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Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto
Is an upset looming?
Manny Pacquiao is the people’s champion. He is arguably the most popular
fighter in the United States and a living and breathing god in the Philippines.
His recent victories over Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton have cemented his
legacy in the minds of many. Pacquiao is also a movie star, a potential
politician and a financial benefactor to many people. To say he has to split
himself into many ‘Manny’s is not an exaggeration. He is set to take on Miguel
Cotto on November 14th and the question that seems to be lurking is…
Has the Pacman bit off too much this time?
Miguel Cotto has been focused on the Pacquiao fight for months now. He appears to be in the best shape of his life. Unlike Pacquiao whose camp sometimes resembles a soap opera, there have been no major distractions in Cotto’s camp. He looks relaxed and supremely confident. Going into the fight he’s a 2-1 underdog, but that information seems to have no effect on Cotto’s being. His record stands at 34-1 with 27 knockouts while Pacquiao is 49-3 with 37 knockouts. A half of inch in height separates them while there reach is the same. Pacquiao has the speed while Cotto has the strength, in most cases speed usually wins…but Cotto is definitely the bigger (body frame) and stronger man. The question is can he use this advantage? Cotto’s a natural welterweight so weight won’t be an issue. Can he handle Manny’s firepower? Can Pacquiao handle Cotto’s? Both fighters are gutsy guys with huge hearts. Miguel throw’s wicked body shots which could turn the fight in his direction if it lasts into the late rounds. He’s also pretty versatile; there aren’t many fighters who can say they out boxed Sugar Shane Mosley but Cotto did just that in winning a unanimous decision.
Pacquiao is indeed faster. Cotto can be hit and Pacquiao will do just that…hit him. Southpaws seem to bother Cotto so, look for Pacquiao to fire his left hand down the middle. An uppercut might be on the menu too. Pacquiao’s footwork has improved noticeably over the past few years. He’s ‘in and out’ fighter now, darting in and firing his shots and then getting out and moving a little. His punches are very fast and penetrating. His jab is effective, his hooks can end fights in a dramatic fashion (insert Ricky Hatton here) his stamina is consistent and his defense which was once almost an after thought has improved profoundly. Also he’s rolling in momentum with all his recent successes.
Predicting this fight carries with it some inherent risks. Look for Cotto to box Pacquiao and counter when Pacquiao flurries. I see the fight being action packed and thrilling in the early rounds. Pacquiao will be moving, similar to what he did in the De La Hoya fight. He will use his jab and try to nail Cotto with his power shots as Cotto stalks him. Cotto will be looking to work Pacquiao’s body hoping that doing this will slow down the Pilipino superman. It just might. If Pacquiao is against the ropes and forced to fire he could get nailed and knocked out. It seems more likely though that as the fight progresses ‘if’ Pacquiao is in the same kind of condition he’s usually in, he could begin to clock Cotto with some serious leather. I don’t foresee Cotto getting stopped, but I do see Manny Pacquiao winning a hard fought unanimous decision thereby setting up the ‘fight of the century’ next year against Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather.
© J.J. Lehmann