It’s early Sunday morning here in Las Vegas and there’s still a nice buzz around the MGM Grand courtesy of last night’s spirited effort by both Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto. There was a lot of news and anecdotes that came out from last night so let’s get right to it.
The Days Before: Arriving on Thursday things seemed strangely subdued for a Mayweather fight. Normally the entire week has a buzz about it. In speaking with other writers, the sentiment from their readers was that people were just getting fed up with the fact we haven’t gotten the fight we truly want — Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.
With that said, all that apparent apathy faded by the time we got to the weigh-in. Over two hours beforehand, there was already a long line outside the venue. By start time, there wasn’t a seat to be found. Cotto’s Puerto Rican faithful composed most of the attendance and that intense staredown whipped the crowd into the frenzy. Miguel Cotto was not to be intimidated and that momentum seemingly carried through Saturday night.
The Fight Itself: Most of us at ringside had it just a little closer by scores ranging from 116-112 to 115-113. It was refreshing to see a Mayweather fight that still had some drama after the sixth round. Cotto fought the right fight; he pressured Floyd in spots and remained wary of lingering too long inside to be countered. He kept Mayweather guessing at times when he switched to the backfoot and made Floyd the aggressor. He guarded Mayweather’s lead right as best he could until Floyd adjusted and began arcing it around Cotto’s guard.
The crowd was absolutely ecstatic to see Mayweather bleeding and bruised in the middle rounds. It was exciting, but it was also clear Mayweather was still in firm control. He could be seen with a bloody smile before the ninth and it looked like he relished an opponent not backing down and who could take his punches. At times, those later rounds looked like a replay of Mayweather’s inside war with Jesus Chavez.
Most of thought for sure that Cotto was gone in the 12th after getting stunned with that uppercut. Mayweather is still a defense-first fighter at heart and that likely accounts for why he went on the backfoot in the closing seconds rather than push for a KO.
Post-Fight Reflections: Mayweather had nothing but praise for Cotto, who he admitted “surprised” him with his durability and determination. The 154 pound weight no doubt helped Cotto’s punch resistance and gave him the confidence to go to war inside.
“Cotto is a good puncher. He didn’t win more than 30 fights for nothing,” said Mayweather at the post-fight press conference. “I was the first fighter to fight him at a weight that he was comfortable with. I actually came into the fight weighing 147.”
“Things happened tonight and we both had to fight. But the main thing is that we got the victory…. I think tonight was a cool fight. The fans were happy. It’s about impressing fans and giving them what they want to see.”
Regarding strategy, Mayweather referenced Cotto’s victories over Zab Judah and Shane Mosley as the blueprint for his own offense.
“I sensed that sometimes Miguel was breaking down and then he would come back sharp,” he detailed. “Miguel Cotto is in shape. The right hook and the uppercut were working for me tonight. I had watched tapes of Shane Mosley [when he fought Cotto] and I saw that the right hook was working. And I also watch Zab Judah use the uppercut against him too. So I knew I was going to use those shots tonight.”
“I knew the right hook was going to be my money shot. A lot of times and these days you don’t see fighters using the right hook, only the left. But tonight I wanted to use the right hook and that is what I did.”
Even with his quiet demeanor, Miguel Cotto is still a guy that wears his emotions on his sleeve. He was very dejected after the decision and left the ring without a post-fight interview. He didn’t attend the post-fight press conference either. Hopefully, he realizes that he has nothing to be ashamed of and eventually looks back on this effort with pride.
The Undercard: Shane Mosley gave a good account of himself, but this defeat against Canelo Alvarez is even more reason why he should consider retirement. Mosley’s chin got put to the test as Alvarez connected on 57% of his power shots. Mosley got hit with 348 punches, the most any fighter has ever landed on him. And it reflected in the swelling that made Mosley’s face resemble a macabre cabbage patch doll.
The punishment is likely the reason Mosley didn’t attend the post-fight presser, although he did conduct a interview with Larry Merchant in the ring and admitted Alvarez was the better man tonight. We’re now going on three and a half years since Mosley’s last victory.
Far as what’s next for Canelo, James Kirkland was there post-fight and said he’d love a title shot. Alvarez himself, in contrast to Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, believes he’s ready to face an elite opponent.
“I would like to fight one of the two main fighters, Mayweather or Cotto, said Alvarez. “This is what I deserve the most… I wasn’t surprised that Shane was able to take my punches. The next fight, you will see a better Canelo and a more experience Canelo. I am ready.”
Stevie Forbes vs. Jessie Vargas was rough getting through ringside. Although Vargas claimed afterward that he was deliberately moving to show different facets of his game, it just came off bad to be doing that against a guy he held a significant size advantage over.
Carlos Quintana likely closed the book on DeAndre Latimore’s hopes of being a serious contender at 154 pounds. Quintana couldn’t miss with straight lefts as early as the second round. In fact, he was literally pasting Latimore with that punch the entire fight. Latimore got in a few hard shots, but once Quintana realized he could take Latimore’s power he started taunting late. Whenever Latimore went to the ropes, Quintana let loose with hooks. The ending sequence of Quintana’s straight lefts without question produced the knockout of the night.
The crowd had little sympathy for poor Latimore since a woman from his team or family was constantly howling instructons every round. It got annoying quick and a lot of people welcomed the KO simply so she’d shut up.
Conclusion: Once again, Floyd Mayweather emerged as the victor. With his pending jail sentence compromising chances he’ll fight again by year’s end, what can be on the horizon for 2013? He said he feels like he’s run out of opponents since he believes Bob Arum is the main stumbling block for a matchup with Manny Pacquiao. There was no mention of Sergio Martinez or whether he’ll opt to remain at 154 pounds. Whomever is in Floyd’s future, we’ll all be watching.