As Floyd Mayweather Jr. is so fond of saying, 42 have tried to best him in a professional ring, and 42 have failed. But very few of them had the skills and experience of Mayweather's next opponent, junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto. Fewer still had the edge Cotto will enjoy May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (HBO pay-per-view, 9 p.m. ET): a slight weight advantage, which Mayweather has been so loath to give away in past fights.
But is Cotto, 31, capable of the upset against a fighter whom many consider to be in the discussion for the mantle of greatest of all time? Even at age 35, Mayweather seems the far fresher fighter, and his unmatched quickness and defense are strong antidotes to Cotto's power.
ESPN.com enlisted HBO to engage Mayweather in a conversation asking these and other questions during its interactions with the fighter in the lead-up to the Cotto bout. As part of an ongoing feature ahead of the fight, we will provide periodic updates with Mayweather's responses.
On Cotto's most dangerous attribute as a fighter and whether the Puerto Rican star has a fighting chance on May 5:
As I've said before, in order to be the best, you have to beat the best, and that is what Miguel Cotto has to do on May 5. He has to beat me.
Cotto is always dangerous in the ring. He is relentless and has already proven his heart and will to win. He is definitely one of the top champions in boxing today. Miguel Cotto, without a doubt, is a great matchup for me. Any boxing fan knows that there is a long line of champions who hail from Puerto Rico, and Cotto definitely ranks up there with the greats. That's why I know the Puerto Rican fans will be watching on May 5 -- but they are going to be disappointed.
I never write off any opponent until I meet him in the ring. I am aware that I will be moving up in weight for the first time since 2007, which not only poses a challenge for me, but it does give Cotto a slight advantage because he will remain at his comfort weight of 154. While many may see this as Cotto's chance and opportunity to end my undefeated record, I think that it's also important to remember that I chose to move up in weight and give Cotto that advantage because I am confident that I can beat him at any weight.
I know Cotto will be a very hard fight. He is at a place in his career where he is confident and experienced, and I know that because he is fighting me, this is the biggest fight he has ever had. Those factors always make a fighter dangerous and might be the most important part of what he is bringing to the ring that night. Cotto is an aggressive power-punching fighter in the ring, but I know that I have the skills to beat him. I am faster, and his strength could be the thing to get in his way when he starts swinging and I start ducking. One thing that the success of my career has thrived on is the fact that I'm willing to challenge myself, understand what my opponent brings to the ring and take full advantage of it. I am too smart, experienced and determined to let anyone beat me.
I'm well aware of Cotto's potential and the advantages that he possesses in the ring on any given night, but come May 5, those advantages aren't going to do him any good. Fight fans, get ready, because I'm about to dethrone the current king of the 154-pound weight class.