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Arum hard pressed to match Mayweather – Cotto PPV numbers

Floyd Mayweather Jr Miguel CottoBy John F. McKenna (McJack): As expected the PPV numbers for the May 5 fight between new WBA light middleweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (43-0, 26 KO’s) and former champ Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KO’s) did very well. “Money” May hit a homerun when he reserved the MGM Grand Arena last November for an opponent he would only describe then as “The Little Fella”.

Whatever else one says about Mayweather, there is no denying that he has the uncanny ability to look at the big picture in addition to being able to see well into the future when choosing opponents for his upcoming fights. Despite the Mayweather camps insinuations at the time it is doubtful that Floyd ever really seriously considered WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO’s) to be his May 5 opponent.

“Pretty Boy” knew full well that he would be able to come up with an opponent on the Cinco De Mayo holiday who would bring huge Pay Per View (PPV) numbers. In addition Floyd knew that it would be fairly easy to come up with a strong undercard on the Latino holiday.

Mayweather was right on both counts. WBA light middleweight champion Miguel Cotto was finally tabbed to be Floyd’s May 5 opponent when it became clear that he had no intention of getting into the ring with WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, even after Manny’s sub par performance last November against WBO/WBA light weight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO’s).

Cotto for his part did not want to square off again against the Filipino dynamo who destroyed him in November 2009 (Pacquiao vs Cotto – You Tube). Miguel’s assertion that he was weight drained in the Pacquiao fight belies what he said on the HBO 24/7 reality show prior to the fight. At the time he said he never felt better. One would have to take him at his word.

For the undercard Mayweather again struck gold when tried and true veteran Shane Mosley (46-8-1-1 NC, 39 KO’s) was pitted against rising superstar WBC light middleweight champion Saul Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KO’s). Both fighters have huge fan bases in their own right.

Mayweather’s strategy of doing a preemptive strike and reserving the MGM Grand Arena was a dead giveaway that his May 5 opponent was not going to be Manny Pacquiao. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum was quick to point out, rightly so, that the date and venue of any mega bucks fight was all part of the negotiating process. What Mayweather succeeded in doing was come up with a fighter in Cotto with a huge fan base, who would put up a reasonably entertaining fight without really threatening his “0”. Floyd said himself after the fight that he wanted to engage Cotto to some extent so that the paying customers would get their money’s worth.

“Money” May pretty much got what he wanted. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum will be hard pressed to come up with a strategy that will enable him to come anywhere close to the 1.5 million PPV’s that the Mayweather – Cotto fight and it’s undercard brought in. Unlike the Mayweather – Cotto fight there are no household names on the undercard of the Pacquiao – Bradley fight. And the reality is that Timothy Bradley himself is not a household name and has never been able to fill even small arenas for his fights. Many of Bradley’s fights have been difficult to watch. Bradley’s fight with Devon Alexander in January 2011 was one of the most boring fights ever witnessed by this writer.

Arum is set to begin the full court press in promoting the Pacquiao – Bradley fight which is now less than a month away. It is this writer’s belief that he will have to pull a magical bunny or two out of his hat to make this fight a big sell.

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