Official ESB Countdown: Mayweather/Cotto - Best of Skills vs A Tested Will
In an EastSideBoxing exclusive, boxing scribe Vivek Wallace opens a weekly countdown to Mayweather vs Cotto. For years, fight fans around the globe have wanted to see these two men square off. Politics kept the world from seeing it happen in their early years, but fate would eventually have its way, as May 5, in Las Vegas' MGM Grand, the once impossible will be made possible. In this weeks segment, we analyze precisely what could happen when the "best of skills" meets a "tested will":
Never in a million years did many of us think the world would see Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto face American Floyd Mayweather jr. Critics of Mayweather pointed to fear....his supporters believed his superiority made it a pointless affair......and those in the neutral corner simply observed a harsh reality that tells us Top Rank would never do business with a fighter who left the ranks. Whatever the case may be, the truth is that in only a few weeks these two men will face off, and all those subplots are suddenly a thing of the past.
When we look at the two men who now stand center stage several facts stand tall, yet none more than this unparalleled truth about the two men: Both have found great success......but neither has ever faced a man like the one they'll stand across from on the night of May 5th. In the case of Floyd Mayweather jr., he has faced several big punchers, but few with pure dedication to the body like Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto. Miguel Cotto is arguably the best 'body snatcher' in the sport today, and despite a lengthy resume of formidable contenders, the only two men to defeat him are the only two on his resume with questions surrounding their greatness.
None of us truly know the reality associated with victories over Cotto for both Pacquiao and Margarito, but what we do know is that the men on Cotto's resume that had no questions surrounding them coming into the ring also had no answer for him when it was time to exit. Cotto has been as dynamic a force as any competitor in the sport, and the fact that he has climbed back to this level of greatness after two very damaging losses speaks for a level of resilience rarely seen in the sport.
Cotto has demonstrated the heart of a lion, and in a very symbolical way remains eager to prove he's king of the jungle. One can expect him to enter the ring loose and comfortable, laying it all on the line. Cotto was once criticized for telling Max Kellerman on an HBO "Face Off" for his rematch with Antonio Margarito that he "would not be willing to die in the ring". Considering the rare shot at redemption, vindication and validation that awaits, you can bet he won't quit kickin' til his heart stops tickin' this time around!
Despite the unceasing effort that we can expect from Cotto, one other truth remains. That truth is the fact that regardless of how good the men he faced in the past were, there are none more dangerous than the one he's about to take on. Regardless of the hate and bitterness directed his way, Mayweather remains the most talented fighter in the sport, and arguably one of the most intelligent ring IQ's the sport has ever seen. When we think back to a few of the pure boxers Cotto has faced, each had certain elements, yet lacked others. The two most notable pure boxers were Clottey and Judah. Most would agree they lacked heart, but both were able to make it an interesting night for a certain period of time. In the case of Floyd Mayweather jr., you take the speed of Judah and add to it a defense more impenetrable than Clottey's; combine that with the durability of Mosley, and suddenly you have a nearly insurmountable task on your hands.
In a final analysis, we can agree that Mayweather found great trouble for a moment in his effort to decipher that 'bulldog' template fighter in the likes of Castillo, Hatton, and Oscar, yet neither were as skilled as Cotto. This will be the first time in Mayweather's career he faces a fighter this skilled who also possess that patented 'stalk-til-they-can't-walk' grind. And this all takes place on the heels of only 5 fights in 5 years. On paper this creates a thick plot....but paper burns, as we all know you can't hurt what you can't hit! Mayweather may run, (a little), but he can't hide! Funny thing is that my money says he won't try to! That in and of itself tells me we're in for one helluva night, fight fans! Over the course of the next few weeks we'll continue to uncover the dynamics surrounding this bout, as no doubt, there are many more to come. Tune in next week, as we take another look!
(Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached at 954.292.7346, Youtube (Vivek1251), Twitter (VivekWallace747), Skype (Vito-Boxing), and Facebook).