By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Floyd Mayweather Jr. (43-0, 26KOs) became the WBA's junior middleweight champion with a twelve round unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30KOs) in a fantastic fight. The scores were 118-110, 117-111, 117-111. They went to war, they traded punches, they traded blood - but Mayweather's accurate punches gave him the edge in several close rounds.
The first round was tactical and was more of a feeling out process. The fireworks exploded in the second round. Mayweather had no concerns with allowing Cotto to back him up into the ropes and then countering with hard hooks to the side of Cotto's head. They stood and traded punches, with Mayweather landing the more telling blows. They continued to trade punches in the third round, with Mayweather once again finding the target a lot quicker.
In the fourth, Mayweather was playing target practice by sharpshooting punches to Cotto's head. In the final twenty second, the Puerto Rican champion pressed forward with combinations to the body and the head. Cotto was pressing forward in the fifth round and making it a real fight. Mayweather was outlanding him, but Cotto continued to come forward to trade punches. Whenever Cotto landed well to the body, Mayweather would find his head.
Floyd's nose was bleeding in the sixth and he was certainly taking punches. For the first time in years, Mayweather was actually in a fight. Cotto was pressing forward and timing Mayweather well. In the seventh round, Mayweather slowed the pace and whenever the pace slowed down - it was Mayweather who was easily outboxing Cotto.
Cotto went to work in the eight and he was pressing forward, landing hard shots to the body and actually started to land a few upstairs. The shots to the body were ripping Mayweather and the entire crowd was in a frenzy.
The ninth round was a mixed bag of tricks. Cotto started well, but it was Mayweather who finished strong with a few combinations that may have stolen the round.
The tenth was a near duplication of the tenth, with Cotto closing strong with a solid combination of punches, including a good uppercut, that sent Mayweather's head back.
The battle continued in the eleventh. Cotto was making this ohe a real fight, with Mayweather landing calculated shots when the opening were there.
In the twelfth, Mayweather dominated with combinations to the head and body. He had Cotto in trouble for the first time in the fight, as the knees were buckling from Mayweather's three and four punch combinations.