Floyd Mayweather Jr. was bloodied in the nose and the mouth, pushed to the limit but still came out a clear and convincing winner over the game and competitive Miguel Cotto to wrest the latter’s super welterweight title and probably lay claim to being the best pound for pound boxer, if not for his arch nemesis Manny Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao

Filipino boxing champion Rep. Manny Pacquiao poses beside a poster of the late labor leader and Congressman Crispin Beltran. The question of whether Pacquiao will get the chance to fight boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. before ending his own boxing career in 2013 remains to be seen. Pic: AP

Mayweather was never in danger of absorbing his first career loss but for the first time in 10 years, he was into a competitive fight.

Cotto came bent on keeping his crown but Mayweather simply has far more superior skills and was far faster than any fighter he has ever met, except for, again, Pacquiao.   Cotto came close to going down in the 12th round when a left uppercut from Mayweather found his chin.  Cotto had his moments but he fell short again against an elite fighter.

If anything, Cotto at least survived Mayweather.  That cannot be said of Pacquiao who put him down twice before being rescued by the referee from further punishment in the last round.

Cotto likewise exposed some holes and cracks in Mayweather’s defenses that work against right handed fighters.   Mayweather looks very much vulnerable against left hooks and straights from a southpaw where his shoulder roll defense will be ineffective.  Take note of that, Coach Freddie Roach.

And while Mayweather basked at the glory of picking up Pacquiao leftovers, his greatness will always be tied up with the Filipino boxing champion.   Before, during and after the Cotto fight, Pacquiao was always in the equation in future fights for Mayweather.  But as the color commentators of the Mayweather-Cotto fight said, one wonders if that will ever happen.

Despite all the Mayweather ranting and diatribes, boxing fans and aficionados will always view him as the sole obstacle from making the Pacquiao fight a reality.  Mayweather will repeatedly find excuses in torpedoing any fight deal with Pacquiao despite the huge financial bonanza that awaits both fighters.

When pressed by Larry Merchant in the post-Cotto fight, Mayweather again paid lip service to the fight but has not categorically said when he is going to take up the challenge.  Come to think of it, if Mayweather wants the fight all he had to do is fight – no ifs, ands, or buts.

But then again, why risk losing all the money he can get fighting handpicked opponents if he loses to Pacquiao?  For as long as Pacquiao keeps fighting, Mayweather will always find the gullible in us who he would like to believe that he will one day fight the Filipino boxing idol.

And for Pacquiao, with or without Mayweather, 2013 will be the last year of his colorful and spectacular boxing career.  Let us wait and see if Mayweather will continue to be a PPV attraction once Pacquiao is gone from the boxing scene.