Monday, December 28, 2009

Miguel Cotto vs Felix Trinidad: Tito Wants The Fight?

By Mark Vester

Could the ultimate all-Puerto Rico super fight be in the works? According to a report in El Nuevo Dia, former three division champion Felix "Tito" Trinidad is interested in a career-ending catchweight fight with Miguel Cotto in 2010. The Puerto Rico based newspaper spoke to a source who refused to disclose their name on the record. Going by the comments, the source seems to be someone affiliated with Trinidad.

"For a lot of people it might sound outlandish, but the truth is that they both need a great fight to finish their careers," the source said. "We know that Cotto is thinking about moving up in weight for his next fight, and there is enough time, if we get a quick agreement, that Tito can get to a healthy weight because he is a guy who is careful and does not gain a lot of weight. They can negotiate anywhere between 158 and 164."

Does anyone actually think Trinidad can get to 158 or 164? He barely made 170 for last January's fight with Roy Jones Jr. Trinidad is simply too big for Cotto. The promoters are at not eactly friends. I don't even remember the last time Bob Arum of Top Rank made any sort of deal with Trinidad's promoter Don King. The dream fight of Puerto Rico is simply what it is, a dream.

Source

Sunday, December 27, 2009

MIGUEL COTTO: "I TAKE NOTHING AWAY FROM MANNY...HE IS FAST AND STRONGER THAN WE THOUGHT"

By Percy Crawford

"I take nothing away from Manny. We both made a great fight...He is fast and stronger than we thought he would be...He is fast and stronger than we thought he would be," stated former welterweight champion Miguel Cotto as he talked about his loss to Manny Pacquiao, his future plans and more.

PC: How are you doing Miguel?

MC: I'm doing pretty good, enjoying the holiday season.

PC: Now that you have had time to reflect on the Pacquiao fight, where do you feel you went wrong?

MC: Well, some details did not came out the way we wanted, but I take nothing away from Manny. We both made a great fight.

PC: Was coming down to 145 tougher than you thought it would be since you hadn't weighed 145 or less since 2006?

MC: I felt really good at that weight. It wasn't a problem for me.

PC: We all know Manny has a ton of speed, but was he a bigger puncher than you thought he would be?

MC: He is fast and stronger than we thought he would be.

PC: A lot of people felt that your corner should have stopped the fight. Was that not an option for you?

MC: No, I didn't want the fight stopped. I was feeling good.

PC: I read where you plan on retiring at 30, which is next year for you. Is that accurate and what led to that decision?

MC: I always said that when I get to age 30, I was going to be out of the ring. That decision has been made and has nothing to do with my defeats.

PC: When I think of Miguel Cotto, I think of a warrior; a fighter that can punch with both hands and also a fighter that would fight anyone. How would you like to be remembered?

MC: As a good fighter and a great champion.

PC: You have one, possibly two fights left if you plan on retiring in the fall of next year. What caliber of opponents would you like to go out facing?

MC: As I always said, I'm just another employee of Top Rank. I'm willing to fight the big names out there.

PC: Although the fight looks shaky now, who do you like if Pacqiao and Mayweather did hook up?

MC: The one with the best condition will win.

PC: It was a pleasure and my honor to conduct this interview. I truly appreciate your time and would like to thank Eric for setting this up. Is there anything you want to say in closing?

MC: Anytime. Thanks for the opportunity. It is a pleasure for me.


Source

Monday, December 21, 2009

Three Possibilities For Miguel Cotto's Planned Return - Foreman, Margarito, Cintron

by James Slater

Warrior Miguel Cotto, who recently made it public how he intends to retire by the time he hits the age of 30, will possibly make his return to the ring in June of next year; in New York and on the eve of The annual National Puerto Rican Day parade. Cotto, as his fans are aware, has fought on this date a number of times previously, and, according to Dan Rafael over at ESPN.com, promoter Bob Arum is currently working on making this happen again..

Badly beaten by pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao in November, some people, myself included, wondered if Cotto would ever want to fight again. He does. But now he and Arum have to agree on who the former two-weight king should face in his comeback bout.

According to ESPN, there are three possible big-name opponents against whom Cotto could return against; and all three fighters would make extremely interesting opponents for the 29-year-old who is 34-2(27). They are: WBA 154-pound champion Yuri Foreman, Cotto's fellow Puerto Rican Kermit Cintron and, perhaps most interestingly, Antonio Margarito, who, of course, met and defeated Cotto in July of last year.

For Cotto to fight Foreman, a move up in weight would of course be needed, and the chance would be for Cotto to win his third "world" title at different weights. Arum told ESPN.com that new WBA champ Foreman's next fight will likely go ahead in March (against a TBA, venue to be decided) and that he could then perhaps face Cotto three months later. A win for Foreman would help propel him into the big time, while a win for Cotto would make him a champion all over again.

As for Cintron, ESPN.com reports how Arum and fellow promoter Lou DiBella have sat and talked about the fight, and it taking place at Madison Square Garden.

"Bob and Cotto have other options, but Cintron is certainly on the radar screen," DiBella said.

In all likelihood, however, a rematch between Cotto and the disgraced (and soon to be re-licensed) Margarito would prove the biggest draw of the three possibilities. Sure, a good number of fans have vented much anger on the Mexican, with some even saying they will never watch "Margacheato" fight again. But say what you want: Margarito's inevitable ring return WILL attract a load of attention - even more if it's against Cotto!

For what it's worth, my hunch tells me Cotto will opt for a fresh start, and decide to take on Foreman in a weight division the Puerto Rican star has not fought in before. Also an interesting fight, Cotto-Foreman would probably sell out The Garden.

Either way, and whoever he fights, it will be good to see the always-exciting Cotto back in action.

Source

Three Possibilities For Miguel Cotto's Planned Return - Foreman, Margarito, Cintron

by James Slater

Warrior Miguel Cotto, who recently made it public how he intends to retire by the time he hits the age of 30, will possibly make his return to the ring in June of next year; in New York and on the eve of The annual National Puerto Rican Day parade. Cotto, as his fans are aware, has fought on this date a number of times previously, and, according to Dan Rafael over at ESPN.com, promoter Bob Arum is currently working on making this happen again..

Badly beaten by pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao in November, some people, myself included, wondered if Cotto would ever want to fight again. He does. But now he and Arum have to agree on who the former two-weight king should face in his comeback bout.

According to ESPN, there are three possible big-name opponents against whom Cotto could return against; and all three fighters would make extremely interesting opponents for the 29-year-old who is 34-2(27). They are: WBA 154-pound champion Yuri Foreman, Cotto's fellow Puerto Rican Kermit Cintron and, perhaps most interestingly, Antonio Margarito, who, of course, met and defeated Cotto in July of last year.

For Cotto to fight Foreman, a move up in weight would of course be needed, and the chance would be for Cotto to win his third "world" title at different weights. Arum told ESPN.com that new WBA champ Foreman's next fight will likely go ahead in March (against a TBA, venue to be decided) and that he could then perhaps face Cotto three months later. A win for Foreman would help propel him into the big time, while a win for Cotto would make him a champion all over again.

As for Cintron, ESPN.com reports how Arum and fellow promoter Lou DiBella have sat and talked about the fight, and it taking place at Madison Square Garden.

"Bob and Cotto have other options, but Cintron is certainly on the radar screen," DiBella said.

In all likelihood, however, a rematch between Cotto and the disgraced (and soon to be re-licensed) Margarito would prove the biggest draw of the three possibilities. Sure, a good number of fans have vented much anger on the Mexican, with some even saying they will never watch "Margacheato" fight again. But say what you want: Margarito's inevitable ring return WILL attract a load of attention - even more if it's against Cotto!

For what it's worth, my hunch tells me Cotto will opt for a fresh start, and decide to take on Foreman in a weight division the Puerto Rican star has not fought in before. Also an interesting fight, Cotto-Foreman would probably sell out The Garden.

Either way, and whoever he fights, it will be good to see the always-exciting Cotto back in action.

Cotto: Retired or Inspired?

By Eli Grant

The last time we saw former World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Miguel Cotto in action, Manny Pacquiao just got done beating his face to a bloody pulp. Is this why Cotto has seemingly disappeared from the media? Is this most recent defeat combined with the relentless abuse administered by Marga-cheat-o just too much for one man to take? I think not. In fact, Cotto has been itching to get back into the ring, and it looks like we won’t have to wait too long for Arum to put something together, most probably with Yuri Foreman.

A recent interview, published by primerahora.com, showed Cotto looking like he has spent most of his life getting facials rather than climbing up the ranks of professional boxing. In fact, though nobody else would have been able to tell you, Miguel said he was completely fine after the fight with Pacquiao, stating that “it was just inflammation.” Why would anyone go to the hospital bleeding out the ears when you could just pop some Motrin? Regardless, his plans are to ease back into training, and hopefully headline a fight in June.

