Full Fight Day Schedule for Mayweather-Cotto

This weekend’s boxing mega-event, Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto, airs live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas at 9 pm ET / 6 pm PT. But before the opening bell rings on HBO PPV, InsideHBOBoxing.com has a full day’s worth of fight news and events to get you fired up for the big bout:

- Catch up on all the action of Fight Week, all day long -

InsideHBOBoxing.com has reported every angle of Mayweather-Cotto straight from the ground in Vegas.

- Watch the full run of ‘Mayweather-Cotto 24/7’ -

The full episodes are playing now on HBO.com and YouTube.

- Show up early for the untelevised undercards LIVE on HBO.com -

At 4 pm ET / 7 pm PT, live streaming of the initial bouts of the evening will be available free.

- Kick off your night with ‘Fight Day Now’ -

At 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT, catch HBO’s prefight show right before the televised matches begin.

- Join the Twitter conversation right here -

When the PPV broadcast starts at 9 pm ET / 6 pm PT, stay online for live updates, round-by-round scoring and more.

Get Up to Speed on All the Action of Mayweather-Cotto Fight Week

By Eric Raskin

Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto - Photo Credit: Will Hart

They spent two months preparing. They’ll spend 36 minutes (or less) fighting. We explored every angle of the matchup with a week’s worth of coverage direct from Las Vegas, building up to the collision that is Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto on HBO PPV. In case you’re joining the fight-week party late, here’s what you need to know:

Mayweather vs. Cotto matches two of the three most bankable stars in the sport, and as you might expect, that stardom was hard-earned by each gladiator in a series of signature victories. Both Cotto and Mayweather made major statements in their most recent bouts, setting the stage for arguably the biggest-selling event boxing has seen in five years.

Emanuel Steward - Photo Credit: Will Hart

Fight Week officially kicked into gear when the combatants rolled into town, greeted by throngs of fans in the MGM Grand lobby. The people made their predictions, and the next day, when Mayweather and Cotto shared the stage at the final prefight press conference, the media got in on the act of picking a winner. Meanwhile, online, fans were going over the literal blow-by-blow breakdown in HBO’s Under the Lights.

Still more experts weighed in with strategic analysis, including HBO broadcaster and Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward and a man who has faced both Mayweather and Cotto mano a mano, Zab Judah.

Canelo Alvarez - Photo Credit: Will HartSpeaking of mano a mano, Inside HBO Boxing bloggers Eric Raskin and Kieran Mulvaney absorbed the CompuBox stats and exchanged analytical thoughts of their own. Meanwhile, the fine folks on the interwebs have had their say as well, and while Mayweather is the consensus pick, some bolder fans are stepping up and picking the upset.

Of course, Saturday’s action isn’t limited strictly to what happens in Mayweather vs. Cotto. There are three additional televised undercard fights, most notably Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. “Sugar” Shane Mosley in a battle of the ages that’s worthy of its own CompuBox analysis.

Fight night is almost here. So sit back, relax, cue up the appropriate soundtrack, get in the zone, and let the “Ring Kings” do their thing.

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.

The Best Modern Fights at 140 Pounds

Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credit: Will HartLamont Peterson’s win over Amir Khan last Saturday was an exciting fight tinged with controversy, making it the latest big bout in the 140-pound division to provide plenty of thrills and plenty to chew over in the aftermath.  Here’s a short list of some of the division’s other modern classics:

Aaron Pryor TKO14 Alexis Arguello

Orange Bowl, Miami, Florida. November 12, 1982

In a fight so good that it was later dubbed the Fight of the Decade, unbeaten Pryor defended his WBA 140-pound belt against lightweight champ Arguello. The two men threw a combined 238 punches in the first round alone, and each took turns to be on top. Arguello was behind on two of the three scorecards after 13, but appeared to have momentum; in between rounds, Pryor trainer Panama Lewis told his cutman to “Give me the bottle, the one I mixed.” What was in that bottle has never been determined conclusively, but the next round Pryor launched a furious attack that stopped Arguello for the win. Ten months later, Pryor stopped Arguello again, this time in 10.

Julio Cesar Chavez TKO12 Meldrick Taylor

Las Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas, Nevada. March 17, 1990

Both men were undefeated and each held a 140-pound belt when they clashed in Sin City. Taylor took the early points lead, tattooing Chavez with punches and outlanding him with his blinding hand speed. But Chavez was landing with more authority; if Taylor was winning the battle, Chavez was winning the war. In the waning moments of the final round, Chavez, trailing on the scorecards, knocked Taylor down heavily. The American made it his feet, but was unresponsive to referee Richard Steele’s commands, and Steele waved it off with two seconds remaining.

