Better Late Than Never: Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto Agree to Fight

February 1, 2012

Floyd Mayweather has agreed to step up in weight and challenge three-division World Champion Miguel Cotto for his WBA Super Welterweight World title on Saturday, May 5, at the MGM in Las Vegas. The fight will be televised live on pay-per-view.

Many moons ago, when Floyd Mayweather was just becoming a pay-per-view star and Miguel Cotto was blasting opponents with his left hooks to the body, fans and pundits alike hoped that the two would meet one day in the ring during the prime of their careers.

Much time has since passed, with Cotto sustaining a brutal beating at the hands -- perhaps plaster-filled -- of Antonio Margarito. A subsequent lopsided loss to Manny Pacquiao also did no favors to Cotto's body.

But it is amazing what a couple of wins can do for one's image. Cotto moved up to 154, changed trainers, defeated a game Ricardo Mayorga, and then avenged his loss to Margarito.

Meanwhile, Mayweather has aged like fine wine, preserving his "0" and showing a greater desire to mix it up and stand his ground with opponents.

Now fight fans will finally see a matchup that many had envisioned years ago. And on paper, it still looks like a very competitive, quality fight.

Cotto remains an excellent boxer-puncher, blessed with a nice jab and a powerful left hook. Mayweather -- the quicker of the two men -- is the sport's premiere defensive fighter, but will be fighting a heavier, legitimate 154-pounder.

"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, whose only other fight at super welterweight came in a WBC world title win over Oscar de la Hoya in May 2007. "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."

Cotto believes he is Mayweather's most competitive career challenge to date.

"I am here to fight the biggest names in boxing," said Cotto. "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."

Both fighters have agreed to Olympic-style drug testing for the fight.

Of course, the elephant in the room is the fact that Pacquiao and Mayweather once again have failed to make a fight. This round of failed negotiations could be blamed on the scheduling conflicts of both parties.

Floyd should be commended for finally looking to make the fight with Manny, but he locked himself contractually into a May 5 date with the MGM, as well as a June jail report date in his criminal case. That essentially limited the fight date to May 5 only.

Pacquiao was still on the mend from his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, and needed more recovery time from an eye cut before he could begin sparring. As such, his promoter Bob Arum was looking for a June date and a larger arena than the MGM.

If there is a silver lining to Cotto-Mayweather, it is that we are not hearing any more gibberish from Arum about a Cotto-Pacquiao rematch. That proposed rehash of a one-sided fight was something nobody wanted to see.

Floyd deserves props for taking on a tough fighter with quality skills in Cotto, but again the argument can be made that he is not taking on the best.

Sergio Martinez can still make weight at 154 and clearly is in the same rare strata shared by only Floyd, Manny, and possibly Andre Ward. Cotto is still a cut below that group.

Moreover, Martinez has been itching to land a bout with either Floyd or Manny, as he even reportedly offered to fight Pacquiao at a tough-to-make catch weight of 150.

However, "Money" May once again was thinking dollars and cents on this one.

Cotto has a huge Puerto Rican following and almost certainly will generate a ton of pay-per-view buys on his own.  Martinez simply does not have a similarly-sized fanbase.

The undefeated Mayweather, (41-0, 25 KO's), is a seven-time world champion in five weight divisions. Cotto (36-2, 29 KO's), from Caguas, Puerto Rico, has held a world title every year since 2004 while winning 16 of the 18 world championship bouts in which he has fought.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for The Daily Sports Herald

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