Adrien Broner Follows in Money’s Footsteps

By Kieran Mulvaney

Adrien Broner - Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland

Whenever he chooses to step away from the ring – and he has said recently he would like to fight for two more years – Floyd Mayweather is unquestionably nearer the end of his career than the beginning of it. And every time one of boxing’s leading lights – be it Mayweather, Sugar Ray Leonard, Mike Tyson, or Oscar De La Hoya – begins to approach retirement age, anxious eyes inevitably cast around for a possible successor.

There is no shortage of prognosticators who would argue that Mayweather’s replacement is right in front of our eyes in the form of Cincinnati-based super featherweight champion Adrien Broner. The fast hand speed in the ring, the flashy style outside it – the comparisons are natural and obvious.

It’s an evaluation that Broner clearly enjoys.

“I’m one of the youngest in the game, and I’m already getting compared to one of the best who’s on top right now,” he says. “That just makes me feel more great and makes me work harder.”

Of course, he points out, “Floyd is Floyd and Adrien Broner is Adrien Broner.” But he acknowledges Mayweather’s influence on his career from an early age.

“Everybody who ever made it in this sport had somebody that he looked up to,” he says. “They take something from that person and they make it into their own. That’s what I did, since I was about 12. I saw him when he fought Diego Corrales, and after that I was just stuck. Definitely, definitely, I model my style on his. Every fight he has, I learn more and more and more, and I just put it in my own.”

Not surprisingly, while admiring of Miguel Cotto – “Cotto should be in the Hall of Fame, I think so” – he does not think the Puerto Rican will have any success against Mayweather on Saturday night:

“Floyd is great. What can I say? He does things that you can’t teach. People say I have that same talent. Tomorrow, I don’t see it going past 8 rounds. Anything can happen; this is boxing. But I just don’t think it’s going past 8, whatever happens.”

Broner returns to the ring on May 19, fighting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on HBO World Championship Boxing, and, he says, he’s working on the whole package, from fight plan to ring entrance.

“We’re going to dance our way in and dance our way out. That’s what we do,” he says. It is that showmanship, as much as his boxing, that earns the parallels with Mayweather, and like his mentor he embraces that part of his game.

“That’s the thing,” he points out. “I’m not just a professional boxer. I’m an entertainer. I should be in the movies. I should have a camera on me all day. This is what I do.” So there’ll be an Adrien Broner 24/7 soon? “Nah, they gonna call mine 24/8. They need another day for me,” he smiles.

Now, who does that remind you of?

Mayweather-Cotto: Final Press Conference

From the MGM’s Hollywood theater, writers offer their predictions at the last press conference before the fight. Watch video straight from the scene in Vegas.

Mayweather-Cotto: Inside the Stats

By Kieran Mulvaney and Eric Raskin

Your faithful Inside HBO Boxing bloggers, Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney, are at it again, poring over the CompuBox stats and interpreting what they mean for Saturday night’s throwdown. Before Mayweather and Cotto exchange punches, Raskin and Mulvaney exchanged thoughts:

 

Raskin: Kieran, great to be back with you to break down another mega-event, this one featuring two of the very biggest stars in the sport, Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto. Looking over the CompuBox data on these fighters, it’s interesting that in his last fight, against Victor Ortiz, Mayweather averaged 52 punches thrown per round, his highest total since 2005. Do you see him approaching that number against Cotto?

Mulvaney: My initial response is to say no. Victor Ortiz is Victor Ortiz, and Miguel Cotto is … better. A lot better. But Floyd has, in his last couple of fights, stepped forward more and been a much more aggressive fighter. And when Cotto has been troubled in the past, it’s been by guys who have overwhelmed him with punches. Mayweather may have calculated he’d be best served doing the same.

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How It Feels to Face Off Against Mayweather and Cotto

By Zab Judah (as told to Eric Raskin)

Floyd Mayweather, Zab Judah - Photo Credit: Chris Polk

I’ve been in the ring with both Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto, and I can tell you for a fact, they’re both excellent fighters. I have nothing but respect for both of them. But one of them has to lose, and based on my experience facing them, I think Cotto is going to be in trouble on May 5.