Kostya Tszyu TKO2 Zab Judah

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada. November 3 2001

This marks another meeting between rival beltholders, and another one that ended in drama. In the first round, Judah’s superior hand speed threatened to overwhelm Tszyu, but in the second, the Russian’s firepower started to catch up to the flashy American. Near the end of the round, Tszyu landed a right hand that knocked Judah down. Judah stood up, looked at referee Jay Nady, then staggered forward and sideways and hit the canvas again, prompting Nady to call a halt. A furious Judah attacked Nady and threw a corner stool across the ring, earning him a fine and a license revocation from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Marcos Maidana TKO6 Victor Ortiz

Staples Center, Los Angeles, California. June 27 2009

This was intended as a showcase for the hard-hitting, fast-rising Ortiz, and it appeared that would be the case when the American knocked down Argentina’s Maidana with a flurry of powerful punches midway through the first. But Maidana rose to his feet and promptly flattened the onrushing Ortiz with a powerful right hand. Ortiz survived and, in round 2, knocked down Maidana twice more. But Maidana kept coming, closing Ortiz’s left eye and overwhelming him with pressure. Ortiz stumbled to the canvas in the sixth in the face of a Maidana onslaught, prompting the referee to step in – a decision to which Ortiz acquiesced too easily for the taste of some fans.

Are there any fights would you add to this list? What fights in the 140-pound division would you like to see come together in 2012? Answer in the comments below.

A Potential Fighter of the Year Has One Last Battle

By Kieran Mulvaney

Photo Credit: Delane Rouse - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsOne year ago, Amir Khan celebrated his 24th birthday a couple of days before facing Marcos Maidana at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. That battle, in which Khan dropped Maidana in the opening round but had to withstand a furious late-rounds charge from his hard-hitting opponent, was voted as the Fight of the Year.

One year on, Khan celebrates (naturally) his 25th birthday, two days before taking on Lamont Peterson in Peterson’s home town of Washington, D.C. And should he deal with the threat posed by his once-beaten opponent in sufficiently impressive fashion, he may find himself recognized as the Fighter of the Year.

Other contenders have fallen by the wayside: Although Floyd Mayweather demolished Victor Ortiz in September, it was his only outing of 2011, which won’t be enough to garner the laurels. Manny Pacquiao fought twice, but did not look convincing on either occasion. Sergio Martinez and Nonito Donaire each had one spectacular win early in the year, but both followed that with uninspiring, hard-grafted victories over lesser opposition. Khan, in contrast, beat previously undefeated Paul McCloskey, then demolished Zab Judah, and now faces the highly-ranked Peterson.

Peterson, however, is not planning on lying down. He proved his resilience on the undercard of Khan-Maidana, when he rebounded from two knockdowns to secure a draw with Ortiz. He is not flashy, but he is technically sound. Khan will need to be careful not to overreach and leave himself off-balance, as he sometimes does after throwing flurries, as Peterson will look to punish him with counters.

Conversely, Khan will have seen the one time Peterson looked out of his depth, when he lost a lopsided decision to Tim Bradley in December 2009. Peterson was simply unable to match Bradley’s speed and angles. Those will be Khan’s big advantages on Saturday night.

For Peterson, it will be an uphill task. Although he is skilled, he is likely not as much so as Khan. Nor is he as fast or as powerful. Even so, the challenge he poses to the visitor are considerable, and the roar of the hometown crowd will only strengthen his undoubted spirit.

Amir Khan may be a few weeks away from being Fighter of the Year. But first, on Saturday he must make sure he is Fighter of the Night.

CompuBox PunchStat Report: Khan-Judah

By CompuBox

Khan used every bit of his 2 ½ inch reach advantage, busting up Zab from long range.  Judah, now 4-7 vs. current or former champs, landed an average of four punches per round, throwing 23 per round. 



Freddie Roach: I'm Telling Amir to Go for the Kill

As told to Peter Owen Nelson

Photo: Will HartAfter Thursday’s press conference at the Mandalay Bay Casino, Freddie Roach and his peripatetic caravan of fighters headed to the IBA gym off the strip, in a residential area of Las Vegas. There, the five-time Boxing Writers’ Association of America Trainer of the Year discussed privately some of the core strategic planning for Amir Khan to defend his WBA title from IBF champ Zab Judah:

