Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0) and Miguel Cotto (37-2) will take to the ring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Saturday night, for the biggest fight of the year to date.
For many boxing fans the fight comes an anti-climactic consolation after negotiations once again failed to lead to Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally going head-to-head. But Miguel Cotto is one of the world's best pound-for-pound fighters and should not be overlooked, least of all by Mayweather.
The focus of Mayweather's mind could be crucial to the outcome, with the Las Vegas resident set to begin an 87-day jail sentence for assault on June 1. The chances are that Mayweather will be more than capable of putting the outside-the-ring distractions to one side, as he has done throughout his career.
A multiple champion at five different weights, Mayweather has only fought seven times in six years coming into the contest with Cotto. Yet whenever he does step into the ring, he maintains an unerring focus.
While he has engaged in a flush celebrity lifestyle, fully embracing his Money moniker, Mayweather is still a ruthlessly dangerous fighter when he gets between the ropes. Something he showed to maximum effect against Victor Ortiz last September. The 35-year-old shocked Otiz with a legal fourth-round sucker punch to knockout his opponent in controversial circumstances.
Mayweather can be just as cutting with his words outside the ring, particularly regarding the credentials of Manny Pacquiao. But the sport's biggest box offie draw has been particularly complimentary of Cotto in the buildup to this fight.
Cotto is always dangerous in the ring, Mayweather said, according to ESPN. He is relentless and has already proven his heart and will to win. He is definitely one of the top champions in boxing today.
Mayweather has also said that he regards Cotto as undefeated, despite the two losses on the 31-year-old's record. Cotto's first defeat to Antonio Margarito has long been called into question after Margarito was found to be using illegal hand-wraps in his subsequent fight against Shane Mosley.
But Mayweather also discounts Cotto's loss to Pacquaio. The reason given being that Cotto was forced to drop down in weight to take on the smaller Filipino.
That will not be an issue for Cotto on Saturday with Mayweather stepping up in weight for the first time in five years to fight the Puerto Rican for his WBA Super Welterweight title. It is only the second time that Mayweather has competed at 154 pounds.
Betting Odds (courtesy of Bodog.net)
Floyd Mayweather Jr.: -700
Miguel Cotto: +450
Prediction: In theory, fighting at the higher weight should help Cotto, but there is a suspicion that it may add to the his already stark speed disadvantage. If this comes down to a technical fight then Mayweather will clean up Cotto in no time. Cotto has got to use his left-hook to the body and general strength to maximum effect to stand a chance. But if Mayweather is close to his best then he has far too much ring-savvy and punching speed, which will enable him to repeatedly pick off Cotto.
The oddsmakers may be undervaluing Cotto somewhat, but it is still hard to see anything other than Mayweather making it 43-0.
Mayweather to win, by a unanimous decision.