After capturing the WBC welterweight title in September of 2011 with a fourth round knockout of Victor Ortiz, Floyd Mayweather Jr. revisited MGM Grand last Saturday night and seized the WBA (Super) light middleweight strap from Miguel Cotto.
The three official judges issued a unanimous decision in favor of the challenger, earning Mayweather his eighth world title belt and preserving his undefeated record at 43-0.
To the surprise of many in attendance inside the Grand Garden Arena, especially the media, the reading of the score cards by Michael Buffer (118-110, 117-111, 117-111) did not seem to reflect what had just taken place inside the ring.
I scored the bout much closer (116-112) and felt there were plenty of rounds an argument could have easily been made for either fighter.
We learned that any given night when two top-level fighters face off, it’s not always going to be as simple as the betting line reflects. The market pushed Mayweather as high as -800 favorite before coming back down as the fight drew near.
Just hours before they made their way to the ring, the odds on Mayweather dropped as low as -600 at some shops, which is what we’ve come to expect for most blockbuster fights. Casual fans prefer to back the underdog and throw down small money in the hope of reaping a big reward.
Though the judges didn’t seem to think those bettors came close to making a big score, I believe the fans do. Bottom line: Cotto proved to be as competitive as HBO’s 24/7 tried to convince viewers he would be.
Mayweather undoubtedly lost more rounds to Cotto than he had in his previous four fights combined, if we ignore the official scoring, which most will agree came across a bit biased toward the hometown boxing icon.
Early in the fight it looked as if we were in for another Mayweather boxing clinic, but instead Cotto began to find a home for his jab and straight left hand. Coming in I had stated he’s a natural left-hander who fights from the orthodox stance, which is why it had such an effect when it landed. By the mid-rounds, blood was coming from Mayweather’s nose and mouth while Cotto was gaining confidence.
There were times when the speed of Mayweather seemed to overwhelm the former champion as he threw three- and four-punch combinations, but Cotto covered up well and avoided a lot of the big shots that had landed so easily against so many prior opponents.
The fans in attendance could see halfway in they would be treated to a real fight and the atmosphere remained electric throughout.
But in those championship rounds where legends are made, Mayweather appeared to have another gear, whic is the primary reason 42 fighters have failed in the past.
Though Cotto showed heart and determination, it seemed as if his body would not cooperate and he was forced to absorb some punishment late.
In the end, we were all treated to a magnificent fight and even though Cotto and his team refused an interview afterward in protest of the hometown judges’ scoring, they definitely proved the invincibility label that’s been thrust upon Mayweather in recent years can be tested by the sport’s top names.
After the bout, Mayweather said during the press conference that he had injured his hand leading up to the fight and was unable to train at 100% all the way through the end of camp like he had hoped. Rathern than gain weight like almost all fighters do in those 24hrs between the weigh-in and actual fight, Mayweather actually lost 4 lbs., making him 147 or a welterweight on fight night.
Whatever the reasons, Cotto managed to land a higher percentage of punches than we’ve seen against Mayweather in a very long time. More importantly, although he wasn’t able to fully penetrate the second to none defense of Mayweather’s, he certainly dished out as much as he took most of the time.
Not as upbeat as usually after a fight, Mayweather went on to state that a potential mega-fight against Manny Pacquiao, who dominated Cotto in their fight, would never happen. His reasoning was that Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions will not allow for it and even though Pacquiao has agreed to the Olympic style testing requested by Mayweather’s camp, his demand for a 50/50 split is out of the question.
Mayweather, who claimed to have 4-5 more big fights still in him before Saturday even went on record saying that retirement is not out of the question due to a lack of eligible opponents.
It seems like it may simply be a case of emotion after not being able to dominate Cotto like most expected. But whatever the reason, it appears fans will not get a chance to see the top two pound-for-pound kings meet in the ring.
In the co-main event, 21 yr old Saul Alvarez showed that he is much more than just a prospect and should instead be considered among the top names in the sport after completely dominating Shane Mosley like no other fighter had done to date.
It’s no secret he’s one of boxing’s biggest draws and possesses an enormous fan base, which will definitely help in future negotiations, but he must also be considered on of it’s greatest young talents as well.
Coming in, Alvarez was hoping to do something that neither Pacquiao or Mayweather were able to…finish Mosley. And though he didn’t get his wish, Alvarez came as close as one can get by landing big shot after big shot.
Final Compu-Box numbers show that this was the most punches ever landed on Mosley and most were power-shots that left “Sugar” a swollen mess when it was over.
Throughout the fight Mosley was unable to keep Alvarez off him even after letting his hands go, something he hadn’t done since beating Antonio Margarito in 2009. It seemed as if Mosley’s punches had no effect on Alvarez who continued to walk right through them after being cut early on from an unintentional head butt.
There are plenty of rumors that Alvarez has trouble making weight, which is why he may have opted to preserve his energy rather than go for the kill, which seemed to be on the table a couple of times throughout the bout.
When all was said and done, most would agree that Shane Mosley has given us some of this era’s most exciting fights, but it is now time to walk away with his head held high before he gets himself hurt. On the flip side, Alvarez’s camp says he is not yet ready for the likes of a Mayweather or Pacquiao, but he is without a doubt on his way.
RECORD: 48-26 (65%)
Vegas-Runner, a pro sports bettor in Las Vegas, has been featured on CNBC/ESPN and currently holds the record for “Most Units Won” in a single year at the Sports Monitor. Follow VR on Twitter @vegasrunner and at Pregame.com.
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