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LAS VEGAS – In what he described as one of the toughest fights of his career, three weeks before he will head to jail, Floyd Mayweather held off a game Miguel Cotto and came away with Cotto’s WBA light middleweight title in an exciting action fight Saturday night at the MGM Grand.
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Oh and it was exciting and crowd pleasing from the very beginning! Did you miss it? Recap below!
Craig M. Durling/ZUMAPRESS.com
- Mayweather headed to the ring, accompanied by 50 Cent and yes, Justin Bieber, who is wearing two of his belts.
- Lukewarm reaction from Mayweather, who got a similar so-so reception at the weigh-in. Part of it is that a majority of the fans hear are Cotto fans, part of it is that Mayweather has so cultivated this bad boy, love me or hate me, I don’t care image. But Cotto is en route to the ring and this crowd is behind him.
- Should apologize to Blog Favorite Cheapo Tony. Finally convinced him to dust the cobwebs off his wallet and plunk $50 down on Mosley, a 5-to-1 underdog. As Cheapo Tony is easily the stingiest, alligator armed, duck-out-of-all-bar tabs friend of mine, I know this one hurts. My fault, Cheapo.
- Fighter’s are introduced, crowd is buzzing: Here we go!
Round 1: Cotto looks a lot bigger in the ring. And he comes out swinging a wild left. Nice uppercut by Mayweather, first clean shot of the night. Another half uppercut by Mayweather. Cotto pressing. Mayweather ties him up. Lot of wrestling in the ring in the first. Mayweather dodges a Cotto combination beautifully. Sticks Cotto with a right. Decent round for Mayweather. 10-9 Mayweather.
Round 2: Now Cotto starts to jab a little. Mayweather tags Cotto with a nice 1-2 combination. That’s his bread and butter. Cotto covers up. Cotto trying to be physical with Mayweather but he’s not throwing a lot of punches. Now Cotto gets going a little bit in the corner. Floyd deflects most of them. His defense is, as usual, brilliant. Nice little flurry by Cotto at the end, but give this one to Mayweather. 10-9 Mayweather.
Round 3: Not sure I like Cotto’s strategy. He wants to bully Floyd but he’s not throwing enough punches to do it. Mayweather snaps off an unasnswered flurry. Now Cotto pins Mayweather in the corner and throws a combination. Straight right by Cotto gets through, Floyd smiles. Cotto now boxing from the outside. Still, it’s Mayweather’s punches that are cleaner. More active Cotto in this round, but I’m giving another to Floyd. 10-9 Mayweather.
Round 4: Mayweather teeing off on Cotto. Cotto covers up. Nothing flashy, just a series of 1-2 punches that hit home. When Cotto throws, Mayweather catches or, at worst, deflects many of them. Good round for Mayweather. 10-9 Mayweather.
Round 5: Cotto comes out aggressive, pins Mayweather in the corner. Lands a couple of good shots. Mayweather ties him up. Floyd fights back from the corner. He is excellent at fighting in the corner. Thudding combination by Mayweather! Cotto pushes him back into the corner. Hard left hand by Cotto! Mayweather felt that. Mayweather not doing a lot of body work in this fight. Good round for Cotto. Give it to him. 10-9 Cotto.
Round 6: Cotto starting to dictate the pace and style of the fight. He’s pushing Mayweather to the corner right from the bell. Floyd works back to the center of the ring, eats a good Cotto jab. Another Cotto hook lands. Cotto bouncing on his toes more, looking more confident. Good straight right by Mayweather. He’s moving in on Cotto now. Goes to the corner. Cotto keeps moving, avoids any shots the rest of the round. Cotto gathering momentum in my opinion. Give this round to Cotto. 10-9 Cotto.
Round 7: Mayweather comes out more aggressive. Hits Cotto with that 1-2 that has been working for him. Neither fighter looks tired. Cotto moves forward, wings a couple of shots that Mayweather gobbles up. Close, but I give this one to Floyd. 10-9 Mayweather.
Round 8: Big right hand from Floyd opens the round. Have to wonder if he senses the urgency. A flurry from Cotto gets the crowd in it. But Mayweather eats a lot of those punches with his gloves. Nice uppercut from Mayweather. Another. And another. Cotto lunges with the jab. Strong flurry by Cotto! Mayweather shakes his head at him, but Cotto scored good points there. He stole that round in the last minutes. 10-9 Cotto.
Round 9: Mayweather has to know he is in a close fight. Floyd desperately trying to keep the fight in the center of the ring. He reaches in with that uppercut. Cotto is staying very disciplined. Mayweather is laughing in the ring, but it’s a nervous-looking laugh. Cotto shoves Mayweather back in the corner, Clubber Lang style. There has been a suggested blueprint for how to beat Mayweather and Cotto is implementing it well. Mayweather tags Cotto with a few rights as the round dwindles down. I think Floyd squeaked by in that one. 10-9 Mayweather.
Round 10: Mayweather back in the center of the ring. This is where he wants to fight. He drops his shoulder and holds his ground when Cotto tries to body him to the ropes. Crowd erupts when Cotto tags Mayweather with a right. Floyd snaps Cotto’s head back with a good jab. Slower round than the others. Cotto not as aggressive for some reason. Good flurry by Cotto before the bell. That might have stolen it for Cotto. But I think Mayweather did enough to win through the round. 10-9 Mayweather.
Round 11: Cotto backing Mayweather up with cobinations. They aren’t clean, but they count. Mayweather is fighting a bad fight. He cannot be on the ropes this long. He has to move. Cotto clubs Mayweather with a left, refuses to let him out of the corner. Cotto looking good in this round. Floyd showboats after a clean 1-2. I think Cotto got this one. Floyd just didn’t do enough. 10-9 Cotto.
Round 12: Cotto shoves Mayweather into the ropes. That fires Mayweather up. He comes out swinging! Hammering Cotto with shots all over. Cotto is not hurt but he can’t pull the trigger. Nice uppercut by Floyd dazes Cotto. Good round so far for Floyd. He has Cotto reeling now. Tied up in the middle of the ring. Exccellent round for Mayweather, maybe his best of the night. 10-9 Mayweather.
Scores: Scores are 117-111, 117-111, 118-110. SI.com scored it 116-112. Cards were right on. Amazingly, this was Floyd’s toughest fight in years and he cruised on the scorecards. Very impressive win.
As Mayweather talked after the fight to Larry Merchant — the HBO announcer Mayweather said should be fired after his September fight with Victor Ortiz— the crowd booed vociferously. Mayweather said he had apologized to Merchant on Friday for his outburst, which Merchant countered with, “If I was 50 years younger, I’d kick your (expletive).”
Mayweather outworked Cotto, landing 179 of 687 punches (26%), while Cotto connected on 105 of 506 (21%).
“You’re a hell of a champion, the toughest guy I fought,” Mayweather said to Cotto afterwards. “I had to fight hard, suck it up. He’s no pushover.”
“When fights are on pay-per-view, you want to give the fans what they pay for and that’s excitement.”
By the end of the night, Cotto had the crowd on its feet, sensing a possible upset over Mayweather. But it was not to be as the new WBA champion improved to 43-0 with 26 KOs.
Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, left right after the fight but talked later.
“The judges said I lost the fight. I can’t do anything else. I have to take my defeat,” he said. “I brought my best and I did my best every morning in training camp and I did my best tonight.”
Cotto said he was happy with his performance. “He knows what kind of fight Miguel Cotto brings and so do the fans. I can’t ask for anything more.”
USA Today & Sports Illustrated contributed to this report.