MICHAEL JENNINGS ASSESSES MAYWEATHER-COTTO
On Saturday evening at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Puerto Rican national treasure Miguel Angel Cotto faces the ominous task of trying to snap the 42 fight unbeaten streak of the sports ‘pound for pound’ leader Floyd Mayweather (The fight shall be broadcast live and exclusive in the UK on BoxNation, Sky Ch. 456/Virgin Ch. 546)
The Brit best equipped to assess Cotto’s chances is Chorley’s Michael Jennings, the former English, British and WBU welter king who shared five very painful rounds with the Puerto Rican when debating the vacant WBO welter strap at Madison Square Garden, New York in February 2009.
Now back in light training with Joe Gallagher at Amir Khan’s Gloves gym in Bolton following a 20 month hiatus due to an ongoing shoulder complaint, the 34 year old Lancastrian offers this assessment.
“The reason that Floyd Mayweather is ‘pound for pound’ is because he’s got everything. For a start, he doesn’t look 35. He’s super fit and does everything right; really lives the life.
People go on about his speed, and it is scary, but he can also dig. He’s so confident and elusive, so hard to catch, so relaxed. He does carry his hands very low which might lure his opponents, give them a bit of confidence but his reflexes have been so good.
I know he’s getting older but I still don’t think the inactivity is going to harm him. He’s had long breaks before and returned without any deterioration. His preparation is impeccable. You can guarantee he’ll have got in the best sparring on the planet.
Cotto was a million miles above anything I’d fought previously. At the weigh-in, I was bigger than Miguel but his frame changed remarkably between the scales and getting into the ring. He was absolutely massive.
But what really distinguishes him as a brilliant fighter is his accuracy. I’ve never been hit before like he hit me. Though he’s not southpaw, he’s a natural left hander. His first jab landed straight on my nose and really made my eyes water. That hadn’t happened since the first time I sparred when I was a little kid. He had easily the heaviest hands of anyone I’ve been inside a ring with.
Miguel never wastes anything and they all hurt! Every time, he’d land right under the front ribcage. Having been caught once, I was really mindful of defending against those shots, tucking up tight yet still he’d be able to find the exact spot, time after time.
Whenever I’d throw a shot, he’d slide away and make you miss by an inch….then make you pay. I thought I had fast hands but he was faster, far faster than he appears when on TV. His speed’s deceptive.
On the downside, it’s not impossible to tag him with the straight right hand. We’d identified that in our camp and I did catch him with a few. If Mayweather sees an opening, he’ll catch him.
While Cotto’s a very good boxer, Mayweather’s the master class in that department and I can’t see any way that Cotto could stand off and outbox him. To get any level of success, Cotto will need to attack clever, apply controlled pressure then, if he can get inside, stick to the ‘Pretty Boy’ like Velcro. There’s no point just letting ones or twos go, he’ll need to bang in those body shot combinations. But it’s a hard task.
I’ve been watching those 24/7s on BoxNation and I’d like Cotto to win. He seems a really sound guy, down to earth. Floyd can come across as arrogant but I guess he’s plenty to be arrogant about.
I expect Mayweather will just sit off, take no risks, force Cotto to rush him. Then he’ll look to pick him off. Though Cotto’s too good for it to be totally one sided, I think Mayweather will probably outpoint him pretty comfortably. A good boxer usually beats a good fighter.”