By Rick Reeno
Grant Sawyer State Building, Las Vegas - The opponent is set for May 5th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. During a hearing to obtain his boxing license in the state of Nevada, WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26KOs) announced his next opponent, WBA junior middleweight king Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30KOs), to the members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Mayweather was asked by the commission - "Do you have an opponent for May 5th? Are you ready to reveal that opponent?
Mayweather replied: "Yes I do [have an opponent].....Miguel Cotto."
Cotto, promoted by Top Rank since the start of his career, became a free agent on December 31st when his promotional contract expired.
Cotto was the frontrunner to face Manny Pacquiao in a rematch on June 9th, also at the MGM Grand. The fighting weight was a major sticking point. Pacquiao refused to fight above the welterweight limit of 147, while Cotto was only willing to go down as low as 150-pounds.
When Pacquiao stopped Cotto in the twelfth round of their 2009 welterweight bout, the Puerto Rican star was required to make a catch-weight limit of 145-pounds. Following the loss, Cotto moved up to 154-pounds and stopped Yuri Foreman in June of 2010 to capture the WBA title. Cotto returned in March of the following year, and knocked out Ricardo Mayorga in the twelfth round, and then came back in December to stop Antonio Margarito in the tenth round.
Pacquiao's refusal to face Cotto at 150-pounds or above - opened up the door for alternative opportunities. From the start, Mayweather had no issue with Cotto's weight demand.
"Pacquiao fought him at a catch-weight. If I fight Cotto, I want him to be at a weight where he's comfortable," Mayweather had recently told BoxingScene.com.
The bout will be Mayweather's second appearance in a junior middleweight contest. He won the WBC's version of the title in 2008 with a twelve round split decision on May of 2007.
Mayweather was required to appear before the Nevada State Athletic Commission to explain his recent plea of guilty to a domestic abuse charge. Mayweather was sentenced to 90 days at the Clark County Detention Center. The sentence was scheduled to start on January 6th, but Mayweather's attorney was able to convince the judge, based on a scheduled fight for May 5th at the MGM, to postpone the start of his sentence to June 1.
The commission granted Mayweather a "one-fight conditional" license. On May 1, Mayweather will have to appear for a pre-fight review to ensure Floyd is staying out of trouble and meeting his court obligations. After serving his June sentence, Mayweather will have to appear before the commission in the future for an extended review.