 (17-0)
Pro Debut: October 11, 1996 **
Record: 37-2 (30 KO's)
Reach: 67"/ 170cm
KO percentage: 77%
Rounds Boxed: 269
Title Bouts:17-2 (14 KOs) in title fights
Rounds Boxed: 303
World Champions Fought: 13 (12-2)
Pro Debut: February 23, 2001
- Shane Mosley - Lost a close unanimous decision to Miguel Cotto in 2007 and to Floyd Mayweather in 2010 by a wide margin
- Zab Judah - Was stopped by Miguel Cotto in Round 11 in 2007 and lost a decision to Floyd Mayweather in 2010. Was competitive in bouts with both fighters.
- DeMarcus Corley - Lost a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather in 2005 but was stopped by Cotto in five a year earlier.
- Pulverizing right hand
- Speed/Reflexes **
- Defense/Difficult to hit cleanly **
- Natural athletic ability
- Natural ring instincts **
- Strong amateur pedigree
- Nasty left hook to the body
- Technically well-schooled
- Accurate combination puncher
- Ability to wear down opponents
- Can box and slug
- Durability/ Proven ability to fight well when hurt **
- Strong amateur pedigree
TWELVE (12) MOST SIGNIFICANT FIGHTS
- TKO 8, Genaro Hernandez, 1998
- THO 2, Angel Manfredy, 1998
- TKO 10, Diego Corrales, 2001
- UD 12 Jose Luis Castillo, 2002
- UD 12 Jose Luis Castillo, 2002
- UD 12 DeMarcus Corley, 2004
- TKO 6 Arturo Gatti, 2005
- UD 12 Zab Judah 34-3, 2006
- SD 12 Oscar De La Hoya, 2007
- TKO 10 Ricky Hatton, 2007
- UD 12 Juan Manuel Marquez, 2009
- UD 12 Shane Mosley, 2010
- TKO 5 DeMarcus Corley, 2005
- KO 7 Ricardo Torres, 2005
- TKO 8 Gianluca Branco, 2006
- UD 12 Paul Malignaggi, 2006
- TKO 5 Carlos Quintana, 2006
- TKO 11 Zab Judah, 2007
- SD 12 Joshua Clottey, 2009
- (Loss) TKO 11 by Antonio Margarito, 2008
- (Loss) TKO 12 by Manny Pacquiao, 2009
- TKO 9 Yuri Foreman, 2010
- TKO 12 Ricardo Mayorga, 2011
- TKO 10 Antonio Margarito, 2011
- PPV Hits: Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather are two of the top three pay-per-view (PPV) attractions in the sport
- Different Weight Classes: Floyd has won five titles in five weight classes while Cotto has done the same in three
- Jr Middleweight Experience: Mayweather vs Cotto will serve as Floyd's second bout in the 154 lbs division (SD 12, Oscar de La Hoya, 2007) and Cotto's fourth
- "Money May's" Power: Despite not being known for his power punches, 12 of his Mayweather's 26 KO's have come in the first four rounds
- Who's damaged goods? Miguel Cotto is 3-0 with three knockouts since losing to Manny Pacquiao in 2009
- Rankings: Cotto is rated by RING Magazine and FightSaga as the world's top jr middleweight. And in its pound-for-pound rankings, FightSaga ranks Floyd Mayweather No.1 and Miguel Cotto No. 9
- Activity Rate: "Money May" has fought only four times since his win over De La Hoya on May 5th, 2007 and six times in as many years. Miguel Cotto, on the other-hand, has fought thirteen times in the last six years.
- Title Fight Streak: All 19 of Miguel Cotto's most recent bouts were contested for a major world title
- A Mayweather loss? Some believe the aggressive Jose Luis Castillo deserved the nod in Mayweather vs Castillo I in 2002. But silencing his critics, Mayweather won their rematch later that year via the same result... A unanimous decision.
- Cotto outgunned? According to CompuBox PunchStats, Shane Mosely and Miguel Cotto landed an equal number of overall punches (248) in their 2007 bout while "Sugar" edged the Puerto Rican his powershots, 177-153
- "Sugar" Shane's Right: Shane Mosley rocked Mayweather and Cotto with heavy right hands in Rounds 2 and 3 of his respective bouts with both men in 2010 and 2007
- Corley rocked 'em too: DeMarcus Corley, who had Cotto staggering and reeling in Round 3 of their 2005 bout, momentarily jolted Mayweather in the Round 4 a year earlier
- Floyd the Effective Aggressor? Known for his relentless pressure and never backing down, "Vicious" Victor Ortiz found himself in retreat during much of his 2011 fight against the quicker, more skilled Mayweather. Floyd earned a 4th Round knockout.
- Clottey was difficult for Cotto: Down in Round 1 against Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey would rebound to out-land the Puerto Rican 222-179 according to CompuBox PunchStats. Cotto won a split decision
- Juan Manuel Marquez Spanked: Currently FightSaga's No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter and Manny Pacquiao's arch nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez was no match match for Mayweather when the former stepped up from lightweight to welterweight to challenge Floyd in 2009. Floyd cruised to a remarkably lopsided decision win
- Zab Judah: Cotto scored two knockdowns against Zab Judah en route to stopping the NYC native in Round 11 in 2007 while Mayweather was unable to floor Zab in their bout a year earlier, settling for a somewhat comfortable decision win
- De La Hoya Quietly Silenced: Oscar arguably provided a stern test for Mayweather in their May 2007 megafight. But despite only winning a split decision, Floyd Mayweather far out-landed the "Golden Boy" in overall punches (207-122) and power shots (138-82) according to CompuBox PunchStats.
- Should Cotto be 38-1? The validity of Miguel Cotto's loss to Antonio Margarito in 2008 has come into question as a result of the subsequent controversy surrounding Margarito's handwraps. Many insiders believe Margarito likely cheated in their first bout by using a cast-like plaster hidden in his wrapped hands
- WBC Diamond Belt: Although Floyd Mayweather vs Miguel Cotto will be officially sanctioned by the World Boxing Association (WBA), the winner, in addition to walking out of the arena as WBA Jr Middleweight Champion, will be the beneficiary of the WBC's prestigious Diamond Belt valued at $50,000 USD.