Miguel Cotto faces an uphill battle when he squares off against the undefeated Floyd Mayweather on May 5, 2012. If he comes away with the upset victory, it will clearly be the biggest win of his career.
However, Cotto - a three division titleholder - has already scored many impressive victories during his tenure as a professional fighter. Here's a look at the top 5 wins for Miguel Cotto, ranked based on the quality of the opponent, the merits of the win and the quality of the performance itself.
1. UD Shane Mosley - November 10, 2007
Sugar Shane was riding a 5-fight winning streak heading into his clash against a still undefeated Cotto. At the time, many thought that Mosley's combination of speed, power and grit would prove too much for Cotto to handle. However, Cotto took control in an entertaining, back and forth battle, and would go on to win a close, but deserved, decision.
2. TKO10 Antonio Margarito (Rematch) - December 3, 2011
Margarito was far from his best when he fought Cotto for the second time. However, this fight was important for other reasons. The mental hurdle of going back against a guy that brutally stopped you, and exacting your revenge, cannot be overstated. Overcoming Margarito, whom Cotto and most of the boxing public believe used illegal plaster hand wraps in their first encounter, is a huge moment which he surely would rank as his finest as a fighter.
3. TKO9 Yuri Foreman - June 5, 2010
The Cotto vs. Foreman clash is remembered today for referee Arthur Mercante Jr.'s controversial actions, as well as its Yankee Stadium locale. For some people, it may be easy to write off Cotto's victory over Foreman by considering only the way the fight played out, and the fact that Foreman retired after just one more fight, another loss.
However, at the time of the contest, Foreman was a respected and undefeated titleholder in the division. It was also Cotto's debut at 154 lbs, after he had been battered by Manny Pacquiao just over half a year earlier. Cotto outclassed the skilled Foreman and captured the title that he will now be defending against Mayweather.
4. TKO11 Zab Judah - June 9, 2007
In front of a raucous crowd in Madison Square Garden, Cotto stood up to Judah's patented early blitz of power and speed, quickly turning the tides and breaking his man down over the course of their encounter. Judah showed more grit and toughness than has always been the case, and made it into the 11th before Cotto closed the show.
5. UD Paulie Malignaggi - June 10, 2006
In the fourth fight on this list (first chronologically) which was held at Madison Square Garden, Cotto brutalized a brash, undefeated Malignaggi. At the time, Cotto's victory over Malignaggi was viewed more as getting rid of a guy who talked a great game but didn't belong at the top.
However, Malignaggi has since repeatedly proved his worth as a skilled, game fighter, who's just a step below the absolute top dogs. After his recent win over an undefeated Vyacheslav Senchenko, Malignaggi is now a two-division titleholder. Cotto turned him aside with ease though in this clash of unbeatens, and left Malignaggi a swollen, bloody mess.
Sources: HBO footage, Boxrec.com, ESPN Boxing, Yahoo! Sports, NY Daily News
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com. You can find more of his writing, along with interviews, rankings and breaking news stories at the site, or you can follow ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.