Last week's conference call with Floyd Mayweather exposed more dis-information and bull jive from the boxing champ, who will face Canelo Alvarez in Las Vegas this weekend...
Floyd: "I wanted to fight Miguel Cotto when he was undefeated. I couldn't get the fight..."
My article on Feb. 26, 2008:
Cotto Blasts Mayweather
26.02.08 - By Scoop Malinowski: It's the most important and exciting match that can be made in boxing today - Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto. Two of boxing's very best with contrasting styles and personalities to determine supremacy at welterweight. But that mouth-watering fight may never happen.
"You'll never see it," said Emanuel Steward yesterday at a New York City press conference. "It's a matchup I would love to see. But I don't think Mayweather will ever fight him." When asked if HBO could force it or if Floyd is fearful, Steward replied, "I won't even get into that. I just don't think you'll ever see it."
Bob Arum agreed with Steward's assessment, although a little more vehemently. "I think Mayweather will never ever EVER go into the ring with Miguel Cotto. Ever. EVER." Couldn't HBO force Floyd to fight Cotto? "No. No! Nobody can force him to do it. He won't do it."
Consider if you will, that those are two insiders, who know the inner workings of boxing's most powerful television network. If they say Mayweather will continue to duck Miguel Cotto (well, in their own diplomatic words at least) then it must be true. We may never see Floyd vs. Cotto - the fight absolutely everyone wants to watch, with the exception of Floyd Mayweather. This is a shame on the overall sport of boxing and it's marketers, promoters, and decision-makers. The sport of Boxing, now under attack from the growing threat and popularity of the UFC, neglecting to make the biggest, most exciting and important match to be made today could be a severe error which could possibly do irreparable damage to the future of the sport. What if more champion boxers choose to duck the best fights? Suppose boxing fans pay another $50 and get another lousy Mayweather-De La Hoya sparring session/business fight - how will they react with their boxing budgets?
And just what does Miguel Cotto think of the handpicking, sidestepping and excuse-making antics of Mayweather? "That's the thing he does for his entire career. He run from the really good boxer kind, he choose the others. I don't know how the people who know about boxing put him in the first place in the pound-for-pound champion," stated Cotto.
Those are pretty heavy words from Cotto who will not speak negatively about anyone in boxing. The other reporters at the press conference don't seem interested in probing Cotto about Mayweather's reluctance, so I will. Do you think Mayweather actually is afraid of you? "I don't know what kind of reason he has for choosing another fighter. If you want to be the best you have to fight the best."
You actually believe you will beat Floyd don't you? "I'm pretty sure of that," answers Cotto. When asked why he believes so: "Because of my training. Because of my - I trust a lot in myself. And I'm always do more than 100% in my training sessions."
Cotto says he sees vulnerabilities in Mayweather which he knows how to exploit. "He's quick. He's fast. But when you put pressure on him he closes his mind."
Cotto is such a gentleman you will not hear him say anything worse about Mayweather than that. No, it wasn't Cotto who referred to Mayweather as "Fraud Gayweather," that was Antonio Margarito, who similarly was avoided by Mayweather two years ago. Maybe Cotto's only chance to get his fists on Floyd is to insult and ridicule the hypocritical WBC champ, such as Antonio Tarver had to do to get at Roy Jones.
For now, Cotto will fight Alphonso Gomez on April 12 in Atlantic City. "He wanted the chance. He beat Gatti and Tackie. He's the right opponent for this moment," says Cotto.
If Mayweather continues to avoid a showdown with Cotto, Miguel says his future plans are undecided. "The company said something about fighting the winner of Margarito and Cintron fight but it's nothing clear. But I prefer to stay focused on Gomez."
So Gomez it will be. But what is the one fight Cotto seeks most of all? Cotto's inherent humility and sincerity shines through on his response. "I don't want anybody. The guy who want to fight me. All the big names I want to fight with them."
The welterweight division is stocked high with a diverse array of fascinating talents and personalities. However the most anticipated match up of all, Cotto vs. Mayweather, will not be happening any time soon. Or ever, according to Steward and Arum. But one thing must be understood. None of the blame whatsoever should be directed at Miguel Cotto who has proven time and again he is willing, able and courageous enough to fight the best.
After this article appeared Leonard Ellerbe, Floyd's advisor told the New York Post that Floyd wasn't going to fight Cotto because his name wasn't popular enough and his pay-per-view numbers weren't good enough.
Mayweather himself told ESPN2 live on the air of a Friday Night Fights telecast that he wouldn't fight Cotto, "Because he lives in Puerto Rico..."
You can see Floyd dodging Margarito and Cotto in this video...
In the conference call Floyd approved himself for ducking and dodging high risk threats while congratulating his team Ellerbe and Al Haymon for handpicking low-risk opponents and selling it to the networks:
"Sometimes they say, "Well, Floyd Mayweather's opponents was handpicked." That's a good thing. I want to come in and think they put me in a position to where if I did have an easy career and I made a lot of money, then I feel like my team has done their job. I commend my team. Leonard, you've done a tremendous job because when I sit back and I think about my career, I say you know what? I had a cool career. I didn't take any punishment. If they say these guys were handpicked, they was handpicked to make $40 and $50 and $60 million, then you know what? Leonard, you've done your job. You've done a tremendous job. If you've done that, keep doing the same thing. Keep handpicking them. If they're going to keep paying, keep handpicking them."
"It's so crazy. I didn't fight him when he was 40 (Canelo fighting Shane Mosley). So what's so crazy is I didn't fight Shane Mosley when he was 40; I fought him when he came off one of his biggest victory. People seem to forget that. I never fought nobody for a vacant belt. Everybody I fought, I fought a champion, a guy that was a champion. These are the things that I did in the sport. Like I said before, it's not my fault. It's about timing and it's about having the right team. That's what I got. I got the right team."
Floyd said last week: "Boxing is competing against each other to be the best."
But Floyd in 2006 contradicted that notion under extreme pressure to face Antonio Margarito: "We're not fighting to prove to the boxing fans who the best is."
Floyd about PEDs: "What's so crazy is at first it was like everybody was saying, "Floyd, he's a chicken. He's scared" and I felt like I'm not being a chicken or I'm scared. All I'm saying is this is the only even playing field. I feel like if I step up the plate and I'm the best and I'm saying that I want to be tested, I feel like every athlete should say it. Not just every boxer. Every athlete that's competing at the highest level should want to be tested if you're a real professional."
Of course, Mayweather did not talk about cleaning up his own stable of fighters where two of his boxers recently were tested positive for using performance enhancing drugs (Mickey Bey and L'Leon Love). So how can Floyd clean up the sport or another sport when he can't even clean up or publicly mention or rebuke two drug-using fighters he promotes and supports?
"Absolutely. I feel I was the first one to take an important stand on cleaning up the sport," says Mayweather. "Now you hear every fighter, even with Timothy Bradley versus Marquez, now Timothy Bradley is saying that he don't want to fight unless Marquez tests. So you're constantly hearing that. Now everybody, or at least the guys that understand how important it is, are now is saying, "I want my opponent to test. The guy that I'm competing against, I want him to take a test." Like I said before, I started it all and now, like I said before, it's done everywhere."
(Note: Love was suspended from boxing for six months and fined $l0,000 for using a banned diuretic in his fight this year with Gabriel Rosado.)
(Note: Mickey Bey Jr. was fined this year $l,000 and suspended for three months for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone after his fight with Robert Rodriguez.)