Boxing's biggest star Floyd Mayweather faces off against Miguel Cotto tonight on the HBO pay-per-view boxing event of the young year. "Money" Mayweather is, of course, the undefeated, undisputed pay-per-view champion of the sport and Cotto is no slouch himself.
Mayweather and Cotto are fighting for Cotto's Super Welterweight (154 pound) belt in Las Vegas, Nevada's MGM Grand Garden Arena. They are headlining one of the more stacked boxing PPV cards of recent years as Saul Alvarez faces Shane Mosley in the co-main event.
At 35-years-old, Mayweather isn't quite as fleet of foot as he once was but remains as dedicated to his training as ever. He has traded footwork for increased shoulder-rolls and an improved willingness to stand (still nearly impossible to hit clearly) in front of his foe, picking the perfect spot to unleash his straight right hand. Floyd utilizes that weapon the way a 14 year-old abuses a broken, unstoppable play on the latest edition of the Madden franchise. His opponents know the punch will come, they prepare for it, but it happens and it lands with such speed as to leave his foe unable to respond with a return shot.
The unstoppable simplicity of his offense (Floyd doesn't really dabble in elaborate combinations) combined with the brilliant subtle complexities of his defense set him apart from not only his contemporaries, but practically every human being to ever set foot in a boxing ring. Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo (twice), Zab Judah, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley are just some of the elite names to have stepped in the ring with Floyd only to end up another number on Mayweather's record.
Standing across from Floyd, looking to avoid becoming "43," is Miguel Cotto. The latest in a long line of great Puerto Rican fighters, Cotto has a resume that would be looked at as fairly incredible against any other opponent. Winning titles at junior welterweight, welterweight and now sitting alone atop the junior middleweight division, Cotto has been one of the most successful boxers of his era. The holder of a 37-2 record, one of his losses is questionable at best, a crushing TKO loss to Antonio Margarito who was discovered to be loading his gloves against Shane Mosley and the other was to a once-in-a-lifetime type of fighter in Manny Pacquiao, at a catchweight.
Brent also wrote a preview of the undercard bouts on the card which can be read here.
Here's Scott Christ from Bad Left Hook:
Miguel Cotto's best wins have come over the likes of Shane Mosley (when he still had it), Margarito in the rematch, Zab Judah, top junior welterweights like Ricardo Torres and Paulie Malignaggi. He's had a terrific career. If I had a vote for the Hall of Fame, he'd have been stamped a while back. When you add it all up -- Cotto's wins, his valiant losses against top opponents, his willingness to face the best, his titles in three divisions, his popularity, and his character -- you have what I consider a Hall of Fame fighter. A guy who deserves to be immortalized.
Mayweather is another story. When you think Floyd Mayweather, you could say "Money" is the first thing that comes to mind, but that's unfair since it's a (self-appointed and later earned) nickname. For me, I think of words like "winning," and "greatness," even "genius." Mayweather is such a brilliant tactician in the ring, always so well-prepared, so ready for anything that comes his way, and so calm, cool, and confident between the bells, that I see him as playing a different game than anyone else has in his generation, even the great Manny Pacquiao. There is an aura to Mayweather that nobody else has, and part of it is that he's never been defeated, and really has only had one debatable fight in his 16-year professional boxing career.
This is a man who has personified excellence in the ring over his time in the sport. He's won titles from super featherweight to junior middleweight, and despite some complaints about his level of opposition, he has faced great fighters, top fighters, at-the-time elite fighters, and he has beaten them all. From Genaro Hernandez to Victor Ortiz, with the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, and Ricky Hatton in between, Mayweather has earned his place in rare air. He may have no true peers in the sport as stands today.
Luke Nelson has a nice write-up at MMA Mania as well:
(Mayweather) won his first world championship at 130 pounds in 1998 and since then, he has won four more world championships at 135 pounds, 140 pounds, 147 pounds and 154 pounds. He's beaten such great fighters as Oscar De La Hoya, Diego Corrales, Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah, Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley.
(Cotto's) professional record stands at 37-2, with his only two losses coming to Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito. The loss to Margarito was marred by a loaded hand-wraps controversy and when the two men met in a highly anticipated rematch, Cotto stopped Margarito in the tenth round, avenging his honor and giving even more credence to the theory that Margarito was only able to beat him because of the hardened plaster he placed in his gloves.
Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more coverage of tonight's big boxing bout.