Until you get in the ring with Floyd, you can’t appreciate just how slick his defense is. That’s his main attribute, he’s a defensive master. He’s very hard to hit. You think you can land a combination? Forget about that. You basically hope to get one punch off, a jab or a straight left or a hook (remember, I’m a southpaw). Maybe a left and a hook together. But as far as getting a real combination off, that’s just not going to happen.

And as we all know, Miguel Cotto is not the fastest fighter in the world. If Cotto is going to hurt Mayweather, it will have to be from a single shot, thrown in close, on the inside. The only way for him to fight Mayweather is to get in close and trap him on the ropes and hope to get a good shot off.

Miguel Cotto, Zab Judah - Photo Credit: Will HartBut Floyd won’t make that easy for him. One thing I’ll tell you for sure, Floyd’s going to be moving in this fight. Cotto had better not listen to what Floyd says, if Floyd is talking about wanting to trade with Cotto or knock him out. Floyd’s got a big mouth, so I was prepared for me and Floyd to have a one-on-one stand-off—round one, the bell rings, we were going to meet in the middle and we were going to go for broke. That’s the kind of fight I thought it would be based on listening to Floyd talk, and that fight did not happen. He came out and started moving. So Cotto had better be prepared for that.

And here’s what Floyd needs to be prepared for: Cotto is a very hard puncher. He’s probably the second hardest puncher I’ve ever faced, right behind Lucas Matthysse. And, not to take away from Miguel Cotto’s victory against me, but the low blows definitely slowed me down. I’m not complaining, I can’t dwell on it, I’ve moved forward. But I would definitely tell Floyd to watch out for those low blows.

I know some people are saying Cotto isn’t the same fighter now that he was when I fought him, but I’m not prepared to say that myself. I can never call any fighter diminished, finished, over. I remember a couple months ago, they were telling me I was finished, and then I went out and defeated Vernon Paris. From the outside, you never know what a person is going through. Yeah, we can look at a fight and see that one person has more skill than another, but who are we to tell somebody when they’re finished?

I expect Cotto to come to fight. But it’s not going to be enough. I’ve got Mayweather by ninth or 10th-round stoppage. I’ve had an opportunity to watch him train lately, and he’s been looking good. So I’m looking for Floyd to go in there and put on a clinic.

Final Press Conference Hints at Battle Plans

By Kieran Mulvaney


Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto - Photo Credit: Will Hart

There are times when controversy before a fight feels (and may indeed be) manufactured. In 2003, for example, promoter Bob Arum mentioned, with a nod and a wink, that Yory Boy Campas was finding strength from a ‘magic potion’ prior to his fight with Oscar De La Hoya. Reporters, as reporters do, duly reported Arum’s words, and the net effect, as Arum intended, was to kindle interest in a fight that was expected – and proved – to be a relatively easy night’s work for the Golden Boy.

Sometimes, controversy is genuine. Not to keep picking on De La Hoya, but Fernando Vargas genuinely detested him, loathed him with a long-festering venom that had its roots in a perceived slight from years before. So great was the hatred, so real was the prospect of a fight breaking out before the fight, that when the two men weighed in on Friday, they did so on a pair of scales separated by a plexiglass screen.

And sometimes it doesn’t seem to exist at all. In the case of Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto, two fighters of extensive experience and considerable accomplishment have chosen not to engage in a war of words.

“That’s the way it should be,” said Cotto to journalists after Wednesday’s final pre-fight press conference. “You get paid to fight in the ring, not outside the ring.”

Instead, each man followed the press conference by quietly offering thoughts on the tactics and approaches he, and his opponent, might bring to the ring on Saturday.

Floyd Mayweather

I think the main thing with me is my mind, my sharpness, how sharp I am mentally.  Am I faster?

