Thursday, May 3, 2012
Worth the weight for Floyd, Cotto
By Dan Rafael
LAS VEGAS -- One of the main talking points surrounding the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Miguel Cotto fight on Saturday night at the MGM Grand is the weight limit.
The fight is contracted at a maximum of 154 pounds for Cotto's junior middleweight title, which means that Mayweather, a reigning welterweight champion, is moving up in weight from 147 pounds.
And there is no artificial catchweight involved. It's 154 max -- a division that Mayweather has fought at only once before, in 2007, when he claimed a junior middleweight title via split decision against Oscar De La Hoya. For that fight, Mayweather weighed 150 pounds while De La Hoya was 154.
Mayweather said he didn't try to get Cotto to make a lower catchweight, that he wanted Cotto -- a former welterweight and junior welterweight titleholder who has steadily moved up in weight -- to be comfortable. As Mayweather has said, he didn't want there to be any excuses after he beats Cotto at his preferred weight.
"I think, with me, it really don't play a major factor, but with some fighters it does play a major factor, because some guys can push certain guys around," Mayweather said of the weight. "But you know me -- I think my skills are on a different level from any other fighter, so when it's all said and done, skills pay the bills.
"You got certain guys that it all depends on what style of boxing, what style of fighting a guy is doing when you move up to a different weight class. I'm a guy that doesn't believe in really taking any punishment. I believe in dishing it out. I don't really think weight is going to really play a major key. I think it's going to come down to the skills."
One of the things Cotto wanted before accepting the fight with Mayweather was for the weight limit to be set at 154.
"I give thanks to him for making the fight in my weight," Cotto said. "If he wants my title, he has to fight in my weight, and he does it in the correct way. It's my weight class. I feel comfortable in here. I'm feeling pretty strong, really happy to get this fight in my weight class, and I just prepared myself well enough for victory."
Before Cotto took the offer to fight Mayweather, he had been in talks with former promoter Top Rank about a June rematch with welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao, who stopped Cotto in the 12th round of a 2009 welterweight title bout.
Pacquiao, the smaller man, wanted Cotto to drop down several pounds, but Cotto didn't want to meet at a catchweight. Cotto said the weight issue was only one reason he opted for the Mayweather offer over the one to meet Pacquiao again.
"We have more than one reason for deciding to pick the Mayweather fight instead of the Pacquiao fight," Cotto said. "I received better treatment in Mayweather's negotiation, and we decided to go with Mayweather."