Unfortunately, for all the Cotto fans around the world, the good news stops shortly thereafter. Cotto’s plan from the beginning has been to retire by the time he turns thirty and it looks like he is sticking to his guns. He plans on two, maybe three more fights and then he is calling it a career.

Why!?!? He is one of the most exciting and explosive fighters to watch. Cotto-Moseley will never be forgotten. Neither will the two low blows he gracefully landed on Zab Judah. Besides, how often do you get to see a fighter break his opponent’s cheek bone? Thanks Malignaggi! I guess Paulie forgot to take the steroids that apparently make your face turn into steel like that of Pacquiao. Few boxers out there can make every one of their matches an instant classic.

Cotto is too young to quit, especially when we see Sugar Shane, De la Hoya, and Jones Jr. fighting like forty is the new twenty two. And he spent all that time learning English for publicity. Why let it go to waste? At twenty nine, one would have to suspect that Cotto has at the very least four more years in him.

Imagine this: Cotto dumps his school boy trainer and mends his relationship with his uncle. Then, Cotto takes on Margarito sans Plaster of Paris and reinstills a championship attitude that he maintained for his first thirty two fights. Cotto then runs over loud mouth Shane for the second time, sending him into retirement before he rolls over the hill. With peaking confidence, Cotto takes on Pacquiao one more time and this time actually throws punches, a gameplan that won him twenty seven knockouts, garnering him one of the biggest KO to win percentages.

Well, that’s just a fantasy because Cotto is considering moving up a weight class, probably because coming in at a 145 catchweight left a bad taste in his mouth. Not to mention the fact that he refuses to be a part of Margarito gaining another penny. And Pacquiao will be busy governing his country and hanging up the gloves for good after a Mayweather slaughtering. But it’s not so bad. It will be good to see him not looking like Skeletor fluttering his pitter patter while desperately trying to avoid getting hit by sprinting around the ring, forgetting to leave the defensive drills at his training camp. I guess it’s better to quit too soon rather than too late, where we would get to witness the all too familiar showcase of pathetic attempts trying to get every last bit of attention out there. So farewell to one of the classiest boxers in the sport – with the exception of that whole illegitimate child thing – we hope you go out with a bang.

Source

Friday, December 18, 2009

No talk of boxing as Pacquiao marks birthday in GenSan

By NICK GIONGCO


GENERAL SANTOS CITY — For a moment during his lavish 31st birthday celebration on Thursday night, Manny Pacquiao hardly spoke about the sport that has given him an unimaginable amount of fame and fortune.

Instead of regaling his guests with stories about his ring exploits, Pacquiao instead let the occasion take its natural course, allowing a bevy of guests share the limelight with him during his special day.

There were several high points during the close-to-six hour affair, including a dance number featuring his sons Jimuel and Michael Stephen and daughter Princess, and a rendition of the Carpenters’ classic “You Are The One” by wife Jinkee, who was radiant in her aquamarine gown.

There was no mention of Floyd Mayweather, who is being penciled to meet him on March 13, 2010, and the pound-for-pound king also was a bit surprised that negotiations have come to a stop after the promoters had initially laid the groundwork for the super fight.

“I don’t know, I don‘t know,” Pacquiao answered when asked about the status of the Mayweather bout being eyed either for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas or the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.

But a conversation with a member of Pacquiao’s training team, two-time world champion Dodie Boy Penalosa, said he has been advised about the start of training by the second or third week of January either in Baguio City or Los Angeles.

Still, Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said he expects to finally dot the Is and cross the Ts, in a matter of days. The MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas for slugging it out for the right to host the showdown.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao was officially sworn in as a member Nacionalista Party of presidential aspirant Manny Villar shortly after the birthday bash. The oath-taking rites were held at Pacquiao’s palatial home.

Pacquiao is seeking a congressional seat in Sarangani province next year.

Source

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cotto vs Foreman: Miguel Would Consider a Move Up

By Mark Vester

Former two-division champion Miguel Cotto is six months away from his ring return. It was a big year of ups and downs for Cotto. He made a record amount of money [for his career] in 2009. Cotto beat Michael Jennings in February for the WBO title, retained it in June with a close decision over Joshua Clottey and then got stopped by Manny Pacquiao in November. Prior to the fight with Clottey, he was involved in a brawl with ex-trainer/uncle Evangelista Cotto. His uncle has since filed a lawsuit seeking millions of dollars. Not the only trouble in Cotto's life, as now a former female employee has filed a sexual harrasment suit naming Cotto and several of his family members.

Despite the setbacks, Cotto says 2009 was a good year. He says 2010 will be his final year in the sport. He plans to fight two or three more times before calling it a career.

"[2009 was] very good. Besides the outcome of my fight in November, I am very happy with what I've done during the year and I'm ready to start working on my final year in boxing," Cotto said to Primera Hora.

Cotto's return will happen in June around the time of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Top Rank's Bob Arum wants his return in New York City's Madison Square Garden or Yankee Stadium. One possible option being discussed is a jump to junior middleweight to face unbeaten WBA champion Yuri Foreman. He won the title from Daniel Santos on the Pacquiao-Cotto undercard. The brand new champ is a New York native under the same promotional banner as Cotto. Top Rank likes the fight. Cotto is open to making it.

"I will make a fight in the summer and depending on how I do, there will be more. Still, we have not had any conversations with Top Rank. We're hoping that once the Christmas period goes by, we could then sit down and talk, "said Cotto. "[Moving up in weight], these are things that we are considering. I'm open to everything."

Source

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gensan gears up for Pacquiao’s birthday bash

abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines -- General Santos City is currently gearing up for Manny Pacquiao’s 31st birthday celebration this coming Thursday (December 17).

A regional report said organizers are currently dressing up the KCC Convention Center, the same site where the pound-for-pound boxing champion celebrated his birthday last year.

Organizers said that unlike last year’s theme that focused on Pacquiao’s life as a boxer, this year’s celebration will emphasize other facets of his life.

Among this year’s birthday themes are Pacquiao’s roles as a son, father and husband.

The event, which will also serve as a mini-concert, will also highlight Pacquiao’s entrepreneurial skills and his acting and singing talents.

The celebration will be a tribute to Pacquiao after he won 7 world titles in 7 different weight classes.

‘Pacquiao loves singing more than boxing’

The Centerpoint band, which will serve as the front act of Pacquiao’s grand birthday bash, is also busy rehearsing.

Its lead composer Julius Paler has actually written Pacquiao a song titled “King of the Ring”.

Paler said the song is just right for Pacquiao, who recently won the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title from Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto last month.

Pacquiao’s main composer, Lito Camo, also arrived on site to join the rehearsals.

Camo said Pacquiao, who has released several recording albums, said is excited to sing at the concert.

“Actually si Manny, mas excited pa ata sa pagiging singer niya, kaysa sa pagiging boksingero. (Actually Manny seems more excited about his being a singer than his being a boxer),” he said.

Organizers will also hold a raffle draw, which counts a Toyota Vios as the grand prize.

Cotto doubtful to attend party

Meanwhile, Cotto is reportedly doubtful if he can attend the celebration.

Cotto, who had earlier expressed interest in visiting the Philippines, may not join Pacquiao on his 31st birthday owing to time constraint, according to MB.com.ph.

The report said Cotto aide-de-camp Bryan Perez sent a message to Pacquiao’s assistant, Joe Ramos, that the Puerto Rican champ wishes the Filipino "all the best in his birthday."

“Maybe, some other time (Cotto will get to visit the Philippines),” Perez said in the article. “Still, Miguel wishes Manny a happy birthday.”

Last year’s guests include former Pacquiao opponent David Diaz, Venezuelan champ Edwin Valero, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and American boxing trainer Freddie Roach. With a report from Chat Ansagay, ABS-CBN News SOKSARGEN

Source

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cotto coming for Pacquiao b-day bash?

By Francis T.J. Ochoa
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines--Guess who might be coming to Manny Pacquiao’s birthday bash?

Former WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto, who lost his title to the Filipino ring sensation last month, might accept an invitation to fly to the country and be a special guest during Pacquiao’s birthday.

Although Team Pacquiao has yet to confirm the Puerto Rican’s arrival, Cotto had posted on his Twitter page that he is willing to fly to the country to attend the Filipino’s birthday bash—an annual extravaganza normally held in Gen. Santos City—on Dec. 17.

“Yes, we are willing to complete all the logistics (requirements) and we will go,” posted Cotto, in a reply to a query from Top Rank as to whether he would honor the invitation.

Pacquiao has a tradition of inviting opponents to the country after their bouts. Erik Morales was a regular guest of the boxer in the past. The two eventually shot a commercial together for beverage giant San Miguel Beer.

David Diaz also flew in last year for Pacquiao’s birthday party while Juan Manuel Marquez visited after their second fight—albeit to challenge the Pacman to a third bout.

Cotto’s statement was in response to a question posted by Top Rank on its own Twitter page: “Good day to you champ. I heard Manny invited you and your wife to his birthday on 17. Will you come?”

Pacquiao destroyed Cotto via a 12th-round TKO to snatch the WBO welterweight title and become the first fighter in boxing history to win seven crowns in as many weight classes.

Pacquiao is scheduled to fight undefeated superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. on March 13.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Manny Pacquiao wants to party with Miguel Cotto

Manny Pacquiao has invited his previous opponent Miguel Cotto to his birthday party on December 17.

Pacquiao, who defeated Cotto by a 12th round technical decision last month, will celebrate his 31st birthday with a party in his hometown of General Santos City in the Philippines.

Both Cotto and Pacquiao are promoted by Bob Arum of Top Rank, and when the boss was in the Philippines recently to discuss a future match-up with Floyd Mayweather Jr, Pac-Man said he had great respect for Cotto and extended an invite to the Puerto Rican welterweight and his wife.

Pacquiao has been the subject of much speculation of late regarding his showdown with Mayweather, which is pencilled-in for March 13, 2010.

However, he hasn’t allowed the prospect of facing the biggest challenge of career put him off his birthday party.

Arum has been working on setting up the Pacquiao v Mayweather bout, which both fighters have agreed to in principle, but neither has signed a contract at this time.

The venue of the bout has been subject to speculation. Arum and Mayweather’s promoter Richard Schaefer were expected to visit Dallas this week to discuss the use of Cowboy’s stadium only for Schaefer to back down at the last minute and rule out an outdoor stadium as host.

This leaves Las Vegas as the front runner for what could be the biggest fight in the history of the sport. Arum will also be speaking to Team Cotto in the New Year to discuss future fights in 2010.

Source

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cotto camp denies allegations

The family of former WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto has dismissed a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Cotto in Puerto Rico by a former female employee as “frivolous, empty and a total fabrication.” Martha Chacon Acevedo is reportedly seeking $261,000 in damages against Cotto, whom she alleges she was fired after she rejected Cotto’s sexual advances.

Source

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Miguel Cotto, Dad Sued For Sexual Harassment

By Mark Vester

In a developing story on both sides of the fence, former two division champion Miguel Cotto, his father Miguel Cotto Sr. and other members of his team have been sued with claims of sexual harassment by a former employee of Cotto.

Martha Chacon Acevedo is seeking more than $500,000, claiming that Cotto made unwanted sexual advances when she worked as an administrator of a residential property that Cotto owned in the U.S. Caribbean territory. She claims to have had an affair with Cotto for two months out fear of losing her job. And further claims to have been fired after breaking up with Cotto in October 2008.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. district court in San Juan on August 24.

Cotto’s family released a statement calling the suit “frivolous, empty and a total fabrication.” They plan to fight the claims to the very end.

Source

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Miguel Cotto Plans Two More Fights, Then Retirement

By Mark Vester

Former two division champion Miguel Cotto is claiming that 2010 will be his last year in the sport. He wants to retire by the age of 30, which is next October. Cotto is recovering from the injuries he received during the fight with Manny Pacquiao on November 14. His promoter, Bob Arum, of Top Rank, wants to bring him back in the summer - likely in June on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

"Ten months will go by, so perhaps two more fights, and I'm going to walk away from boxing completely," Cotto told P rimera Hora . "I have been champion on three occasions and I am satisfied with what I have carried out [in boxing]. For the moment, I am going to rest during the Christmas period and then I will begin to train little by little."

Jose Luis Castillo has been mentioned as a comeback opponent. If Castillo falls in line, Cotto is willing to fight him. Cotto is also not against a possible move to 154 to face WBA champion Yuri Foreman.

"I've always been open to fighting the big names. I've never said no to anybody and if Castillo is the one, I'll fight him," Cotto said.

Source

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Damaged Miguel Cotto Was Gobbled Up By Pacman

By Lester Salvador

I don’t wanna take anything away from Manny Pacquiao’s Nov. 14th victory over Miguel Cotto, he did what he had to do, dispose of a guy who was basically just a shell of his former self.

Miguel Cotto, however, was mishandled and used as a pawn, he had no time to rest. I felt great sadness at what foul treatment Cotto was given.

Instead of allowing this man to let his body rest and heal properly they rushed him right away into a fight with a well rested Manny Pacquiao.

The boxing match was not on equal terms. Miguel had to cut an extra 2 pounds because the fight was at a 145lb catch weight, he had to fight immediately after getting in a brutal war with Joshua Clottey, and he got the smaller purse against Pacquiao. Sadly, Miguel Cotto may never be championship level again after the unnecessary beating he received.

This type of tragedy happens in boxing, when a fighter becomes ruined at a young age and is never the same. Cotto reminds me of Fernando Vargas, both are young men who got worn way to soon because of the physical beatings they took early in their careers.

Cotto was denied his full potential, he was never the same after the beating he took from Antonio Margarito. Margarito who was caught loading his gloves for the Shane Mosley fight could have loaded them for his previous fights including the Cotto one.

Cotto was destined to be one of the greatest Puerto Rican boxers of all time but was denied his full potential because he was rushed along. Cotto was used to build up Manny Pacquiao’s Career, they knew he was not the same fighter, he needed time to rest but Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao saw already that Cotto was not the same and demanded that fight.

Manny Pacquiao should be grateful this Thanksgiving for having the privilege of not having to go through the tough route that Miguel Cotto had to endure.

I have so much respect for Cotto, he is a good man an honorable man with a good heart. Cotto shown humility in defeat and class during the Pacquiao fight.

It was so hard for me to watch the replay on HBO. That didn’t look like the Miguel Cotto his fans came to know and love. His corner didn’t even help him with any good advice, it was all Miguel Cotto himself, the least they could of done for him was hire a top trainer like Emmanuel Steward.

I hope he takes a year off and rests before even considering a comeback. Miguel Cotto, you lost that night but you didn’t lose the fans, you are a true warrior who fought the best at their weight and on equal terms.

Source

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Boxing Gives Thanks for Manny Pacquiao

By Thomas Hauser

Thanksgiving and Christmas came early for boxing this year. The November 14th mega-match between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto was the biggest and most important fight of 2009. Think of it as a holiday festival with Pacquiao in the role of Santa Claus. Or maybe Manny is better characterized as a non-stop Energizer Easter Bunny, whose fists exploded like Fourth of July fireworks and turned Cotto’s face into a gruesome Halloween mask.

Andrew M. Kaye writes, “Like royalty, the reign of a particular fighter can instantly evoke an era, reminding us of some of the values held by his generation, people, or nation.”

Pacquiao is the perfect symbol of the hopes and aspirations of the Filipino people.

The Philippines are mired in a culture of poverty and oppression. “Pacquiao,” Time Magazine observes, “has a myth of origin equal to that of any Greek or Roman hero.” He grew up amidst squalor that most Americans can’t begin to comprehend. At age twelve, he ran away from home to escape his abusive father. Thereafter, he survived by selling water and donuts on the streets and worked occasionally as a gardener’s assistant. Then he fell into boxing, living for two years in a tiny room adjacent to the workout area in a Manila gym. He fought for pennies under all manner of circumstances; then professionally for as little as two dollars a fight.

Now, Time Magazine proclaims, “In the Philippines, Pacquiao is a demigod.”

Pacquiao is dedicated to improving the spirits of his people. “There is bad news all the time in my country,” he says, explaining why Filipinos love him. “There is not enough food. We have typhoons. There is corruption in the government and too much crime. So many people are suffering and have no hope. Then I bring them good news and they are happy.”

Filipino journalist Granville Ampong speaks to Pacquiao’s mass appeal when he writes, “Pacquiao has been a saving grace for the government. The Philippines is in a state of political chaos and economic meltdown. There are many controversies around the current administration. The masses could have overthrown the government; but each time Manny fights, he calms the situation. When he enters the ring, a truce is declared between guerrillas and the national army and the crime rate all over the Philippines drops to zero.”

"To live in the Philippines is to live in a world of uncertainty and hardship,” notes Nick Giongco (one of that country’s foremost boxing writers). “Filipinos are dreamers. They like fantasy. And what is more of a fantasy than Manny Pacquiao?”

During the past year, Pacquiao has also become a standard-bearer for boxing. In recent decades, the powers that be have balkanized the sport, depriving the public of legitimate world champions. As a result, boxing has become more dependent than ever on “name” fighters.

Pacquiao fights with the look of a video-game action hero. He’s a remarkable blend of speed, power, endurance, determination, and (in recent years) ring smarts. He first came to the attention of boxing fans in the United States when he challenged Lehlohonolo Ledwaba for the IBF 122-pound crown in 2001. At the time, he was an unknown 22-year-old, who’d fought only in the Philippines, Thailand, and Japan.

Entering the ring on two week’s notice, Pacquiao lit up the screen and won every minute of every round against Ledwaba en route to a sixth-round stoppage. Since then, he has been on an extraordinary run.

Over the past year, each Pacquiao victory has been more remarkable than the one before. The snowball keeps getting bigger. At a promotional event in Manchester, England, to promote Pacquiao’s May 2, 2009, fight against hometown hero Ricky Hatton, Manny’s fans were so exuberant that Pacquiao was moved to comment, “I think Manchester is now Mannychester.”

Pacquiao’s November 14th encounter with Cotto shaped up as Manny’s toughest test to date. Miguel had amassed a 34-and-1 record with 27 knockouts. His sole loss was an eleventh-round stoppage at the hands of Antonio Margarito. Subsequent events led to the suspicion that Margarito’s handwraps had contained gauze sprinkled with plaster of Paris.

Cotto is respected but not adored in his native Puerto Rico. “I know that some people are happy with my accomplishments in boxing,” he said a week before the Pacquiao fight. “Others do not believe in me. I have to do my work whether the people believe in me or not. I am here for me, my family, and the people that want to follow Miguel Cotto.”

As for his place in Puerto Rican boxing history, Cotto declared, “I am going to be wherever the fans put me. I am never going to claim something that the people won’t give me. Wherever they are going to put Miguel Cotto, I am going to be happy.”

Prior to fighting Pacquiao, Cotto was no stranger to going in tough. The list of opponents he’d vanquished included Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey, Zab Judah, Paulie Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, and Randall Bailey. His loss to Margarito had been followed by two less-than-scintillating victories. But the assumption in boxing circles was that Miguel would have dominated Oscar De la Hoya and Ricky Hatton (Pacquiao’s most recent opponents) as thoroughly as Manny had.

Then there was the issue of weight. Pacquiao-Cotto would be fought at a catchweight of 145 pounds. On March 15, 2008, Pacquiao defended his super-featherweight crown at 129 pounds. Four weeks later, Cotto defended his WBA welterweight belt weighing 146. In other words, twenty months ago, there was a differential of three weight classes between the two men. Being the best fighter in the world pound-for-pound (an honor accorded to Pacquiao) doesn’t mean that a fighter can beat any opponent at any weight.

Breaking down the fight, most prognosticators began with the premise that Pacquiao was faster while Cotto was bigger and stronger. They further agreed that Miguel would be Manny’s toughest test to date. Pacquiao had beaten two great symbols (De la Hoya and Hatton) in his last two fights. Now he’d be facing a great fighter. Cotto had proved that he could deal with speed when he defeated Shane Mosley and Zab Judah. And Judah, like Pacquiao, was a southpaw.

“Everyone is so intrigued over Pacquiao and thinks that he wins big,” trainer Emanuel Steward posited. “I just don’t see it that way. Miguel is going to have to improve his defense; in particular, his defense [against punches] right up the middle. If he boxes and keeps his defense a little bit tighter and if he starts banging those hard left hooks to the body on the smaller guy, this could be a tough fight for Manny because Manny is not really a welterweight. I see it as almost a toss-up.” Cotto radiated confidence. “His weaknesses are obvious to me,” Miguel said during a teleconference call. “He is coming from a lower weight division. If he thinks he is going to have the same power as Miguel Cotto, his thinking is very wrong. He’s a fast fighter. You know what? That’s why we prepare ourselves. We know he has speed and we are prepared to beat it. I am prepared for anything he can show me.”

Miguel, the media was told, was having his “best training camp ever.” Meanwhile, Team Pacquiao was reportedly in chaos.

Freddie Roach (Pacquiao’s trainer) would have preferred that Manny prepare for the fight at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. But United States law dictated that Pacquiao’s tax bill would rise considerably if he spent more than three weeks training in America.

Initially, Roach wanted the early stages of training to take place in Mexico. “Toluca is the best option,” he maintained. “It’s private, quiet, not a vacation-type of area. The gym is owned by the government. It’s a very safe place. A federal marshal works there. He’d be with us the whole time, so security wouldn’t be a problem.”

But as of September 1st, the training site still hadn’t been agreed upon and Roach was having trouble contacting his charge. “My gut feeling,” he said, “is that we’ll end up in the Philippines. The thing is, there are a lot of distractions in the Philippines. One weekend, this governor will want to fly him here. The next weekend, another governor will want to fly him there. It’s a hassle.”

Eventually, Baguio (in the Philippines) was chosen as the camp site. Then that region of the country was hit by typhoons and there were reports that civil war had broken out within Team Pacquiao.

Roach, it was said, had been conspiratorially lodged in a separate hotel away from Pacquiao. Manny, according to some newspapers, was spending as much time helping typhoon victims as he was training for Cotto. Strength-and-conditioning coach Alex Ariza and Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz were engaged in a much-publicized feud that culminated in a physical confrontation.

“Koncz is so condescending, so passive-aggressive, and just doesn’t care if he’s being unreasonable,” Ariza told Time Magazine. “He crossed a line, and I bitch-slapped him."

Meanwhile, Roach was fearful that the long flight from the Philippines to Los Angeles (where Pacquiao would conclude training) would result in several days lost due to jet lag.

Pacquiao tried to keep things in perspective. During a teleconference call, he was asked about the problems inherent in training in an area that had been devastated by typhoons.

“It is very difficult for me,” Manny acknowledged. “But I have to focus on my fight because nobody can help me in the ring. I am not only fighting for me. I am also fighting for my country. It is my responsibility to focus on training.”

Then more typhoons threatened and the training camp was moved to Manila.

How did it all work out?

“Much better than I thought it would,” Roach reported. “It was very emotional in Baguio. We saw a lot of death and destruction. But when Manny walks into the gym, he leaves the distractions behind. We had to run inside with the treadmill because the rain was so heavy, but it didn’t effect our preparation. We worked right through it. We had good sparring partners. We didn’t miss a day. The first month was the best first month of training I’ve had with Manny. He was in great shape. I’d go back to Baguio with Manny in a minute. We had a great four weeks there.”

And Manila?

“The five days in Manila sucked,” Roach said. “Everyone wanted a piece of Manny. Filipino politicians, governors, mayors, councilmen; all dragging him every which way. The American Embassy, entertainers, you name it. Too many distractions; too many people in the gym. Manny’s mind was all over the place. His focus wasn’t there.”

Then Pacquiao journeyed to Los Angeles for the final days of training, and what passes for normalcy within Team Pacquiao reigned.

“Manny trains hard for every fight,” Freddie said afterward. “If he was fighting me, he’d train hard and be in perfect shape. He sees that as his responsibility to his country and himself, and he’s right.”

On paper, Pacquiao and Cotto were fighting for Miguel’s WBO welterweight crown. In theory, that offered Manny the opportunity to win a world championship in the seventh weight division of his career. But given the multiplicity of belts in boxing today, that was of secondary importance. The real prize was Pacquiao’s pound-for-pound title.

There was a buzz in the media center at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino during fight week. Pacquiao-Cotto wasn’t a manufactured event. It was a legitimate super-fight, and the promotion had caught fire.

Time Magazine ran a five-page feature article on Pacquiao in its United States edition and placed him on the cover of its Asian counterpart. The New York Times (which has largely ignored boxing in recent years) ran daily stories on the fight. Pulling out all the stops, Top Rank (which was promoting the bout) spent US$150,000 to rent a 21-foot-high cylindrical LED video screen that was suspended above the ring and was evocative of a rock concert. Google and Twitter reported record numbers for Pacquiao traffic. The fight was completely sold out.

“Not one ticket left," Top Rank CEO Bob Arum chortled. “We got a list of one hundred names of people that want tickets, and we don’t have any. It’s not my problem. Everybody had an opportunity to buy tickets. The peopled that snoozed lose’d."

Arum was in his glory. His run as Pacquiao’s promoter began with Manny’s first fight against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2004 and has been highlighted by two bouts against Marquez, Pacquiao’s second fight against Marco Antonio Barrera, three fights against Erik Morales, and one fight each against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton.

Arum is also Cotto’s promoter. “One reason this promotion has gone so well,” he noted, “is that I have no co-promoter to argue with and give me tsuris.” But for the first time in his ring career, Miguel was the “B-side” in a promotion. Fight week was The Manny Pacquiao Show.

“Fights like De La Hoya-Trinidad and De La Hoya-Mayweather were big,” Arum proclaimed. “But they were boxing stories, and boxing people live in a very insular world that’s all about HBO, Showtime, and the boxing websites. This fight has created interest in non-traditional ways. There’s Time Magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal. People who know nothing about boxing have heard about Manny Pacquiao and are becoming interested in him.”

“Manny has gotten bigger since he fought De La Hoya and Hatton,” Arum continued. “Neither of those fights had this kind of feeling. The interest in this fight is global. Oscar was charming and good-looking and a very good fighter, but Manny is something more. Globally, Manny is now bigger than Oscar ever was. And Manny is going to get bigger and bigger because the world has changed. The stars no longer have to come from America.”

At the center of it all, Pacquiao seemed to glide effortlessly through the storm of attention.

Despite an unspeakably hard childhood, Manny looks younger than his thirty-one years. Women describe him as “adorable.” There’s a gentle childlike quality about him, much like a young tiger cub. He’s partial to casual clothes, has a ready smile, and laughs easily. Left to his own devices, he text messages constantly on two cell phones that he carries with him. Reflecting on the fame that has overtaken him, he says, “It’s a big change in my life. That’s for sure.”

Fame like Pacquiao’s can eat a person alive (think Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson). To survive, either a person sets rigid boundaries in the manner of Tiger Woods or gives himself to the public like Muhammad Ali.

Pacquiao immerses himself in his celebrity status the way a fish takes to water. He might wonder sometimes, “What’s going on here? What’s this all about?” But he’s loves being Manny and is enjoying the ride. He understood early on the value of speaking English and has learned it well. He acts and speaks without media advisors telling him what to do and say. He loves the big stage. He makes movies. He sings.

“There’s no spotlight that’s too bright for Manny,” says Freddie Roach. “He likes being famous and he handles it well. He’s got class and a great way about him. He brightens every room he enters.”

Meanwhile, Roach has been on a remarkable ride of his own. Like Pacquiao, he’s one of boxing’s feel-good stories.

As a young man, Freddie had a promising ring career that began with 26 victories in 27 fights. Then the opposition got tougher and he got older. By the end, he was an opponent, losing four bouts in a row to fighters with a composite record of 81-2-2. He closed the active-fighter portion of his life with a 39-and-13 career mark. Then Parkinson’s syndrome struck.

Roach is now one of the best-liked and most respected trainers in boxing. He’ll be fifty years old in March. Despite his physical condition, he’s constantly in the ring with Pacquiao and other fighters, working the pads and otherwise engaged. His workload would exhaust a younger healthy well-conditioned man.

Freddie has a self-deprecating sense of humor. At the start of a satellite TV interview two days before Pacquiao-Cotto, a sound technician asked him to count to ten for a microphone check.

Roach dutifully complied: “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.” Then he added, “Didn’t think I could do that, did you?”

“I get more anxious as a trainer than I ever did as a fighter,” Freddie acknowledges. “When I’m lying in bed at night before a fight, I go through things over and over again in my mind. I do it for hours. And finally, when I’m satisfied that I’ve covered all the bases, I fall asleep.”

Pacquiao is Roach’s monument. Freddie never achieved greatness as a fighter. But as a trainer, he has reached glorious heights. Skyhorse Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) has contracted for his autobiography to be written with journalist Peter Nelson. Time Magazine calls him “the most popular foreigner in the Philippines.”

“Training a fighter like Manny is what a guy like me lives for,” Roach says. “As far as the attention is concerned; I’m like Manny. I enjoy it. It’s nice to be recognized for what you do, and it’s not that hard to smile and be nice to people. If I can make someone happy by taking a picture with them or signing my name, I do it.”

Three days before the fight, Roach supervised Pacquiao’s final intensive workout at the IBA gym in Las Vegas. The early odds had favored Manny at slightly better than 2-to-1. Now they were 3-to-1 and would settle on fight night at 5-to-2, despite the insider view that Pacquiao should be only a slight favorite.

Manny never trash-talks. In the days leading up to the bout, he spoke respectfully of his opponent, telling the media, “Cotto is a bigger guy and a hard puncher and strong. He has a good left hook and a good uppercut. He is a good fighter and a champion. For this fight, it is a challenge.”

Early in the promotion, Roach had predicted that Pacquiao-Cotto would be “the toughest fight of Manny’s life.”

“This guy beat Shane Mosley, a speed guy,” Freddie explained. “He knows how to nullify speed. Cotto is better than Oscar De La Hoya, better than Ricky Hatton. He’s the biggest, strongest guy we’ve ever fought. To beat Manny, you have to slow him down. Cotto knows how to do that with body shots. And low blows. I’m a little concerned about the fact that, when Cotto gets hurt, he goes to low blows. I try to teach fighters, ‘If the other guy hits you low, hit him back low.’ But Manny won’t do it.”

However, as the fight approached, Roach seemed increasingly less troubled. Among the thoughts he offered were:

* “I’m not worried about Cotto’s size. Size and brute strength might win a weight-lifting contest, but they don’t win fights. Boxing ability wins fights, and Manny is a better boxer than Cotto. Hatton was bigger and stronger than Manny until the fight started. So was Oscar.”

* “We’re not reinventing the wheel. We’re adjusting to the styles of our opponents. We study them and we find their habits and adjust to them. I don’t look for mistakes. Every fighter makes mistakes, and you don’t know when they’ll come. I look for habits. I’ve seen all the tapes on Cotto. The idea is to not get hit with the hook. Cotto cocks his left hand before he throws it, so it shouldn’t be that hard for Manny to take it away from him. And Cotto makes certain adjustments when he fights a southpaw, which is something we’ll deal with.”

* “Working the mitts with Manny at this weight; he’s punching so much harder than he ever has. He’s used to the extra weight now and has learned how to use it to his advantage, especially on the inside. I’ve never seen Manny better than he is now. He’s punching harder than I’ve ever seen him. He’s as fast as I’ve ever seen him. Cotto has never fought a guy with speed like Manny. That’s where he’s going to have trouble; with Manny’s speed. I don’t think he can handle it.”

* “I’m very confident in my guy. Manny is one hundred percent ready for this fight and he knows exactly how to win this fight. It’s like a choreographed dance. Manny knows what Cotto will do, and he knows how he’ll respond to it. We have a Plan A and a Plan B. I don’t think we’ll need a C.”

* I don’t think Cotto has enough. He’s hittable; and people that Manny can hit, he knocks out. I feel like Manny, with the power he’s punching with right now at this weight; he’s going to knock Cotto out. I think I have the greatest fighter in the world today, and I think we’ll prove that again with Cotto.”

In the IBA gym, Roach worked with his fighter for close to an hour. During a break, he observed, “Sometimes, when I’m working the pads with Manny, I ask myself, ‘What would I do if I was fighting this guy?’ Let’s be realistic. What could I do if I was fighting Manny?”

Then the conversation turned to the issue of weight. There’s a school of thought that the division Pacquiao is fighting in now is more appropriate for him than the lower weight classes that he competed in for years. He was undernourished as a child, eating mostly rice until the age of sixteen. Then he suffered through another decade of having to make weight. Now (the theory goes), for the first time, Manny is eating what he should be eating.

“I’m not a nutritionist, so I can’t answer that,” Roach said. “I think that Manny’s best fighting weight is probably 140, but the biggest fights are at 147. What I do know is that, when Manny had to make weight at 126 or 130, he was unhappy all the time. Now he can eat the week of a fight. He can eat on the morning of the weigh-in. The whole time leading up to the fight, he’s in a much better frame of mind.”

Then there were the intangibles.

“It’s what you can’t see that’s inside a fighter that makes the difference,” Freddie offered. “Manny has all the right things inside. One of the questions I have about Cotto is, ‘What did the loss to Margarito take out of him?’ I was 26-and-1 when I got knocked out for the first time, and I never believed in myself quite the same way again. Cotto can tell himself that the reason he got beat up by Margarito was the gloves. But whether he believes that in his heart is something else. I don’t think Cotto is the same fighter he was before Margarito. His first fight back [against Michael Jennings], he wasn’t that good. And I wasn’t impressed with Cotto against [Joshua] Clottey either. Cotto is slower now than he used to be. I don’t think he has the confidence he once had. Manny is better now than ever and he feels like he’s fighting with a hundred million Filipinos behind him. Nothing is certain in boxing, but I’m as certain as I can be that Manny will beat Cotto.”