You can’t say. I may come out and not be that fast. I’m older. He may come out and be fast. You don’t know what they’ve been working on in their camp. They may have been showing us one thing on TV, but they may have been working on just a certain thing just to get his speed up.

I hear a lot of the time, “Mayweather don’t do this, Mayweather don’t do that.” Well, if I can beat you one way, why even go another way? If I can beat you with a one-two, that’s all I need. If I got to throw combinations, that’s what I’ll use if I have to. But if I don’t have to use it, why use it? That’s wasting an unnecessary arsenal.

I may take a step around and pivot, but I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. I can stand there and bang if that’s what I’ve got to do, or I can go in there and box. I can keep a guy at the end of my stick if that’s what I have to. You’ve always got guys who are front-runners, who come out hard, but I like to take my time. What happens, happens. How it plays out is how it plays out. 

Miguel Cotto

If I concentrate on just going to the body, I am going to fail. If you go into a fight with just one plan, to fight a guy like Mayweather, who can punch or who can run, who has skills, you’re going to fail. We have prepared ourselves for more than one plan. I’m going to use all the tools I have in my bag.

I don’t like to talk out of the ring. I had a tremendous camp in Orlando. I put my trust in [trainer] Pedro [Diaz], in every member of my team, and I trust most importantly myself.  I am prepared, and I am just happy to be in the ring.

If nobody has found the way to beat Floyd Mayweather so far, you’re going to see how a person can beat Floyd Mayweather on Saturday.

On the Scene in Las Vegas: Fighter Arrivals and Fans Predictions

A throng of welcoming fans meet Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand – and weigh in with their own predictions. Watch the video.

Battles Of The Ages, For The Ages

By Eric Raskin

Saul "Canelo" Alvarez - Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland

It’s a timeless tradition in boxing: A young up-and-comer looks to elevate his legacy with a win over whatever remains of an aging all-time great. That’s what Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is aiming for against “Sugar” Shane Mosley in the co-featured bout Saturday night, and there’s no shortage of examples over the years of sad spectacles that played out decisively in the younger man’s favor.

But there are also plenty of noteworthy cases where the “old man” rediscovered the magic and, whether he won or lost, the result was a classic fight that delivered drama and thrills.

Surely the most famous case was “The Rumble In The Jungle,” when the world feared for Muhammad Ali’s life against the destructive heavyweight champ George Foreman and Ali outwitted his stronger foe en route to an eighth-round knockout. And that wasn’t the last time ancient Ali took care of business against an opponent roughly a decade his junior. After a shock loss to neophyte Leon Spinks in 1978, Ali, in what would be his final victory, reversed the result to become history’s first three-time heavyweight champion.

Roberto Duran is another legendary fighter who twice pulled off late-career miracles in fights where he was supposed to serve as cannon fodder. His brutal beatdown of previously undefeated Davey Moore in ’83 was a stirring affair, topped six years later by Duran’s shocking triumph over Iran Barkley in The Ring magazine’s Fight of the Year.

Of course, you can’t talk about age-inappropriate warriors excelling against younger opponents without talking about the three greatest 40-and-over fighters ever, Archie Moore, George Foreman, and Bernard Hopkins. Moore’s recovery from three first-round knockdowns to top Yvon Durelle in 1958 stands as the defining fight of his career. Although Foreman’s knockout of Michael Moorer in ’94 was the fight that made him the oldest heavyweight champ ever, it’s his competitive loss to Evander Holyfield three years earlier that stands as the more entertaining cross-generational clash. And though Hopkins isn’t known for making classic fights, his recent victories over Kelly Pavlik, Jean Pascal, and, in both cases, Father Time, were stirring in their own ways.

Two of the best recent examples of classic fights between an aging great and a hungry young gladiator featured modern Mexican legends exceeding the expectations of many observers. In 2009, Juan Manuel Marquez outdueled Juan Diaz on HBO in what would be named the Fight of the Year. And in 2011, Erik Morales bravely ignored a grotesquely swollen eye to give Marcos Maidana all he could handle en route to a narrow decision loss.

