LAS VEGAS, NV — Floyd Mayweather overcame his biggest in-ring challenge in years with a back and forth, hard-fought unanimous decision win over Miguel Cotto to claim the WBA junior middleweight title.
Both Mayweather and Cotto jockied to establish left hooks in round one. Mayweather varied his offense and scored well with left jabs and right uppercuts inside. Floyd also landed a few lead left hooks, but Cotto ended the round strong with several overhand rights. Each had their moments in the second as the fight went inside, with Mayweather continuing to score with uppercuts and Cotto finding success with hooks to the body.
Mayweather adjusted to Cotto’s stance in the third and fourth by whipping right hooks around the guard. Cotto’s wasn’t as consistent in his offense since Mayweather’s shoulder roll nullified the champion’s hooks on the ropes. When Cotto did land, Mayweather made sure to take the fight back to ring center.
Cotto transitioned to the backfoot and had one of his best rounds in the sixth behind his patented left hook. Mayweather struggled in the aggressor role and timing his right hand.
The bout became a full-fledged dogfight in the eighth with Mayweather remaining on the ropes and trying to pick off Cotto’s hooks. Mayweather scored uppercuts and short rights but also had his head snapped back by Cotto jabs and hooks. Mayweather sported a swollen left eye and bloody nose by round’s end much to the roaring approvement of the crowd.
Mayweather was smiling to start the ninth and began with two straight rights. Cotto responded with a glancing left hook. Mayweather landed a right uppercut and tried to close strong with a flurry of power shots. However, Cotto dodged nearly every punch.
The championship rounds began with heavy clinching and mauling. Neither man could gain a foothold until Cotto crashed home a left hook. Mayweather countered with a stiff left jab. Cotto would be the one with the final punch of the 10th with a jarring left uppercut. The scenario would be reversed in the 11th with Mayweather scoring a series of right hooks to close out the penultimate round.
The 12th was dominated by Mayweather’s left uppercuts. Although Mayweather started strong with right and left hooks, it was the left uppercut that badly stunned Cotto. The champion appeared close to going down but starteded pressing when Mayweather switched tactics and began fighting off the backfoot.
The final scorecards read 117-111 and 118-110 twice, giving Mayweather is second world title in two appearances at junior middleweight.
Following the bout, Mayweather confirmed that he told Cotto that he was his toughest opponent.
On the undercard, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez retained his WBC junior middleweight title over Shane Mosley.
The lopsided scores of 119-109 twice and 118-110 reflected the big disparity in punches landed. Alvarez would land over 50% of his punches and connected on 441 power shots. Canelo found the most success going hard to Mosley’s body with hooks and long overhand rights on the outside.