ILLUSTRATIONS BY MIKI AQUINO
On Sunday, 6 May 2012, Floyd Mayweather (42-0-0, 26 KOs) will head back to the ring to challenge Miguel Cotto (37-2-0, 30 KOs) for this WBA super welterweight title.
This will only be the second time Mayweather will fight in the super welterweight division. The first time he tried it out, he escaped with a split decision victory over Oscar de la Hoya back in 2007.
Mayweather was supposed to be incarcerated early in the year; however, the judge allowed the fighter to keep his fight date and instead go to jail a few days after the fight. The entire boxing world held on to hopes that Mayweather will finally fight our very own Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs). But for another batch of strange reasons, the mega fight that the entire world had been waiting for failed to materialize. Again.
So instead of sulking about not getting Mayweather-Pacquiao, let’s make do with what we have. Let's break down the Mayweather-Cotto fight and see how it will differ from a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.
The first and most obvious difference here will be the weight. Mayweather chose Cotto because he is the most marketable opponent not named Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather also knew that Cotto is not willing to go back to the welterweight division.
A Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown, should it happen, will surely be in the welterweight category. Both Mayweather and Pacquiao are comfortable at 147 pounds and there’s absolutely no reason to make the fight in any other weight category.
We all know that Mayweather’s greatest asset is his speed. His hand speed enables him to get inside his opponent’s combinations and connect with his own power punches. His foot speed lets him dart in and out, away from trouble. He also has cat-quick reflexes that allow him to evade most of the punches aimed at him.
Cotto is not a slow fighter by any stretch of the imagination but his speed pales in comparison with Mayweather’s. It’s easy to imagine Mayweather sticking a jab in Cotto’s face, repeatedly, and throughout the fight. But Cotto connecting with his jab regularly? Hardly.
Pacquiao, on the other hand, may be a little slower in terms of hand speed compared to Mayweather but he moves much faster. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s long time trainer, feels that Mayweather’s foot speed has considerable gone down in his last few fight, most noticeably against Victor Ortiz.
Mayweather does not throw a lot of punches because he does not have to. He spends most of the time making his opponent look like an utter fool, hitting nothing. He then connects with about 15 punches per round, more than enough to convince the judges to score it in his favor.
When Cotto is in his groove, he is not shy about letting his hands go. He is the kind of fighter who will always go for the knockout if he smells blood. The problem with Cotto is that his punch output usually goes down in the championship rounds. This is something he cannot do against Mayweather. It’s already hard to win rounds against Mayweather. Cotto cannot make it harder for himself by being gun shy.
With Mayweather versus Pacquiao, you have a fighter throwing 15 to 20 punches per round against a fighter throwing around 70 punches per round. Will the judges score the round for the fighter with the cleaner punches or for the fighter who connected more?
NEXT PAGE: So who wins? Here's our prediction