- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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LAS VEGAS -- Former light heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver is training in Tampa, Fla., for his cruiserweight fight against Lateef Kayode in the main event of a June 2 Showtime quadrupleheader, but he's a boxing fan (and a Showtime analyst) and couldn't help but weigh in on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Miguel Cotto fight.
"I think that Mayweather's coming in with all the natural, God-given ability and talent, and Cotto comes in with the physical game," said Tarver, who was Mayweather's 1996 U.S. Olympic teammate. "But we've seen Cotto beat, and beaten bad on two occasions. He was outclassed against [Manny] Pacquiao, and he took a beating against [Antonio] Margarito [in their first fight]. We haven't seen that with Floyd Mayweather yet. I think he is at the top of the game right now, and he's gonna have more options to do the things that he does in the ring."
But Tarver, who has pulled his share of upsets -- he was the first man to knock out Roy Jones Jr., and he upset Danny Green in July in his most recent fight -- still gives Cotto a shot.
"Cotto's gonna have to be perfect," Tarver said. "Cotto's gonna have to be physical, have his defense intact and he's gonna have to match Floyd. When Floyd opens up, he's gonna have to punch with him. That's how you negate speed, and that's a big risk, but his reward is so gigantic that's he's gonna have to be willing to lay it all on the line. And if has to go out on his shield, go out trying to get that victory."