There is no doubt that as good as Miguel Cotto is (and he is an excellent fighter who will almost certainly go to the Hall of Fame once he is eligible), on May 5th he will be in for a tremendously tough assignment. Being asked to defeat an all-time great boxer with the kind of talent and skills that Floyd Mayweather Jr. possesses in addition to the level of confidence that Floyd has due to being an undefeated fighter is a daunting task that requires special attributes to complete.
To Cotto’s credit, he appears to be up for the task and is not simply fighting for the money. That’s good because a strong will to win is one of the many necessary qualities that a boxer needs in order to defeat someone of Mayweather’s caliber. Along with that, it is compulsory that he possess a very good and sharp jab (which Cotto also possesses). He also must have a good chin and be mentally tough. Cotto is certainly tough mentally and proved that time and time again throughout his career. As far as his chin is concerned, it could be better but it could also be a lot worse. On a scale of one to ten I would rate his chin about a seven. It’s above average, but not in the eight to ten elite category.
Other attributes that a boxer needs to beat a guy like Floyd is decent hand speed, great timing, good defense, patience, excellent stamina, heart, a high boxing IQ, good defense, a good corner, and comparable ability to make adjustments.
Cotto does possess most of these attributes, but is slightly lacking in the defense, stamina and comparable ability to make adjustments categories. This doesn’t mean he has no chance of winning the fight, but I must admit that I don’t see it happening. In order for him to have the best chance of winning, I think Cotto should abandon any thought of winning a technical boxing match against Mayweather and should close the distance behind a sharp, quick jab and try his best to make it a war. He really has no choice but to get inside because he has the much shorter arms and overall reach. Mayweather has a 26 inch arm length and Cotto's arm measures 23.5.
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This author is not a fan of the old school method of measuring reach from fingertip to fingertip across the chest because the last time I checked a fighter made a fist when he threw a punch and the length of his fingers were hardly relevant. There really should be two sets of reach, one for the jab and one for the straight/overhand right (or left if the boxer is a southpaw). The HBO measurement from the armpit to the end of the fist is most accurate for measuring the jab hand, and if they measured across the shoulders from fist to fist that would take care of the straight/overhand right or left. At any rate, regardless of how it is measured, I would bet the farm that Floyd has a significant advantage in the reach department.
Another area that Floyd has a significant advantage in is the speed and quickness department. Miguel must nullify Floyd's speed advantage and close to the distance. I don’t expect that to be as difficult of a task as it would have been a few years ago when Floyd was a lot more mobile in the ring.
Nowadays he is more stationary and is not utilizing nearly as much lateral movement as he did in the past. He is still equally effective defensively and now sits down on his punches more which has resulted in generating more power.
Once Cotto is inside he needs to smother Floyd on the inside and fire hooks to the body and uppercuts. He needs to do his very best to keep Floyd on the ropes and away from the center of the ring where he will pick Cotto apart and block 90% of the punches coming at him while countering brilliantly as he always does. He needs to...
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