Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr.
Birthplace: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Resides: Las Vegas, Nevada
Height: 5' 8"
Current World Titles Held: WBC Welterweight (147 lbs.)
Former World Titles Held: WBC Super Featherweight (130 lbs.), The Ring, WBC Lightweight (135 lbs.), WBC Light Welterweight (140 lbs.), The Ring, WBC, IBF Welterweight, WBC Light Middleweight (154 lbs.)
Professional Record: 42-0, 26 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 19-0, 10 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 11-0
Notable Wins: UD12 Juan Manuel Marquez, SD12 Oscar De La Hoya, TKO10 Diego Corrales
Birthplace: Caguas, Puerto Rico
Resides: Caguas, Puerto Rico
Height: 5' 7"
Current World Titles Held: WBA Light Middleweight (154 lbs.)
Former World Titles Held: WBO Junior Welterweight (140 lbs.), WBA, WBO Welterweight (147 lbs.)
Professional Record: 37-2, 30 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 17-2, 14 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 5-1
Come Saturday night in Las Vegas, Miguel Cotto will step into the ring for what will be both the biggest challenge and the biggest payday of his immensely successful boxing career. There's a good chance the latter will also be the case for his opponent, Floyd Mayweather.If the former also turns out to be true, the fans on hand at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will really be in for a treat.
That no one except for Cotto, trainer Pedro Diaz and gamblers hoping to cash in on the 7-to-1 odds for an upset think that will happen speaks more to Mayweather's mastery of his craft than any shortcomings on Cotto's part. Considered at worst the number two pound-for-pound boxer in the world by any reputable media outlet - and for most, number one - Mayweather proved to be as sharp and as opportunistic as ever when he ended a 16-month layoff with a controversial knockout of Victor Ortiz last September.
He'll report to a correctional facility to serve time for a domestic violence charge in just a few weeks, but he's focused for the time being on keeping his undefeated record spotless. His sublime blend of speed and smarts and a deep bag of subtle defensive tricks make him the heavy favorite to do just that.
Cotto will step into the ring as the younger man but almost certainly the older fighter thanks to the punishment he sustained in battling Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito. Having avenged his loss to Margarito in his last outing, Cotto wanted only the biggest fights possible from there on out, and they don't get any bigger than Mayweather.
In terms of pure boxing skills, Cotto has long been somewhat overlooked. Whether that means anything against a technician like Mayweather is debatable, so he'll hang his hopes for doing the unthinkable on his dependable body punching and whatever plan Diaz can concoct for him.
Certainly, Cotto will try to get Mayweather out of his comfort zone, and he'll come to fight. Floyd will too, because despite what his detractors might suggest, he's not a runner, just extremely hard to hit flush. The higher the slugfest-to-boxing match ratio becomes, the better Cotto's chances become, but the reality is that Mayweather may have the upper hand no matter how the character of the fight develops.
One thing that can't be questioned is that both men will be well compensated for their efforts. Cotto will take home a guaranteed eight million dollars plus some pay-per-view upside, and while it hasn't been revealed what Mayweather will make, his final haul will be several times that of his opponent.
Mayweather's Winning Strategy: Pick the Time and Space to Fight
Like Marvel Comics' Wolverine, Mayweather is the best there is at what he does. It would be easy to just type "Box!" into the above line every time he fights and in this space, simply put "'Nuff said!"
Still, Cotto can do some of the same things that Oscar De La Hoya did when he faced Mayweather five years ago, and probably hit a little harder while doing so. That means even if he never is in serious danger, this could be a competitive fight, and Floyd could find himself having to strategize a little more than usual.
Mayweather can't always look to counter, because Cotto isn't a balls-out aggressor. Floyd is taller and longer than Miguel, so from the outside, he'll probably want to punch first, jabbing before his opponent can jab.
On the inside is where Mayweather can do the counter-punching, though not for long periods of time. His best bet is to throw a flurry after Cotto fires, then use his superior quickness and footwork to get out to long range again.
Once he figures a foe out, Mayweather us one of the best at figuring out the proper way to do more damage with little risk to himself. One gets the feeling he would like a knockout here, but he shouldn't and probably won't put himself in too much danger to get it.
For all his physical talents, Mayweather's boxing brain is his biggest weapon. Using it to it's full capabilities may leave Cotto as helpless as the 42 men who have come before him.
Cotto's Winning Strategy: Kill the Body and the Head Will Follow
It's difficult to come up with a game plan for someone who's never been beaten. That's the situation Cotto and Diaz are facing, as there's no blueprint for taking down Mayweather.
That leaves them to focus on what Cotto does best, and that's probably body punching. Miguel has been shown the ability to execute a brutal body attack in many of his previous fights, though his commitment to it comes and goes.
No part of Mayweather is easy to hit, but the body is still a bigger target than the head. Smacking it early and often could also sap some of Mayweather's energy and take away some of his quickness.
Despite his reach deficit, Cotto will likely have to try to jab his way in. That's fine, as he has a stiff, accurate jab, he just needs to make sure he doesn't give up on it if Mayweather is hitting him while he's advancing.
Cotto believes in his chances even if not many other people do. If he has success going downstairs, he just may convert some of the fans watching on Saturday night to his way of thinking.
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