The fighters weighed in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena at 3:00 PM on Friday. Fans started lining up at 5:45 AM. At one o’clock, fire marshals closed off access to the arena because the six thousand seats available to the public were filled to capacity.

Cotto tipped the scales at the contract weight of 145 pounds; Pacquiao at 144. Spirits were high. There was partisan cheering. The only thing missing was the Ricky Hatton Band.

One discordant note accompanied the proceedings. Earlier this year, Cotto split with his uncle, who had trained him throughout his career. Evangelista Cotto’s replacement, Joe Santiago (formerly a Cotto camp assistant), was training Miguel for only the second time.

Initially, Santiago and Roach were respectful of one another. “I have a lot of respect for what Freddie Roach has done,” Joe said early in the promotion. “But he won’t be able to fight for Pacquiao. It’s the fighters that are going to do the fighting.”

Then people started questioning whether Santiago was qualified to train a fighter at the elite level. Joe got huffy and made a few intemperate remarks about Freddie that led Roach to respond, “He’s never fought in his life and he has no idea what it’s like being in the ring. He’s got a towel on his shoulder and gives water and all of a sudden he’s a coach. Cotto trains himself.”

One issue prior to the fight was whether Cotto would have trouble getting down to 145 pounds. At the weigh-in, as the scale registered Miguel’s weight, Santiago turned to Roach and said, “145, asshole.”

“He’s supposed to weigh 145,” Roach countered. “And if you call me ‘asshole’ again, I’ll punch you in the face.”

The trash-talking escalated from there until cooler heads prevailed.

On fight night, Roach was the first member of Team Pacquiao to arrive at the arena. He entered dressing room #3 at 5:30 PM and emptied his bag of the tools he’d need in the hours ahead.

Pacquiao was due at 6:00 PM. Word came by cell phone that his van was stuck in traffic.

“I’m not worried,” Roach said. “The earliest we’ll walk is eight o’clock. HBO likes the fighters here two hours early, but I can get Manny ready in an hour. And whatever happens, they’re not starting the fight without him.”

Pacquiao arrived at 6:40 PM, accompanied by an entourage far larger than Roach or the Nevada State Athletic Commission would have liked. He went into the toilet area to give a pre-fight urine sample to a commission inspector. Then he returned to the main room, took off his shoes and socks, and began putting band-aids on his toes to protect them from blisters. When that chore was done, he stood up, intoned, “Ladies and gentleman; from the Philippines . . .” and threw several punches in Roach’s direction.

At seven o’clock, NSAC inspector Jack Lazzarotto began the process of clearing unauthorized personnel from the room, winnowing the number from thirty to twenty.

Over the next twenty-five minutes, Pacquiao wrapped his own hands, singing softly to himself as he worked.

Several of Manny’s friends who had balked at the earlier removal order were escorted to the door.

Pacquiao did some stretching exercises and shadow boxed for fifteen seconds. He had the look of a boy who was warming up for a youth soccer game.

At 7:45, referee Kenny Bayless entered and gave Manny his pre-fight instructions. After Bayless left, there were more stretching exercises and a brief prayer.

The number of people in the room had risen again due to the presence of several entourage members who had hidden in the shower area during the earlier sweeps. This time, with help from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the room was cleared for real.

At 8:10, assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez gloved Pacquiao up. There was an almost-casual feeling in the air. Manny had the calm demeanor of a man who felt fully protected against the storm to come.

At 8:20, Pacquiao began hitting the pads with Roach; his first real exercise of the night. World class fighters have a snap to their punches. The crack of leather against leather sounds like an explosion. There was intensity in Manny’s eyes.

Roach gave running instructions in a soft voice.

Crack! Pop!

Blazing speed.

HBO production coordinator Tami Cotel entered the room. “Ten minutes, guys,” she said.

The padwork ended at 8:30. “You’re ready to go,” Roach told his fighter.

On a large television monitor at the far end of the room, Miguel Cotto could be seen in real time throwing left hooks toward the body of his trainer.

“That’s what he does,” Roach reminded Pacquiao. “He cocks the left when he goes up top and opens himself up when he reaches with the hook to the body. Either way; you nail him with a counter-right.”

Manny sat on a chair. He looked happy and serene.

No one spoke.

Then it was time.

Pacquiao stood up and turned toward Peter Nelson, who’d been granted access to the dressing room because of his work with Roach on the trainer’s autobiography.

“Do you have a good story?” Manny asked.

Nelson looked startled that his book would be of concern to Pacquiao at this moment.

“Yes,” he answered after a moment’s pause.

Each time a fighter steps in the ring, he has to prove himself all over again. Against Cotto, Pacquiao did just that.

The first round belonged to Miguel. He neutralized Manny’s speed with his jab and fought a smart measured three minutes. Pacquiao turned the tables in the second stanza, getting off first and giving every indication of relishing a fire-fight.

The pendulum swung several times in round three, most of which was controlled by Cotto. He landed several hard shots and seemed the stronger of the two men. Manny took the punches well and scored a knockdown with a sharp right hook of his own. But because Miguel didn’t seem hurt and was superior for the rest of the round, two of the three judges appropriately scored it 10-9 in Manny’s favor instead of 10-8 (which a knockdown usually warrants).

Round four belonged to Pacquiao. He decked Cotto again; this time with a hard left-uppercut that hurt Miguel.

Round five was close. All three judges gave it to Pacquiao. But many observers (including this writer and HBO’s Harold Lederman) thought that it belonged to Cotto.

At this point, as predicted, Pacquiao was the faster of the two men, but Cotto looked to be physically stronger. Certainly, Miguel was competitive.

“I was a little concerned,” Roach admitted afterward. “Cotto looked pretty good. And for a while, Manny was fighting Cotto‘s fight. He was laying on the ropes, and Miguel caught him with some punches that got his attention.”

Then, in round six, Pacquiao turned a great fight into a great performance. The “smaller” man started digging to the body and scoring up top, staggering Cotto twice. By the end of the round, Miguel was badly cut on the left eyelid and Manny was dominating the action.

From that point on, Pacquiao beat Cotto up. The second half of the bout saw Miguel in full retreat, back-pedalling and circling away in an effort to get to the end of the fight with as little additional damage and pain as possible. He looked like a man who was trying to escape from a spinning airplane propeller. Manny relentlessly pursued him and, when Cotto landed, simply walked through the punches.

“When Cotto started backing up, I knew it was over,” Roach said afterward. “His corner should have stopped the fight three rounds before it ended. All that happened after Miguel started running was that he took a beating.”

Cotto himself later acknowledged, “I didn’t know from where the punches come. I couldn’t protect myself. After round seven, I tell Joe [Santiago] to stop the fight, but I think better and I prefer to fight.”

Roach was right. Santiago should have stopped it. As the fight progressed, Cotto’s face became more and more disfigured. He was bleeding from the nose and mouth. His lips were horribly swollen.

One could make a strong case that round nine was 10-8 in Pacquiao’s favor even though there was no knockdown. Rounds ten and eleven were more of the same. Meanwhile, Manny wasn’t playing it safe. Great fighters have the ability to finish strong and close the show. He was going for the kill.

Fifty-five seconds into round twelve, Bayless did what Cotto’s corner should have done earlier. He mercifully stopped the slaughter.

The entourage was waiting when Pacquiao returned to his dressing room after the fight. After embracing several friends, he began to sing:

You raise me up so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up to more than I can be.

Then he grimaced. Manny had been in a fight. There were bruises under both eyes and, of greater medical significance, he’d suffered torn cartilage in his right ear. The ear hurt and was starting to swell. Unattended, it would lead to the condition known in boxing as a “cauliflower ear.”

A plastic surgeon took Pacquiao to an adjacent room and drained his ear. When they returned, white gauze was wrapped around Manny’s head. The merriment resumed. Roach stood quietly to the side.

“Manny is such a great guy to work with,” Freddie said. “He’s unbelievable, one of a kind. I’m working with the greatest fighter of my time and one of the greatest fighters ever. Sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am.”

So . . . How good is Pacquiao?

It’s axiomatic in boxing that either a fighter is getting better or he’s getting worse. Remarkably, at age thirty-one, Pacquiao is getting better; much better. He’s on a roll where each new fight (first De La Hoya, then Hatton, now Cotto) becomes his signature outing.

Part of that is Roach’s influence. Freddie has worked with some of the best fighters of our time and the three most famous (De La Hoya, Tyson, and Pacquiao).

“Oscar was a slow learner,” Roach says. “Oscar needed repetition. He had to do something over and over again to get it right. Tyson, at the point in his career that I was with him, wasn’t interested in learning. Manny is very teachable and an incredibly fast learner. He’s carrying his punch and his power with him along with his speed as he moves up in weight. He‘s on fire. He’s getting better all the time.”

