LOS ANGELES — A megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. “is still possible,” Manny Pacquiao said after watching the unbeaten American subdue Miguel Cotto in their 12-round super welterweight title bout in Las Vegas.
“May pag-asa pa [There’s still a chance], depending on the negotiations,” the Filipino ring idol told this reporter in his condominium unit in Los Angeles, where he watched the last two rounds of the Mayweather-Cotto fight on Saturday night (Sunday in Manila).
“It was a good fight. They both fought well,” Pacquiao added in Filipino.
Mayweather used his speed and accuracy to win a unanimous decision over a game Cotto in one of his toughest fights ever.
Mayweather dominated late, rocking Cotto in the 12th round to pull out a win and remain unbeaten in 43 fights. But it wasn’t easy, with Mayweather getting his nose bloodied and Cotto fighting until the final bell.
Two judges scored the fight 117-111 and the third had it 118-110. The Associated Press had Mayweather winning 116-112.
Fight with Pacquiao
Mayweather was guaranteed $32 million for the fight. After the decision was announced, Mayweather discussed a possible fight with Pacquiao, his rival for the title of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
Fans have been clamoring for the megafight, which has hit various stumbling blocks, including Mayweather’s insistence that Pacquiao agree to blood testing and how the revenue from the fight is to be divided.
“I tried to make the Pacquiao fight and that didn’t work, so I fought Miguel Cotto instead and gave the fans a great fight,” Mayweather said. “I want to fight Pacquiao but he has to take the test, and I’ll fight him.”
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum has said Pacquiao is willing to take blood and urine tests in the weeks and months leading up to a fight with Mayweather.
Jeers for Mayweather
Pacquiao stopped Cotto by a 12th-round technical knockout when they fought in 2009, also in Las Vegas. The Filipino knocked down Cotto twice—a feat Mayweather failed to achieve against the Puerto Rican.
Pacquiao arrived with his entourage at Los Angeles International Airport just as the fight started in Las Vegas. He went straight to his Los Angeles condominum, where he caught the tail end of the fight. Family members and friends, who wached the fight with him, all rooted for Cotto.
The Filipino is scheduled to face American Timothy Bradley on June 9 at MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where the Mayweather-Cotto bout was held. Pacquiao will start training here on Monday.
When HBO announcer Larry Merchant began his post-match interview with Mayweather, Pacquiao reached for the remote control and turned up the volume. As Pacquiao expected, Mayweather talked about him.
When Mayweather told Merchant that Pacquiao should take the drug test before he would fight him, the crowd gathered in Pacquiao’s home jeered.
Mayweather also took a jab at Arum for supposedly preventing a match between him and Pacquiao.
“Bob Arum is in the way,” he said. “He’s stopping the fans from getting what they want. Let’s give the fans what they want.”
Ex-champion Oscar De La Hoya, in a recent media interview, also said Arum was blocking the fight because he was afraid Mayweather would “expose Pacquiao” in the ring and take away some of the luster from Top Rank promotions’ biggest superstar.
“I just think that Mayweather will expose Pacquiao. I’m not saying it would be the end of his career … This is Bob Arum’s last fighter who is going to make him a lot of money … Why is he going to expose him and risk all that he has with Pacquiao,” De La Hoya said.
Asked for comment on De La Hoya’s claim, Pacquiao said: “It’s up to them what they want to say. That will not affect me because I have God behind me.”
Punch stats in Saturday’s fight showed Mayweather landing 179 of 687 punches to 105 of 506 to Cotto. Mayweather landed 128 power punches to Cotto’s 75.
“You’re a hell of a champion,” Mayweather told Cotto after the fight. “You’re the toughest guy I ever fought.”
Fighting just a few weeks before he enters a county jail to serve a three-month sentence for domestic abuse, Mayweather found himself in a tough fight against a game opponent who never stopped moving forward. But he was faster and more accurate than Cotto and seemed to wear him down in the final rounds.
In the last round, Mayweather landed his best punch of the night, a left uppercut that seemed to hurt Cotto. He followed that with several flurries to the head to wrap up a decision that until the later rounds had been in doubt.
The decision was roundly booed by the crowd, which cheered wildly every time Cotto landed a punch.
Unaffected by weight
“He’s a tough competitor,” Mayweather said. “He came to fight, he didn’t just come to survive. I had to fight hard and suck it up. I dug down and fought him back.”
Mayweather was forced to fight every minute of all 12 rounds. He did it after weighing in at 151 pounds (68.5 kilograms), the heaviest he has ever been for a fight.
The weight didn’t seem to affect Mayweather, and neither did the heavier 10-ounce gloves at super welterweight. But he took some punishment before coming back to dish some out in the later rounds.
“When you fight on pay-per-view you have to give the fans what they want, and that’s excitement,” Mayweather said.
Fighting on the ropes
Cotto came out looking slow and overmatched in the first round, but quickly settled into a routine, attacking Mayweather from behind his left jab. But Mayweather got more aggressive coming out to start the fourth round, and landed a series of rights to the head that stunned Cotto and kept him from moving forward effectively.
Mayweather fought good portions of the fight on the ropes, using them for leverage and counterpunching to Cotto’s head when he opened up. He was not only quicker than Cotto, but more accurate, often landing in between Cotto’s defenses.
“He’s ready to quit,” trainer Roger Mayweather told his nephew after the sixth round.
But Cotto was relentless, coming forward and hitting Mayweather with good shots to the head. Toward the end of the eighth round, he landed several punches to the head, prompting Mayweather to shake his head as if they didn’t hurt, but by then, Mayweather was bleeding from the nose and looked like he had taken some punishment.
The eighth round proved the high point for the champion as Mayweather changed strategy, employing more lateral movement and firing right hands from long range.
By the 12th, Cotto needed a knockout to win but it was Mayweather who closed in style, rattling his opponent with combinations that buckled Cotto’s knees and smiling as he evaded counterattacks.
Cotto, who fell to 37-3, was guaranteed his biggest purse ever, $8 million. With reports from AP, Reuters