It’s been said many times that boxing is a young man’s game. And that statement is 100 percent true. Except when it isn’t.

Career Highlights of Two World-Class Fighters

By Kieran Mulvaney

Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto bring a combined record of 79 wins and 2 losses to the ring on Saturday night. In advance of their HBO PPV clash from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, we look back on three key fights from the career of each boxer.

 

Floyd Mayweather

 

Diego Corrales (Las Vegas, January 20, 2001)

Diego Corrales - Photo Credit: Will Hart

Mayweather and Corrales were rival, undefeated 130-pound titlists when they clashed in Las Vegas, and there was no shortage of pundits who felt the lanky Corrales would prove too powerful. But in what arguably remains his greatest performance, Mayweather took Corrales apart, firing off fast combinations while exhibiting stellar defense. Corrales was unable to touch Mayweather, who floored him five times before Corrales’ corner stopped the contest in the tenth round.

 

Jose Luis Castillo (Las Vegas, April 20, 2002)

Jose Luis Castillo - Photo Credit: Will Hart

In the eyes of many observers, this was Mayweather’s toughest fight and the closest he came to defeat. Castillo applied constant pressure to Mayweather, frequently pinning him against the ropes and forcing the American on the defensive. At the bout’s end, many felt the Castillo had done enough to win, but all three judges saw the bout for Mayweather, who also won a unanimous decision in a rematch seven and a half months later. Several subsequent opponents have cited Castillo as setting the blueprint for how to beat Mayweather, but as the erstwhile Pretty Boy frequently points out, they may have all tried, but they have all failed.

 

Oscar De La Hoya (Las Vegas, May 5 2007)

Oscar De La Hoya - Photo Credit: Will Hart

This was the event that transformed Mayweather into a genuine superstar. The only previous occasion on which he fought at 154 lbs., Mayweather overcame some early resistance and a stiff De La Hoya jab to take over the fight in the second half and win a split decision victory. The 2.4 million pay-per-view buys remains a boxing record.

 

 

 

 

 Miguel Cotto

 

Ricardo Torres (Atlantic City, September 24, 2005)

Ricardo Torres - Photo Credit: Will Hart

Cotto was gaining a reputation as a hard-hitting, technically skilled but largely methodical body-puncher when he ran into Colombia’s Torres. Cotto dropped Torres in the first but was then battered and knocked down himself in the second, struggling to contend with Torres’ fast hands and hard punches. He sent Torres back to the canvas in the fourth, was hurt again in the fifth, put Torres down again in the sixth, and finally finished him in the seventh. It was the first occasion Cotto showed he could fight his way out of trouble and bring the crowd to its feet , that he could be exciting as well as effective.

 

Shane Mosley (New York, November 10, 2007)

Shane Mosley - Photo Credit: Will Hart

Cotto displayed his boxing ability against dangerous and skilled veteran Mosley, punishing the former champion with a stiff left jab and overhand rights as Mosley stayed at a distance to avoid Cotto’s punishing body attack. The American rallied down the stretch, closing the gap and hurting Cotto on several occasions, but Cotto stuck to the game plan and won a unanimous decision. Afterward, Mosley dubbed his opponent “a young lion on his way to greatness.”

 

Antonio Margarito (New York, December 3, 2011)

Antonio Margarito - Photo Credit: Will Hart

The march to greatness Mosley had prophesied was interrupted when Cotto ran into the fists of Antonio Margarito in July 2008. But when, before a fight with Mosley, Margarito was found to have tainted handwraps, the cloud of suspicion swirled around his bout with Cotto. Did he cheat during that fight? Were his wraps loaded? Cotto admitted he struggled with his confidence after that loss, but he finally exorcised his demons with a dominant display against his former tormentor, closing his right eye and stopping him after 9 rounds. With revenge secured, Cotto says he has returned to his best, in time for the clash with Mayweather.