By Rick Reeno
Grant Sawyer State Building, Las Vegas - As BoxingScene.com had previously reported, WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26KOs) officially announced his next opponent, WBA junior middleweight king Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30KOs). The fight takes place on May 5th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Mayweather revealed his opponent during a hearing before the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The state commission granted Mayweather's request to obtain a license to box on the scheduled May date.
Following his announcement, Mayweather discussed his feelings on the upcoming fight with Cotto, the fallout for a proposed mega-fight with Manny Pacquiao - and more.
BoxingScene.com: Thoughts on facing Miguel Cotto at 154.
Mayweather: I think Miguel Cotto is a hell of a fighter, a strong solid 154-pounder. Pacquiao was trying to fight him at 147. I would never want to put a fighter in a position where he's not comfortable. I want a guy when he's at his best. If he's at his best at 154 and he's strong and he's solid, then that's the fight we're fighting at. I walk around at 150, but the end of the day - skills pays the bills.
[Oscar] De La Hoya - Pacquiao fights him at a catch-weight. Cotto - he fights him at a catch-weight. When I fought De La Hoya, I said 'give him to me at 154.' With Cotto – ‘give him to me at 154.’ Give me the guys where they are comfortable at their weight so there are no excuses.
BoxingScene.com: What are your thoughts on Miguel Cotto as a fighter.
Mayweather: He's solid. Every time he goes out he puts on a hell of a performance. He's strong. He can punch good with the left and he can punch with the right. This is what the fans want to see, blood sweat and tears. I tried to give the fans blood, sweat and tears with Manny Pacquiao, but he didn't want the fight from the beginning. This guy is ducking and dodging. This guy got famous from basically piggy-backing off my name. When you mention Floyd Mayweather's name, you mention an all-time great in the sport of boxing. When you mention Pacquiao, you say 'that's the guy who is trying to fight Floyd Mayweather. '
BoxingScene.com: Are you upset with Manny Pacquiao not being the opponent for May 5th?
Mayweather: I presented Pacquiao with the fight. Pacquiao is blowing a lot of smoke up everybody's ass. He doesn’t really want to fight. I tried to get him to step up to the plate. We're talking about a $10 million dollar fighter that I tried to give $40 million dollars to, and we didn't even talk about the backend. Everything that everybody is hearing is a bunch of lies. I got proof. The proof is in the pudding. I got proof from all of my meetings with [Pacquiao’s adviser] Michael Koncz.
BoxingScene.com: What can we expect against Cotto?
Mayweather: You guys don’t have to worry about me backpedaling. I'm going to stand there and box, toe to toe, use my defense and do what I do best - get the victory.
BoxingScene.com: Thoughts on Cotto's last performance against Antonio Margarito?
Mayweather: I thought he did what he had to do. He executed a game plan. As far as the first fight, Miguel Cotto got beat by a guy who was cheating, a guy who they said I was scared of, a guy who was cheating. And then he fought Pacquiao and drained himself to fight him at a catch-weight.
BoxingScene.com: When you and Cotto were both at Top Rank, you wanted this fight back then. You said Top Rank wouldn't give you that fight. Was Cotto's decision to become a free agent the reason this fight is taking place?
Mayweather: I think Miguel Cotto, of course with him leaving Top Rank - he's going to make more money than he's ever made in his career. And that's what Floyd Mayweather brings to the table. Even with Manny Pacquiao, he was going to make more money than he's ever made in his career. If you look at the list, it goes on and one...De La Hoya, Hatton. Like I said before, out with the old and in with the new - Mayweather Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions.