By Kieran Mulvaney
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.
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.
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.