To take away Zab’s power, Amir is going to land combinations and move to Zab’s right. Zab crouches down a lot, and Amir will be able to the uppercut nicely as he times Zab dipping down. My aim for Amir is to land two to three punch combinations and move out. In sparring he would throw three or even four hooks to the body at a time. He even knocked down a sparring partner with those shots, but in the fight we want him to throw one and then pivot to get an angle on Zab and further take advantage of openings from there. You can’t stay in one place for too long in front of Zab. His best punch is rolling the right hand and countering with the left — either an uppercut or straight. As long as Amir isn’t falling into the pocket after his own right hand and keeps his footwork clean, he should be able to take that shot away from Zab. When Zab walks away from Amir, as soon as his back foot is up in the air, Amir is going to pounce on him because it’s a habit Zab has that leaves him off balance and defenseless. If Zab walks to the ropes, Amir also can’t just follow him in. He has to use his feints well to open Zab up and then attack. We are going to be the aggressor in this fight. When I see Zab begin to fade, I’m going to tell Amir to go in for the kill — with caution, but we’re going to go for the knockout if it’s there for us.

Khan-Judah: Bert Sugar's "Keys to the Fight"

As told to Peter Owen Nelson

Photo: Will Hart

KEYS FOR ZAB JUDAH:

1) Pace: Zab is often a fast starter, quick out of the gate. Zab had great success in the early going against Miguel Cotto (stunning him twice), Floyd Mayweather (scoring an unacknowledged knockdown when Floyd’s glove touched the canvas), and even Kosta Tzsyu (before being knocked out). Against Khan, he will need to keep up the work rate he has in the early rounds through the later rounds. Zab’s timing combined with his hand speed can contend with Khan’s overall speed, but only if he maintains his stamina.

2) Pressure: Zab is the harder puncher of the two, but to use it to his advantage he has to stay with Khan if Khan won’t follow him. If Zab cannot set traps that the younger fighter will fall for, then he cannot allow Khan to throw flurries and flutter away. Zab can counterpunch, but must do so every exchange and not let up.

3) Footwork: While Zab may have the faster hand speed, there is no doubt that the 9-year younger Khan has the faster foot speed. Zab will need to counteract this with timing. He’ll have to cut the ring off on Khan to disrupt his rhythm and find openings by taking Khan off guard.

KEYS FOR AMIR KHAN

1) Jab: Amir out-jabbed Malignaggi and the jab is a terrific one. It is one of the best jabs in boxing today. He will have to double up and triple up on the jab to prevent Zab from ever developing a rhythm of his own or finding openings to counterpunch.

2) Range: You cannot will what nature did not provide, and an indomitable chin is not an asset Khan has. He was knocked out in a single round by a journeyman and Marcos Maidana had him looking like a drunk in search of a lampost in the tenth round of their fight in 2010 (though Khan never went down). In the early rounds against Judah especially, Khan will need to show a good defense through a good offense, and a good offense means using his longer reach to stay out of Judah’s range.

3) Exploit the later rounds: as Zab slows down, Khan will have to take greater risks to achieve greater ends. To stop Zab, he will need to take chances on throwing three or four punch combinations. This may expose him to danger, but if he fights intelligently, Amir should be able to open up with his right hand and use his youth and conditioning to outwork the elder Judah and possibly stop him through volume-punching. Zab’s will has been questioned in the past. Amir’s job will be to convince Zab of a definitive answer: that if Zab knows what’s best for him, he’ll quit.

Rival Boxers Offer Their Predictions for Khan-Judah

As told to Peter Owen Nelson

HBO caught up with WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz and former Amir Khan foe Marcos Rene Maidana to hear their takes on Saturday’s junior welterweight championship unification bout between Khan and Zab Judah.

Photo: Hoganphotos.comVICTOR ORTIZ

Amir is the younger guy. He’s got youth. But out of mutual respect for both fighters, I’d rather not say what I think the result will be. To be honest, I haven’t been studying tape of either guy. That’s not my focus right now. My focus is on knocking out Floyd Mayweather on September 17.

MARCOS RENE MAIDANA

Both Judah and Khan are fast and skillful, so I guess it'll be a tactical fight. If Khan is able to get through the first five or six rounds when Zab is usually more effective I have Khan winning on points.

CompuBox Analysis: Amir Khan vs. Zab Judah

WBA junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan said he wanted unification for his next fight. WBO counterpart Timothy Bradley was the target but when that fight fell through, newly-crowned IBF king Zab Judah stepped in. It can be argued that Judah's inclusion not only enhanced the event's star power but it undoubtedly posed bigger risks to Khan's shaky chin. Therefore fans should be in for an intriguing night.  Khan, surprisingly, is a better than 4-1 favorite.

Will Judah add Khan's scalp to his mantle or will "King Khan" add another jewel to his crown? Their respective CompuBox histories offer these facts:

Read more CompuBox analysis of Amir Khan vs. Zab Judah at HBO.com