When Miguel Cotto defeated Antonio Margarito five months ago, he not only avenged his first loss as a professional but he also exorcised the demons that have haunted him the past four years.
Any time you lose for the first time, especially in the fashion Cotto did in 2008 to Margarito, your confidence takes a major hit. Cotto was obviously not the same fighter, and it showed in bouts against Joshua Clottey and Manny Pacquiao.
That's why the victory over Margarito last December was so significant because it provided Cotto some closure and much needed momentum heading into his May 5 bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather presents the greatest challenge for Cotto, even more so than Pacquiao. Hey, everyone thought Ivan Drago was a machine until Rocky Balboa exposed his human side. Beating Mayweather will be a tall order, but it is not an impossible task. Here are three keys to a Cotto victory:
1) Body Blows
Cotto is a head-hunter, but against Mayweather he needs to go to the body. Floyd has superb head movement and rolls his shoulders to deflect punches, making it extremely difficult to get a clean shot on him. Cotto has to keep Mayweather's right hand occupied by throwing the left jab and then come back with a right cross to the left side of Mayweather's body.
2) Let Your Hands Go
Almost all of Mayweather's fights become one-sided because Floyd's opponents tend to let up when they get down. Cotto can't allow Floyd to be comfortable in the middle of the ring. He has to stalk Mayweather and force him to come out of his defensive shell. And the way to do that is by unleashing a barrage of punches from all angles and apply constant pressure.
3) Lean And Mean
Cotto is comfortable as a super welterweight. He must be physical with Floyd, but do it within the context of the fight and not pull a Victor Ortiz-type stunt. Cotto needs to lean on Mayweather and make him use up some energy. Cotto has no choice but to junk up the fight to disrupt Mayweather's timing.
-- Related Story: Mayweather's Keys Vs. Cotto
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