Or more cruelly entitled, Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It’s Off to Jail He Goes, But Not Before Passing GO to Collect The Ransom of a Prince.
Floyd Mayweather Jr will presumably settle his career Top Rank feud against Miguel Cotto who defends his WBA juniormiddle belt against Mayweather at the MGM Grand on May 5th in Las Vegas.
Or will Mayweather really fight for the WBA belt?
The WBC recently announced their “Diamond” belt will be at stake, a prestige that nobody in boxing has yet figured out the meaning of in an era of super, regular, interim, emeritus, in recess champions promoted by the various ABC boxing orgs. Mayweather briefly held the WBC juniormiddle belt he won in a disputed split against Oscar de la Hoya, but he retired in a huff against boxing and HBO rather than defend it. It remains to be seen if Mayweather bothers to pay the sanctioning fee for a WBA title, something he refused to do for the Shane Mosley fight. Mayweather has traditionally been a very devout WBC fighter to the exclusion of the other major titles in his five divisions.
At Golden Boy Promotions, the inmates do indeed seem to run the place. The culprits of last year’s Golden Boy promoted all time fiascos, Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather, will be fighting back to back with the Hopkins rematching his histrionic nonperformance against Chad Dawson the week prior to this promotion.
Golden Boy Promotions used to be a strong, up and coming promotional team promoting all manner of televised high action Latino prospects on the Texas border, Arizona, and California, really any modest population center with a significant Mexican population. GBP was laying the groundwork for a boxing revival and seemed poised to compete against the current megalith and main rival, the Bob Arum run Top Rank. Alas, as in any Shakespearean tragedy featuring heroic figures, Numero Uno Golden Boy had a myriad of substance abuse, personal, and assorted legal issues that have taken a toll on GBP quality control. Now at least one press release for this fight has Golden Boy listed 2nd between Mayweather and Cotto’s promotional companies, ie:
“Ring Kings: Mayweather vs. Cotto,” for Cotto’s WBA Super Welterweight World Championship is promoted by Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions.
Heresy by any self respecting top boxing promoter.
Noteworthy is that Mayweather’s postponed prison incarceration begins June 1st after the fight, so this may be Mayweather’s first and only bout for the year, a typical year for Mayweather. On paper and by styles we have what could prove to be a pretty fair scrap unless Mayweather reprises his previous French farce against Victor Ortiz, the details being too sordid to bother recounting.
Miguel Cotto entered into the fraying Mayweather fight picture with the blessings of Bob Arum after the Pacquiao negotiations went nowhere. Mayweather has long said that he would never fight an Arum fighter, but Cotto finally came to the end of his long term Arum contract with rematch against Margarito. There could be some snafus in the process before they ever step into the ring with all the fingers in the pie and who knows if the purses will be guaranteed.
Not many are aware of the Golden Boy ties with Miguel Cotto’s older brother, confusingly named Jose Miguel Cotto. The elder Cotto provided quality contender foil for Golden Boy fighters Saul Alvarez and Pauli Malignaggi in recent years, so the skids to the Mayweather fight were greased for Miguel the younger Cotto well in advance, quite fortuitous given the short window of time Mayweather had before beginning his postponed incarceration.
The fight is unusual in that it breaks the long string of pure Golden Boy fighters that Mayweather has restricted himself to over the past 6 years, but it’s still being held in the same MGM Grand venue he seems dependent on for good luck and good results ever since he squeaked the Oscar De La Hoya split decision so many moons ago.
Mayweather is also looking to capitalize on the Manny Pacquiao phenomenon by using Pacquiao’s name to promote Mayweather’s bouts again, by making more baseless accusations of cheating against Pacquiao at the kickoff presser announcing this fight. Needless to say, the civil suit filed by Pacquiao against Mayweather is ongoing even as Oscar de la Hoya has already apologized and seemingly settled any differences amicably with Pacquiao and Arum.
Much ado is being made of the VADA, Voluntary Anti-Doping Association “Olympic Style Drug Testing” for the fight by some of the press who haven’t a clue about the nasty little details of the various drug testing orgs or Olympic drug testing in general whose parameters are constantly in flux with every latest developments in the losing “war on drugs.”
VADA is headed by Dr. Margaret Goodman, a longtime Vegas ringside insider as the former ring physician for the Nevada State Athletic Commission. She offers up her opinions freely, seemingly not liking the violent physics of boxing while offering up various studies regarding concussions, eye injuries, ect that the average fan is not interested in. I can’t help but wonder where she was during the Referee Joe Cortez led disaster that let Francisco Lorenzo sprawled unattended on the canvas leaking out of his hamburgered face as the various “ring officials” held something akin to a circle of jerks for many critical minutes as they dickered away.
VADA is the latest new fee taken out of the promotional pie on top of the dozens of older ones and is hardly Olympic style testing as the boxing press may claim, not that Olympic style testing has ever done shinola about cleaning up the drug scandals of their athletes. One thing not likely to change is Mayweather’s alleged dependence upon cortisone shots for his hands, something the Nevada commish allows.
Some in boxing also claim that the Pacquiao fight failed over Mayweather’s insistance on Olympic style testing. Fact is the issue was thrown up at the last minute after contract details were agreed upon and were being negotiated before Pacquiao had to secure the emergency replacement to insure his strict fight schedule and payday could be met.
True Olympic drug testing can never be negotiated by the athletes!
It was Mayweather who backed out of his own date with a new date and new dancing partner, admitted drug cheat Shane Mosley. He said he only wants to clean up boxing, so he followed that with his choreographed staged fiasco against Victor Ortiz, so maybe he’s bringing in wrestling and opera fight choreography to cleanup the violent physics of competitive boxing that Dr Goodman is up in arms against.
