By Zab Judah (as told to Eric Raskin)
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.
But 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.