Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto
Is an upset looming?
Manny Pacquiao is the peoples 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 Mannys 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 Cottos camp. He looks relaxed and supremely confident. Going into the fight hes a 2-1 underdog, but that information seems to have no effect on Cottos 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? Cottos a natural welterweight so weight wont be an issue. Can he handle Mannys firepower? Can Pacquiao handle Cottos? Both fighters are gutsy guys with huge hearts. Miguel throws wicked body shots which could turn the fight in his direction if it lasts into the late rounds. Hes also pretty versatile; there arent 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. Pacquiaos footwork has improved noticeably over the past few years. Hes 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 hes 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 Pacquiaos 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 hes usually in, he could begin to clock Cotto with some serious leather. I dont 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