The 42-0 fighting legend, who tops the WBN Pound for pound rankings, wanted desperately to secure a fight with eight-time champion and main rival Manny Pacquiao but has now chosen the next best option in the Puerto Rican.
Of all the fighters around Mayweather’s weight-class, only three seemed worthy challengers – Saul Alvarez, Cotto and Juan Manuel Marquez, whom Mayweather has already convincingly beaten in 2009 and is now past his best.
For Mexican superstar Alvarez, who holds the WBC light-middleweight belt, it is maybe a year or two too early at 21 for a crack at ‘Money’ and maybe the only reason his name was put forward was the fact that the fight lands on Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo.
31 year-old Cotto, on the back of his dominant vengeance win over Antonio Margarito seems at the peak of his powers and will represent the Mayweather’s toughest test since the great Oscar De La Hoya ran him close on ironically, the same date in 2007.
Since moving up to 154lbs, Cotto looks bigger and stronger than ever and has stopped all three of his opponents since moving up, with every one of them a world champion at some stage. ‘Junito’ now faces what is his defining test and has much to prove after failing miserably against Manny Pacquiao in 2009 at welterweight.
The fight represents the next best thing to a Mayweather v Pacquiao clash and boxing fans seem to have embraced the spring battle with open arms after becoming frustrated with negotiations between two world’s top two fighters.
Pacquiao, 32, is expected to announce his opponent for an early June bout and looks ready to sign on to face Top Rank stablemate Timothy Bradley, who is an undefeated two-time unified light-welterweight champion but largely untested at the very highest level.