Nonetheless, Miguel Cotto is an honorable substitute as the epitome of a tough, well schooled warrior who has never laid down for anyone. Cynics aplenty may quote Mayweather’s previous observation that he would never fight Manny Pacquiao’s leftovers and critics galore may claim that Cotto is well past his best days if not a shot fighter, but they won’t be the ones raking in the cash for a fight many fans agree makes sense given the circumstances.
Now, it is true that Cotto took a career beating at the hands of Antonio Margarito in a storied fight that matches well with the most legendary fights in history, but Cotto also doles out some of the most vicious beatings of his era, the kind that look like his poor opponents look like they were run over by a Sherman tank. Moreover, he’s a full time fighter, 10 full blooded bouts compared to the 3.25 bouts Mayweather has had since his first of several “retirements” after the De La Hoya bout.
Common opponents at welter are wins for both fighters, Cotto with a knockout of Zab Judah and decision over Shane Mosley, and Mayweather with decisions over both.
Since his loss to Pacquiao in a fight that he accounted himself well in, Cotto has comeback with a new sporty shotgun style jab that should serve him against Mayweather. He has experimented with both Manny Steward and Pedro Diaz as his trainers, but I hear tell he will be with Diaz for this. I’m not sure Diaz can protect Cotto against the hometown hijinks that have gone on in previous Mayweather fights anytime Joe Cortez is the ref, and Lord have mercy if crazy Uncle Roger Mayweather storms the ring again to attack the fighters and officials.
Steward has the gravitas to squelch any monkey business he sees going against Cotto. Diaz may be a fine up and coming trainer, but presumably Cotto knows he won’t be the “home” fighter this time as he is accustomed, so the expectation is that he will fight accordingly.
Mayweather looks to use his longtime trainer, his uncle Roger Mayweather, so no experimentation there. It remains to be seen if and how Mayweather will pack on the extra pounds for this division. He weighed 150 for the De La Hoya challenge and took a fair share of punishment early as the bigger De La Hoya punched him onto his back foot into a defensive shell against the ropes before Mayweather staged a comeback against the fading champion.
I’d imagine the Mayweather gameplan would be to use his defensive skills to maneuver Cotto around the ring to tire him while marking him up with some select sharp shooting much like the Juan Manuel Marquez fight went. Mayweather showed little defensive prowess against Ortiz though and ate some big shots as he mugged for the cameras, a bad sign going into a Cotto fight. His best performance ever was against Shane Mosley, but only the last 10 rounds of that fight. Mosley won the first two and was on the verge of a knockout before Mayweather recovered his senses, so I have to wonder what happens when his opponent won’t run out of steam and confidence as Mosley seemed to do?
Cotto may no longer be the undefeated brute running over fighters as he used to, but he’s still a youngish 31 years compared to Mayweathers 35 years who lately has been various stages of retirement and celebrity preening. Moreover, Cotto has never been in a bad fight and knows a win splashes him into the big bucks pool with Manny and Floyd and makes the Pacquiao rematch more attractive. His performance against the slick undefeated Paulie Malignaggi showed how he deals with fast defensive spoilers and of course every Mayweather opponent probably reviews the Jose Luis Castillo beating of Mayweather many, many, moons ago that no fighter since has been able to duplicate.
The De La Hoya fight turned Mayweather into a household name, but he’s lacked consistency in his comebacks. He may have won all the bouts, but he need the suspicious involvement of referee Joe Cortez in two of them for his only knockouts of the past 7 years. He boxed pretty much in reverse against the hell bent Marquez, yet stood his ground against the bigger and stronger Mosley and Ortiz, so go figure.
Cotto at 154 is stronger than Mosley at 147 and not likely to go into a shell after 2 good rounds like Mosley. It’s Mayweather’s speed and baffling boxing style that will be the tough mountain for Cotto to climb. Anything is possible, but Mayweather figures to be the big favorite for obvious reasons.
Mayweather is almost guaranteed to win the Pay Per View sweepstakes against Pacquiao this time around since Cotto is a much bigger name and PPV star compared to the little known undefeated P4P phenom that Pacquiao is fighting, Timothy Bradley. Nonetheless, Pacquiao continues to shut out Mayweather on the P4P ratings with more than double the P4P fights, 7-1-1, and more knockouts, 5 KO, than Mayweather has P4P fights, currently at 4-0, 2 KO.
The undercard is interesting with the 4th copromotion of Canelo Alvarez on a Mayweather card, this time against Shane Mosley. There is talk of a match between them if they win their respective bouts, or if not, perhaps a Cotto/Alvarez superfight, ya never know how these things turn out.
It’s really amazing how big Alvarez has gotten both physically and promotionally from the 18 year old cinnamon tinged Mexican welterweight making his cautious American debut against Larry Mosley, a close relative to Shane Mosley. He now sports a bull neck and weighed in at 165 lbs for the 30 day prefight mandatory, so my guess is that he’s gotten too big and risky for Mayweather, but just about right for Chavez Junior who struggles to make the middleweight limit and last defended his middleweight title at an amazing 181 lbs come fight night.
Mosley was heavily criticized for fading against Mayweather and Pacquiao, but those are the best fighters he ever faced and he was past his prime even if he had a brief moment against Mayweather. I figure he’s in for a shellacking against a growing boy who is a much better boxer than he’s is often credited in spite of his #2 junior middleweight ratings in Ring and Boxrec and #14 P4P in Boxrec.
So, there it is. It’s all up to the fighters now as the countdown has begun.