By: Michael Gerard Seiler
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (43-0, 26 KO's) and Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KO's) put on a brilliant fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada this past Saturday night. Despite the official scorecards having Mayweather winning with wide margins of 118-110 and 117-111 twice from ringside judges Robert Hoyle, Dave Moretti and Patricia Morse Jarman respectively, the bout was highly competitive. Cotto turned out to be the stiffest challenge Mayweather has encountered as a 16-year professional. Cotto struck Mayweather with several grueling punches, giving boxing's pound-for-pound king a bloody nose during the fight and leaving him with some minor swelling on his face after it concluded. If Manny Pacquiao defeats Timothy Bradley on June 9th, a bout against Mayweather still seems extremely unlikely. Maybe, Mayweather and Cotto should battle again? Perhaps at the "World's Most Famous Arena" - Madison Square Garden in late 2012 or early 2013?
Floyd Mayweather expressed an interest in fighting five more bouts before his career is over. Mayweather has become an elite HBO pay-per-view fighter, which according to him means it takes at least 6 months to build a fight to the general public. At 35-years-old, it is rather difficult to imagine Mayweather entering the squared circle five more times. Before Mayweather can return to action, however, he has to overcome his next obstacle, an 87-day jail sentence beginning on June 1st.
Mayweather pleaded no-contest to a reduced domestic violence charge, and no-contest on two harassment charges for supposedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Josie Harris, while two of their children were present. Originally, Mayweather faced a maximum 34-year jail term. Mayweather received a 3-day credit and three months were suspended on a 6-month sentence by Nevada judge Melissa Saragosa.
Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, "Sugar" Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Jerry Quarry, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Roberto Duran, Ken Buchanan, Carlos Monzon and countless others have exchanged blows inside New York's famed Madison Square Garden at some point in their outstanding careers. 1964 Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year and hall of famer Emile Griffith, a 3-time welterweight world champion and 2-time middleweight world champion, holds the record for most fights in Madison Square Garden with 28. So far, Mayweather is unmistakably the finest boxer of this early 21st century. Yet, he has never laced up the gloves in the 18,200-seat mecca of boxing, a place Miguel Cotto has never tasted defeat. It would be a tremendous test for Mayweather to conquer Cotto in front of a zealous Puerto Rican fan base in the United States’ #1 media market.
Mayweather is no stranger to fighting in someone's hometown in a PPV blockbuster. In his HBO PPV debut on June 25, 2005, Mayweather annihilated the late Arturo "Thunder" Gatti in six brutal rounds in Atlantic City, NJ. While Cotto may have come up short on the official scorecards, he pushed Mayweather on Cinco de Mayo closer to the brink of defeat than anyone else had done beforehand. Previously, Mayweather wanted Cotto to fight at a weight comfortable for him. Now that Mayweather has won, why not increase the interest for a second fight by having Cotto fight in front of his fans in a prestigious building where he maintains an unbeaten streak? Fighting a rematch in the intense and demanding aura of Madison Square Garden contains extra spice after a spirited first fight.
Timing is everything. Aside from a confrontation with Manny Pacquiao, what other match-up for Floyd Mayweather presents a superior alternative financially and tactically than battling Miguel Cotto again? After all, Cotto was the next best option behind Pacquiao for Mayweather in the first place, and both men already staged an exceptional performance.
Mayweather fought more offensive than usual, claiming he wanted to give the fans what they wanted to see. "I was going for the knockout tonight," stated Mayweather at the post-fight press conference. "I was trying to break him down." Mayweather hurt Cotto in round twelve and clearly won the last three rounds, but he failed in his attempt to kayo the Puerto Rican warrior in a hard-hitting battle. Can Mayweather knockout Cotto? Maybe, Cotto was so strategically aggressive that Mayweather had no other choice but to adapt and fight the way he did?
Both fighters would likely make slight adjustments the second time around. Mayweather would probably attempt to strike Cotto's body frequently, whereas Cotto can increase his punch output behind an active left jab, a punch that he surprisingly landed repeatedly on Mayweather's face.
If Mayweather and Cotto face-off another time in the near future without either one campaigning against someone else, the first fight will stay fresh in everyone's mind. Fighting Cotto once more would obviously guarantee Mayweather another massive payday versus a fighter he previously defeated, as it promises to be another economically-wise decision for "Team Mayweather". Plus, Cotto can attain another huge paycheck that he rightfully deserves for all of his accomplishments compiled in the sport.
Mayweather accumulated $32 million plus a percentage of the PPV buys, and Cotto took home $8 million and a share of the PPV revenue too. Who else can Mayweather and Cotto fight besides each other for a second time to amass a similar payday? The answer is no one.
Taking into account the effort Cotto put forth, it is somewhat difficult to envision Mayweather moving any higher in weight to challenge WBC Diamond belt holder Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez (49-2-2, 28 KO’s), who has been flattening middleweights. Martinez is willing to accept 20% of the purse and drop from 160 lbs. to 150 lbs. for an encounter with Mayweather. Unfortunately for Martinez, he is not well-known to the casual sports fan, and his deadly mixture of size and skill make him a high-risk and low financial reward for Mayweather.
England's Amir Khan (26-2, 18 KO’s) wants to move up to welterweight, and has articulated an interest in a Mayweather bout. First, Khan needs to win his big rematch with Lamont Peterson on May 19th for consideration. Even with a potential win over Peterson, Khan does not seem to be a viable option for Mayweather at the moment. Although Khan has shined at times in his professional career, he has also had some lackluster showings. Also, Khan is still not a mammoth draw in the United States. Khan displays flaws in his defense, including a soft chin Mayweather could totally expose.
Mexico's WBC Junior Middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 21, (40-0-1, 29 KO’s) owns a colossal following, but he has not yet reached the level of experience necessary to be deemed a reasonable threat at dethroning Mayweather.
Another possible candidate to fight Mayweather could be Andre Berto. Both have the same advisor in Al Haymon. However, unless Berto demonstrates better combination punching and improves his porous defense versus Victor Ortiz on June 23rd, he stands almost no shot at landing a Mayweather bout. Berto's fan base is way too small, and he does not possess a crowd-pleasing style. Mayweather versus Berto does not make economic sense, nor does it seem to be an intriguing contest. If Ortiz should defeat Berto again, hardly anyone wants to see him in a rematch with Mayweather.
It will not be astonishing if Mayweather and Cotto have a second showdown in next to no time. "Team Mayweather" can sell it, Cotto will certainly take it, the fans will definitely buy it, and it unquestionably makes for another exciting night of combat. It's the most practical, money-making fight on the table for both boxers. In the end, Mayweather and Cotto are called prizefighters for a reason.