Boxing: Mayweather vs Cotto

Posted: May 2, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

We all know I’m a big boxing fan and I’ve read quite a bit of commentary on Facebook regarding this. Due to the comments, I have to put my one dollar two cents.

Boxing kind of reminds me of the NFL: the team that is “supposed” to win generally does. Those little old men who set up the odds in Vegas know what they’re doing. I sometimes place a bet on the underdog in the off-chance that an upset happens, but they don’t happen that regularly (such as Hopkins vs. Dawson).

This weekend will be Floyd Mayweather (42-0 26 KO’s) vs. Miguel Cotto (37-2 30 KO’s). The fight will take place at 154 pounds (I can’t believe that grown men can weigh 154; the shadow of my ass weights 154 lbs) which is a weight that Mayweather has only gone up to once in 2007 against an aging Oscar de la Hoya (and it was a very close decision win for Mayweather). There are two big differences to consider between Oscar and Cotto at 154, though. Oscar was a full-fledged 154 pounder, Cotto is a small 154 pounder. Oscar was also significantly more talented and well rounded than Cotto ever was.

Boxing is a bit more complicated than the comparison of wins and losses and stats. They do say, however, that a good big man beats a good little man so let’s look at the obvious first:

Record: 42 wins 0 losses 26 knockouts 37 wins 2 losses 30 knockouts
Edge: Floyd

Note: I put little validity in the records as I mentioned earlier.

Height: 5’8″ 5’7″
Edge: Floyd
Note: The height advantage stands out because the fight is being sold as Mayweather moving up in weight to fight a “bigger guy” and that is not the case.

Reach: 72″ 67″
Edge: Floyd
Note: This is the more important one of this list because as Floyd is a boxer rather than a slugger and a counter puncher, the reach advantage should cause issues for Cotto who fights better as a slugger.

Power:
Edge: Cotto
Note: Hands down Cotto has the advantage in power.

I consider those to be worth pointing out, but I find them fairly insignificant to the outcome. The record can be tainted by padding records, level of opposition (including when the fight took place as Floyd fighting an old Oscar is not as impressive as beating a prime one nor is beating a Margarito who was destroyed by Pacquiao is not as impressive as having beat him prior – granted there’s a good chance Margarito was cheating).

Height and reach CAN and often do affect a fight’s outcome, but that’s all dependent on the fighting style. A height advantage is lost when a fighter doesn’t fight standing straight and a reach advantage is lost when fighting on the inside. Power is only important if you land flush. Ricardo Mayorga had power, but if you’re not landing it’s unimpressive. Granted, Cotto is infinitely better than Mayorga, but it’s landing the flush punches that counts.

There are other more important factors to consider, I think.

Defense:
Edge: Floyd
Note: Currently there is nobody is boxing with a better defense than Floyd. Prior to Floyd I would say that James Toney was up there as well. The unknown is when will the reflexes slow down enough to affect this.

Speed:
Edge: Floyd
Note: Even the biggest Cotto fan knows that Floyd has much more speed. In recent memory the only other fighter with as an impressive hand speed was Roy Jones Jr. in his prime.

Accuracy:
Edge: Floyd
Note: Once again, Floyd throws fewer punches, but has great accuracy compounded by the speed and reflexes. Notable accurate punchers are Juan Manuel Marquez and Nonito Donaire.

Endurance:
Edge: Floyd
Note: Cotto has gone down the Oscar de la Hoya road and fades down the stretch. In fact, Cotto started fading in the late middle rounds against Margarito in the rematch. I was curious to see what would happen if the fight went the distance despite the fact that Cotto was starching Margarito.

Boxing IQ:
Edge: Floyd
Note: Cotto has done a good job at finding himself boxing more and slugging less which shows that he can adapt. It’s unlikely that we will see Cotto trying to outbox Floyd. Cotto is still not as multi-dimensional and able to adapt the way that Floyd does. A typical Floyd fight has a few closer rounds and an adjustment is made and a blowout decision occurs.

Heart:
Edge: Floyd
Note: I respect any fighter in any fight sport for being in the ring. That said, some fighters never stop fighting even when they are losing. I don’t believe Cotto has ever been (or will ever be) the same after the beating he got from Margarito. He has already quit on his stool and fades late. This doesn’t bode well against a well conditioned accurate boxer.

In the end, the reality is that Floyd is a great fighter and Cotto is a good fighter. I expect a close fight for roughly 3-4 rounds and a blowout after that. I would go one step further and say that the fight will be stopped by the corner. Expect a Floyd TKO in the 11th and for him to “call out” Pacquiao but not offer him a 50-50 split. He will then toy with the idea publicly of fighting Sergio Martinez at 160, but will fight at a catch weight.

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