Against Cotto, Pacquiao made a world-class fighter look ordinary and turned him into a foil. “His performance,” Gordon Marino wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “was absolutely jaw-dropping; a fistic work of art.” His ability to take punches and walk through punishment is astounding. And speed is only part of the problem that Manny poses for opponents. He punches with power too.

“We thought Pacquiao was great,” Larry Merchant said after the fight. “He’s better than we thought.”

Pacquiao frequently talks about entering the political arena. In 2007, he ran for Congress and was defeated decisively by incumbent Darlene Antonino-Custodio. But his popularity has grown since then and another campaign in 2010 appears to be in the cards. Manny’s motives are pure, but some of his biggest admirers fear that politics could be his unmaking; that depending on his associations, he could be tainted by the political process, especially if he wins.

“Manny might find out that politics isn’t as much fun as boxing,” Roach says. “And it might be rougher. I’ve been wrong before, but I think Manny can do more for his country as a boxer than he can as a politician.”

What we know for sure is that Pacquiao is doing a lot for boxing.

“What did Manny Pacquiao achieve?” Jerry Izenberg (the dean of American sportswriters) asked after Pacquiao-Cotto. “He brought boxing back into newspapers, back onto television, and back into an unbroken chain of conversations across America, from its office water coolers to its neighborhood saloons. Yankee Stadium and the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium are now talking about outdoor championship fights with guess who as the magnet that will pack them in. The face of all of boxing is indelibly stamped with that of Manny Pacquiao today. This wasn’t just a great fight. It was a coronation.”

For years, the people who run boxing worried, “What will happen when Tyson retires?” Then it was, “What will happen when Oscar retires?” Now Manny Pacquiao is ushering in a new potentially-golden era.

Pacquiao-Cotto showed that boxing is still capable of thrilling entire nations and giving the world magical nights. It wasn’t the last big fight of the current decade. It was the first big fight of the future.

For too long, boxing has been rooted in the past. Ten years ago, the conventional wisdom was that all things good and profitable in the sweet science flowed from the United States. The Internet was an afterthought insofar as marketing was concerned. Now boxing has gone global and digital. And Pacquiao is reaching critical mass. His fights keep getting bigger.

Boxing has taken Manny Pacquiao on a journey that’s almost beyond belief. In return, he has put his mark on the sport forever.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by e-mail at thauser@rcn.com. His most recent book (“An Unforgiving Sport”) was published earlier this year by the University of Arkansas Press.


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PACQUIAO NOMINATED IN U.S. SPORTS ACADEMY'S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR 2009

PhilBoxing.com
Thu, 26 Nov 2009

Who were the greatest athletes of 2009? Have your say in the United States Sports Academy’s Athlete of the Year balloting, presented to the world by NBCSports.com and USATODAY.com. Balloting begins at noon, 1 December 2009.

The Athlete of the Year ballot is the culmination of the Academy’s yearlong Athlete of the Month program, which recognizes the accomplishments of men and women in sports around the globe. The Academy Athlete of the Month is selected by an international voting committee comprised of members of the media, sports organizations and governing bodies.

There are 12 male and 12 female candidates for Athlete of the Year. The Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards will go to the athletes that receive the most votes. Votes can be submitted on the Academy’s website at http://ussa.edu/ballots/athlete-of-the-year. The athlete with the most votes regardless of gender will be the Overall Athlete of the Year.

Balloting is open until 24 December. Last year’s winners were 2008 Olympic stars Michael Phelps and Nastia Liukin.

Voters are asked to select their top three candidates for the award in descending order. First choice is worth five points, second place is three points and third place is one point.

The men’s ballot consists of, in alphabetical order: Craig Alexander, triathlon, Australia; Usain Bolt, track and field, Jamaica; Drew Brees, football, United States; Kobe Bryant, basketball, United States; Angel Cabrera, golf, Argentina; Roger Federer, tennis, Switzerland; Santonio Holmes, football, United States; LeBron James, basketball, United States; Jimmie Johnson, auto racing, United States; Manny Pacquiao, boxing, Philippines; Albert Pujols, baseball, Dominican Republic; and Tiger Woods, golf, United States.

The women’s ballot consists of: Yelena Isinbaeva, track and field, Russia; Carmelita Jeter, track and field, United States; Courtney Kupets, gymnastics, United States; Linet Masai, track and field, Kenya; Lorena Ochoa, golf, Mexico; Courtney Paris, basketball, United States; Sanya Richards, track and field, United States; Jiyai Shin, golf, South Korea; Diana Taurasi, basketball, United States; Lindsey Vonn, skiing, United States; Chrissie Wellington, triathlon, United Kingdom; and Serena Williams, tennis, United States.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, nonprofit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pacquiao tested clean following Nov. 14 TKO win over Cotto

NEW YORK (SI.COM) -- Seven time world champion Manny Pacquiao tested clean following his Nov. 14 TKO win over Miguel Cotto, SI.com has learned.

Pacquiao, who became the first boxer to win seven championships in as many weight classes, underwent urine tests twice -- before and after the fight -- and both came back negative, said Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. It's the the 10th time the Filipino has turned in clean tests in Nevada.

Immediately following his win over Cotto, fans inside the MGM Grand Arena pleaded for a megafight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., who many have regarded as the top pound-for-pound fighter since his return in September. In response to the expected fanfare, Floyd Mayweather Sr. publicly accused Pacquiao of taking steroids.

Mayweather Sr., Floyd's father and trainer, told SI's Chris Mannix that he believed Pacquiao's ability to take Cotto's powerful shots and keep coming proved the champion was taking performance-enhancing substances. "I know Floyd is the best," said Mayweather Sr. "But when [your opponent] uses something illegal, even the best can get hurt."

Floyd Sr. offered no evidence to support his claim.

Since 2002, Nevada has required fighters to submit urine samples before every fight. Those samples test for 40 types of steroids, diuretics and masking agents. In his 10 Las Vegas fights, Pacquiao has never tested positive, and his conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, said the only substances his fighter took leading up to the fight with Cotto were whey protein and liver-support supplements, in addition to his 6,500-calorie diet.

Pacquiao has been bombarded with accusations of doping, having conquered seven weight divisions since entering the sport at 106 pounds when he was 16. And after Mayweather Sr.'s comments following the Nov. 14 bout, there has been speculation that if a megafight between Floyd Jr. and Pacquiao is agreed upon, Mayweather's camp may place stipulations in the fight contract that would require both fighters to take separate, mandatory drug tests in addition to the required tests by state athletic commissions.

But at 10-0 with his Nevada drug tests, Pacquiao has provided plenty of proof he cleanly fought his way to seven world titles.

Source

LOOKING BACK AT COTTO AND AHEAD TO FLOYD

By Jason Aniel
PhilBoxing.com

San Francisco, CA—Manny Pacquiao has made a career of continuing to exceed fans, writers, and critics expectations. From winning the flyweight title in Thailand to winning the super bantamweight title on 14 days notice, Pacquiao has never been one to shy away from a big challenge. Last week, Pacquiao took on the biggest challenge (literally) in his career so far when he ran over the much larger Miguel Cotto in the same fashion that has defined his career. The 12 round beating he put on Cotto was similar to the 11th round destruction Pacquiao laid on Marco Antonio Barrera exactly six years ago.

After an impressive opening round by Miguel Cotto, where he effectively caught Pacquiao moving back with jabs and left hooks, Pacquiao began to step up the pace. Pacquiao started landing straight lefts and Cotto could not keep up with him. After Pacquiao scored knockdowns in the 3rd and 4th round, it was the beginning of the end for the former champion from Puerto Rico, as he began to fade where as Pacquiao only got stronger. For the first 6 rounds, the fight was exciting, well fought, and competitive. It was well on its way to become the fight of the year. However, after the 6th round, it became a masterful performance by Pacquiao.


Not only did Pacquiao out fight and out speed Cotto, but also he proved to be too smart and too experienced even for a master technician like Cotto. For example, Cotto has been known to switch from the conventional stance to a southpaw stance in order to get better angles with his left hand. Every time Cotto switched to southpaw, Pacquiao would immediately lead with a right hook and left uppercut. Manny adjusted his style to counter Cotto’s style and it worked brilliantly. Where other southpaws have difficultly fighting other southpaws, Pacquiao, who saw more than a few southpaws early in his career, knew exactly what to do. It may be hard to believe, but Pacquiao is even better against other southpaws.

