Mayweather or Cotto?
Updated: May 4, 2012, 3:16 PM ETESPNLosAngeles.com
Gene Blevins/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsThe mutual respect between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto has made for a quiet promotion.Our friends at ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com convened a roundtable, including a former world champion and a current world champion, to weigh in on Saturday night's Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto fight in Las Vegas. 1. At this stage of Mayweather's career, is Cotto the toughest challenger he's faced? Diego Morilla (ESPNDeportes.com): Mayweather is the Everest of boxing right now, and contrary to Cotto, the American fighter seems to get better with time. Mayweather is older but has had less physical wear, unlike Cotto, who will need all his boxing tricks to look good in this fight. Noel Piñeiro Planas (ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com): Considering that a fight with Manny Pacquiao continues to be vetoed by Mayweather and his representatives, Cotto is the most difficult opponent he could face. I consider him the toughest fighter Mayweather has faced because other big name boxers he defeated, such as "Sugar" Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya, faced him in the twilight of their careers. Bernardo Pilatti (ESPNDeportes.com): No, not at all. If Cotto sticks to his fighting style, he has no weapons to really fluster Floyd. His only alternative is to interrupt Mayweather's style, wait for him, force him to expose himself and counter punch. Judging from his statements, the Puerto Rican will do the opposite. As of today, Pacquiao is still the toughest rival Mayweather could face. Arash Markazi (ESPNLosAngeles.com): Yes, although this fight would have been far better if it were held five years ago. Cotto is the toughest challenger Mayweather can schedule outside of Pacquiao, but Cotto is no longer in the same class as Pacquiao or Mayweather. That will likely be proven in the ring Saturday night. That said, Cotto is a tough opponent and has a chance of pulling an upset, which is more than I can say for some of the opponents Mayweather has had over the past five years. Jose Sanchez Fournier (El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico): Without a doubt, Cotto is the toughest rival that Mayweather has had in a long time. That's not to say that Mayweather has faced low-quality opponents. De La Hoya and Juan Manuel Marquez are two of the best fighters of the past few decades. But when he fought against Floyd in 2007, the Golden Boy was already in the twilight of his career, and Marquez took on the man nicknamed "Money" despite an obvious weight and height disadvantage. Cotto is a relatively small junior middleweight, but he's solid and strong. The power in his punch has decreased compared to when he was fighting in the 140- and 147-pound divisions. Nonetheless, he continues to be one of the best fighters today, as he demonstrated to Antonio Margarito in December. THE CHAMPIONS Juan Manuel Marquez (WBO Interim Junior Welterweight Champion, ESPN Deportes): At this stage in his career, I don't think Cotto is the toughest rival. Cotto has had tough fights, and he has gotten very beaten up. Because of that, he cannot arrive to this fight at 100 percent. Of the opponents that Mayweather has taken on, he is tough but not the toughest. Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez (Ring Middleweight Champion and recipient of the WBC Diamond belt): He will not be the toughest rival. He will be a great rival, a renown one, but this is not Cotto's best moment. Hopefully it will be his best night and hopefully he will win the fight, but he is not experiencing his best moment. Cotto's best moment was a couple of years back. 2. With the early odds favoring Mayweather, does Cotto have a real chance to win Saturday? Morilla: Besides a fighter's chance, Cotto has a great strategist in his corner, and he seems more motivated and concentrated than ever as he prepares for this event. Opportunities are there, but Cotto will depend on doing an outstanding job himself. He will have to capitalize on any mistake Mayweather may make in order to prevail, and that will probably be too much to ask. Piñeiro: The bets and the people placing the bets don't fight or, even less, train for the fight. Although at a disadvantage in the experts' estimation, Cotto has a chance to win because he's not wounded and he isn't passive in the ring. Cotto has his resources, and I consider that Mayweather has never faced as strong a rival as him. Cotto arrives re-energized to this fight after his solid victory over Margarito, and he is evidently enamored once again with the training regimen and with learning new techniques under Pedro Luis Diaz Benitez, his trainer for a second fight in a row.
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