Miguel Cotto: Does He Have a Realistic Chance of Beating Floyd Mayweather?

Ralph LongoAnalyst IIIMay 2, 2012

As I check the odds for this weekend's Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto title fight, it seems Cotto has finally settled at about a 5-1 underdog.

So, based off of that, he has about a 15 to 20 percent chance of winning in the eyes of oddsmakers. 

Now, I've gone on record as picking Cotto to win by majority decision in this fight, but that pick is more with my heart than with my head.

Mayweather is the clear favorite for a reason. He has advantages in speed, defense, stamina, agility, reflexes and is the all-around better fighter. 

However, I truly believe that Miguel Cotto is being vastly underestimated in this fight. Cotto's record against slick speedsters, like Floyd Mayweather, is impressive to say the least. 

When he fought Zab Judah in 2007—a fighter who was as even with Mayweather as anyone ever has been for the first five rounds of their 2006 fight—Cotto systematically broke him down and was able to fully deal with his speed and make adjustments, ultimately stopping him in 11 rounds. 

At the time of the Cotto fight, Judah was every bit as fast as Floyd Mayweather ever has been, so Cotto's ability to cope with his fast hands is definitely noteworthy. 

Also in 2007, Cotto fought Shane Mosley, who at the time was considered one of the top pound-for-pound guys and was still very much on top of his game. Cotto outboxed a very slick and extremely fast Shane Mosley en route to a close but clear unanimous decision. 

Cotto was able to use his jab to control the pace of the fight against Mosley, something he will absolutely need to do to have any kind of chance against Mayweather.

While Mosley and Judah aren't as skilled as Floyd, they are about as close as we can get in terms of matching Floyd's attributes to fighters that Miguel Cotto has already faced and defeated. 

Mayweather has shown—specifically against Oscar De La Hoya—that if you can keep a hard jab in his face, that he is vulnerable. Watch the first six rounds of the Oscar-Mayweather fight and tell me that Mayweather isn't susceptible to being hit with the jab. 

Floyd Mayweather Sr. reportedly told De la Hoya years back that the key to beating his son is the jab, so if Cotto can utilize his underrated jab as he did against Mosley, then he certainly will be able to at least give himself a chance. 

One last important thing that Cotto needs to do is stop dropping his hand when he throws a jab. It's a bad habit that he hasn't shaken over the years. If he doesn't correct it, Floyd will potshot him all night with the lead right hand.

Cotto must also utilize his lateral movement so that Floyd can't simply walk him down. Ricky Hatton went backwards and in straight lines against Mayweather in 2007, and that didn't exactly turn out too well for him. (See video.)

So, on a parting note, if Cotto can utilize the jab, keep his defense tight and keep moving side to side so that Mayweather can't zero in and potshot him, he just might have a chance. He's shown in the past that he can do all these effectively. 

If he can do it on fight night this weekend, he just might have a fighting chance to spring the upset—and score the greatest victory in his already stellar career.

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