By Keith Idec
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is certain weight won’t be an issue Saturday night.
Miguel Cotto might be completely comfortable at 154 pounds, but Mayweather is confident his speed and skill advantages will negate any perceived disadvantage he’ll face by moving up from welterweight to junior middleweight to encounter Cotto.
“I think with me it really don’t play a major factor,” Mayweather said. “But with some fighters it do play a major factor, because some guys can push certain guys around. But you know me, I think my skills are on a different level from any other fighter, so when it’s all said and done skills pays the bills. You got certain guys that it all depends on what style of boxing, what style of fighting a guy is doing when you move up to a different weight class.
“I’m a guy that doesn’t believe in really taking any punishment — I believe in dishing it out. I’m very, very offensive-minded. I’m an offensive-minded fighter, of course, because that’s what the pay-per-view fans want. But I have been a defensive fighter, because if I wasn’t a defensive fighter I wouldn’t have lasted this long in the sport of boxing. And I don’t really think weight is going to really play a major key. I think it’s going to come down to the skills.”
The 35-year-old Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) won his only other fight at 154 pounds five years ago, when the Grand Rapids, Mich., native out-boxed Oscar De La Hoya en route to a 12-round, split-decision victory in Las Vegas. Mayweather weighed in at 150 pounds for that May 2007 showdown, four pounds lighter than De La Hoya. The undefeated five-division champion expects to weigh about 150 pounds again for the Cotto fight.
The 31-year-old Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) weighed in at 152½ pounds for his Dec. 3 rematch against Antonio Margarito at Madison Square Garden. Puerto Rico’s Cotto considers any weight advantage he might have Saturday night “an asset,” and the WBA super welterweight champion appreciates Mayweather’s willingness to move up in weight to make their fight a reality.
“I give thanks to him for making the fight [at] my weight,” Cotto said. “If he wants my title, he has to fight in my weight, and he does it in the correct way. It’s my weight class. I feel comfortable in here. I’m feeling pretty strong, really happy to get this fight in my weight class, and I just prepared myself well enough for victory.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.