Floyd Mayweather Jr. remained undefeated after shining in what was perhaps the most exciting fight of his long career, beating junior middleweight champion Migel Cotto with a unanimous decision in 12 rounds May 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Known as a master boxing technician, Mayweather Jr. (43-0) usually boxes circles around his opponents, often leaving fights without a scuff or mark on his face. But his fight against Cotto (37-3) was the complete opposite, as he stood toe-to-toe with the larger-framed Cotto, exchanging power punch for power punch with the Puerto Rican slugger.

Cotto was able to power Mayweather up against the ropes, where he effectively landed body blows and an occasional straight jab, bloodying Mayweather’s nose and mouth. Mayweather, however, adapted his attack strategy throughout the fight and began connecting several sweeping right hooks to the left side of Cotto’s head and face. Mayweather also slipped in a few punishing left uppercuts, one that left Cotto dazed midway through the final round.

“Look, when fights are on pay-per-view, you want to give the fans what they pay for, and that’s excitement,” said Mayweather, 35, who earned $32 million for his fight against Cotto, the largest prize ever earned by a boxer. “ a helluva champion. the toughest guy I ever fought.”

Mayweather will now prepare to serve an 87-day jail sentence that will begin June 1. But he told HBO’s Larry Merchant after the fight that he wants to fight Manny Pacquaio sometime in the fall following his sentence, and that the only person in the way is Pacquaio’s promoter, Bob Arum.

“Bob Arum is in the way,” Mayweather said of Arum, who once represented Mayweather before Mayweather began promoting himself. “He’s stopping the fans from getting what they want. Let’s give the fans what they want.”

Reports indicate that the only factor stopping the Mayweather-Pacquaio fight is the conflict over the prize split: Mayweather wants the greater portion of the prize, while Pacquaio’s team demands a 50/50 split. Merchant asked Mayweather after the Cotto fight if he’s willing to take the 50/50 split, but the undefeated champ avoided answering the question, and instead brought up the Olympic-style drug testing that Pacquaio once refused to take.

“Cotto didn’t have the problem taking the random blood and urine tests,” he said. “Why shouldn’t Pacquiao? If he’s the best, take the test.”

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor