The biggest question, unfortunately, in boxing was answered a little over two weeks ago when Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced a May 5thbout with Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This was followed by an announcement from the Top Rank camp that Manny Pacquaio would be meeting the man many figured was brought into the Top Rank fold to one day be an opponent for Pacquaio, Tim Bradley. Fight fans then got another big announcement when a May 19th rematch in Vegas was announced for Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson.
Three big fight announcements such as these would normally be grounds for at leastmild celebration with boxing fans but finding out that Mayweather and Pacquaio wouldn’t be meeting one another served as yet another anti-climatic moment in the sad saga. As jaded as fans have become about the fight ever happening it still serves up some disappointment whenever the fight has been put off once again. But the opponentsannounced for both men have divided opinion amongst fans on just how competitive and interesting of matchups they will end up being.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto is the second most interesting of the bunch to us, and far more interesting than the Pacquiao/Bradley matchup. Cotto improved greatly under the guidance of legendary trainer Emmanuel Steward, with Steward seeming to reinforce the very basics of boxing with the Puerto Rican star and remind him of what brought him to where he is now. Pedro Luis Diaz, Cotto’s new trainer and certainly nowhere near the level of Steward, is still a more than competent trainer that proved he has the ability to lead Cotto in the right direction. Cotto’s one sided destruction of Antonio Margarito in their much anticipated rematch proved that. Whether Diaz has the ability to formulate a gameplan that can lead to victory over Mayweather, and Cotto the ability to execute it, is the big question.
Cotto possesses great power in both hands and that could be his ticket to a shock defeat of Mayweather. But whether or not he has the speed or traps to lure Mayweather into tasting some of that power is what the fight will come down too. We know Mayweather’s plan will be the same sterling game plan that has made him one of the greatest boxers of his era, defense. Mayweather is not only one of the greatest defensive boxers of his era, but of all time. His combination of great defense and slick counter punching is going to make it hard for Cotto to ever get through with his power. Either way this serves to be an interesting fight, with the undercard already shaping up great as well.
Pacquiao/Bradley is the opposite end of the spectrum for us. Was anyone really craving this fight? There was certainly some initial excitement around the time Tim Bradley fight signed to Top Rank for a potential showdown with Pacquaio. But that was supposed to be after he defeated Amir Khan. Bradley kept himself away from Khan and his only recent fight was a forgettable bout against Joel Casamayor on the Pacquaio/Marquez undercard. He certainly didn’t look very exciting there. Bradley is a talented fighter, and we have no illusions that he isn’t, but as of late it has seemed more and more like perhaps people overrated just how good he is. And he certainly isn’t at a level for Pacquaio.
The fight does serve as an opportunity for the Pac-man to regain some of his confidence after a non-convincing decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez in the third fight of their trilogy. A KO of Bradley or a dominating points win could result in a greater confidence for Pacquaio and a reminder of the things that have taken him to the top of the sport. Either way the Top Rank PR machine better kick into high gear quick.
Finally we have the most exciting fight of the bunch, the eagerly anticipated rematch between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson. For those not in the know, Peterson defeated Khan in December in a controversial bout that led to accusations of “home cooking” and judge tampering from the Khan camp and demands for the rematch. While there was definitely some inconsistencies on that fateful night in DC we can’t take away from the masterful performance put on by Peterson. Many believed he was above his level going into the bout but there was certainly no one believing that afterwards. He executed a great game plan throughout the bout and gave Khan the toughest fight of his career.
Khan has been one of our favorite boxers over the last couple of years and we have to admit to being part of the “Peterson’s above his class” bandwagon prior to the fight. We expected another classy win from the upcoming British star but he seemed off all night. Trouble with movement, normally the last problem Khan ever has, seemed to plague him throughout the bout. If he can move around in the rematch we have a hard time not seeing a win going to Khan. But Peterson surprised us before.