Another example of Pacquiao using his ring smarts over his physical talent was when he became defensive and allowed Cotto to land punches while he was on the ropes. While this was the last thing his trainer, Freddie Roach, wanted from his prized pupil, Pacquiao wanted to make a point that he was able to withstand heavy punches from a strong puncher. In past fights, when Pacquiao was hit with a clean punch, he would immediately retaliate with a furry of punches. As a result, often times, that would leave Manny even more open for counter punches. HowJustify Fullever, against Cotto, Manny remained patient and disciplined in his offense. When Cotto did land solid blows, Pacquiao was able to get out of the way and reestablish himself in the center of the ring, where he had the clear advantage. With the dominance Pacquiao has shown in his last four fights, it’s clear that the mental side of boxing has caught up with Manny’s unique physical abilities and tremendous heart. The scary thing is that he may not yet be in the prime of his career, as Freddie Roach still believes Pacquiao can get better.

As Manny Pacquiao enjoys the rest of 2009 with family and friends, the boxing universe is already buzzing over the potential “Fight of the Century” between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Representative from both side have already begun initial discussions to try to put the fight together, which is an accomplishment in itself. At one point, it seemed impossible that Mayweather, who began his career with Top Rank but ended it in a bitter buyout, would ever fight on card promoted by Bob Arum. However, with the success of the Pacquiao-Cotto PPV, the massive public demands, and with the help of Golden Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, Mayweather’s team is willing to make the fight happen.

Over the holiday season, the most intriguing storyline in boxing will be the negotiation process between Arum and Schaefer and between Team Pacquiao and Team Mayweather. The advisers and representative of Mayweather have already made their stance as to why their fighter should receive the greater percentage of the massive PPV profits. They cited to Mayweather’s superiority in PPV buys over Pacquiao in their three common opponents (De La Hoya, Hatton, and Marquez). While numbers do not lie, they also do not tell the entire story. Mayweather’s PPV numbers dropped at a higher percentage rate than Pacquiao’s did in their bouts from De La Hoya to Hatton. Also, Pacquiao’s curve in PPV buys is in an upward trend, where Mayweather’s has leveled off a bit. Pacquiao’s PPV buys rose higher from Hatton to Cotto than Mayweather did from Hatton to Marquez.

The story on Mayweather is out and has been well documented for the past two years. People know what they have with Floyd Mayweather Jr. On the other hand, Pacquiao’s story is continuing to grow as more people are learning about the Filipino phenomenon. While Mayweather can been seen on World Wrestling Entertainment feuding with the Big Show, Pacquiao can be found on TIME magazine and signing ballads on YouTube.com. Pacquiao’s NIKE trainers are some of the most sought after shoes causing stores to raffle a limited number of shoes to the public. It’s clear that now Pacquiao is trending at a much higher rate than Mayweather at this point in time. And that’s just in terms of mainstream popularity. Manny is expected to rack up additional hardware with boxing awards like 2009‘s “Fighter of the Year” and possibly “Fighter of the Decade”. Pacquiao is already considered the best fighter in the world pound for pound.

Will Pacquiao’s recent economic and pugilistic success be enough to convince Mayweather to take a lesser percentage than he initially desires? Probably not. However, as Freddie Roach explained, if Floyd is asking for 65-35 split, he’s really saying he doesn’t want the fight. However, one can understand Mayweather’s position seeing how Manny has much more to gain in beating Mayweather than vice-versa. Pacquiao is already being touted as one of the 10 to 25 best fighters of all time. If Pacquiao beats Mayweather, you can only imagine the hysteria that will ensue in the Philippines and to Filipinos all across the world. If Mayweather wins, he will simply confirm the greatest he knew he had from the beginning.

Mayweather has made it clear that he is all about the “check cashing business” and that money is his sole driving force to continue with the sport. When he made many concessions to Oscar De La Hoya in their 2007 fight (from the size of the gloves, the weight, and the PPV split), Mayweather understood that beating De La Hoya is the key to launch the Mayweather brand. Taking less with De La Hoya would allow Mayweather to cash in later when he’s a superstar. Maybe this bout with Pacquiao is his attempt to break the bank just like a baseball player who becomes an unrestricted free agent for the first time. Does that mean Manny will have to give up more just to get the fight he needs to possibly become the greatest fighter in history?

One concession Pacquiao should not make is the size of the gloves. Pacquiao must be allowed to wear eight once Reyes gloves against Mayweather. Money is one thing, but Pacquiao is already fighting at an unnatural weight class and against fighters that are naturally ten pounds or more heavier than himself. To make Pacquiao wear ten once “pillow gloves” at 147lbs tilts the competitive advantage too much in Mayweather’s favor.

If Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson can negotiate a fight then there’s no reason why Pacquiao-Mayweather can’t become a reality. There are many issues, small and big, that could delay or prevent the fight from happening. It’s going to take both sides to give a little to make the fight happen. However, with the potential money that’s on the table, this fight cannot get any bigger than it is right now.

QUICK JABS

Newly crowned Super Middleweight champion, Andre Ward, just became Oakland’s only winning sports franchise. Maybe Ward sent good vibes to the Oakland Raiders when they beat the division leading Cincinnati Bengals the day after Ward’s victory…Of all fifteen Manny Pacquiao fights I’ve witnessed live, his fight against Cotto brought in the most Filipinos to Las Vegas than any other Pacquiao before. Half of the passengers on the flight to Vegas from San Francisco were Filipino and there wasn’t a minute of my stay in Vegas where there was not a Filipino within the area…A friend informed me that Mayweather was in Las Vegas for the Pacquiao fight and was seen at nightclub at the Encore at Wynn Hotel. He was about to “make it rain” with hundred dollar bills but the crowd started chanting “Manny”, which Mayweather did not like at all…Something to think about for all the haters claiming Manny is on “something”: Pacquiao has weighed between 146lbs and 148lbs on the night of the every fight he been in starting with his third fight with Erik Morales three years ago.

Manny Is a Beast But What of Cotto?

Posted by Jonathan Yaghoubi

Manny Pacquiao has proven for the last year and a half that the more you doubt him, the better he continues to get. Pacquiao delivered the best boxing performance of the year and quite possibly of his career as he totally outclassed and punished Miguel Cotto with a 12th round TKO.

The win gave Manny a staggering 7th world title in his seventh different weight class!! With that accomplishment, we can now start to talk about him being at the top of the list of the greatest pound for pound fighters of all time. He has done something that no other fighter in the history of the sport has done. We are talking about a fighter who started his career at 106 pounds and won his first championship at 112 pounds. He has gone up the scales like no other boxer in the history of the sport.

He has done it all from Flyweight to Junior featherweight to Featherweight to Junior lightweight to Lightweight to Junior welterweight, and now welterweight. This is something we will never see again in our lifetime and puts him right up there with the Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali as one of the best boxers of all time.

While many boxers like Juan Manuel Marquez and Oscar De La Hoya have failed miserably moving up in weight class, Pacquiao has made it as easy as saying the ABC's. We can't be shocked anymore on how he performs in these fights. He totally destroyed a bigger Oscar De La Hoya and forced him into retirement. This past May, he went to 140 pounds to face Ricky Hatton, a guy that has about much power as anyone at 140 pounds. No problem for Pacquiao as he would knock Hatton down two times in the first round and knock Hatton out cold in a second round TKO. There is still no way people could doubt Manny, can they? Well many people, including some in our 411 family, thought Cotto would be too big and powerful for Manny to handle. I thought it could happen but I sobered up and knew that this was going to be Manny's night once again. This past Saturday night, Pacquiao punishment of Cotto looked like a lion devouring a zebra in those nature videos. It was quite disturbing.

Everyone expected this could be an all time classic and early on it looked like it might head that way. Cotto came out as the aggressor in that first round and constantly beat Manny to the punch. He threw his left jab successfully and looked like his size and power would be too much for Manny.

Rounds two through four were give and take but it would be Manny to be the one to come on top as he dropped Cotto in round three with a right hand that Cotto never saw. However, Cotto never appeared hurt and finished the round strong. He would continue with a very strong fourth round landing some good left hooks. He was well on his way on winning that round. But Cotto and many ringside observers would be shocked once again of the supreme talent of Pacquiao. Manny ate Cotto's punches and spit it right back in his face. Cotto, a fearsome left hooker, landed his shots. But Pacquiao never went anywhere.

At the end of the round, the fight would change for good. Pacquiao landed a powerful left hand and Cotto went down and was still very hurt when he got to his feet. Fortunately for Cotto, the round was about to end and he was able to collect himself during the rest period. But the rest period was not enough for Cotto as he endured a beating that made the Antonio Margarito fight a walk in the park. He was bleeding all over his face and was dripping it all over the ring as he tried to back up from Manny's pressure. Referee Kenny Bayless had seen enough and put a stop to the fight at 55 seconds of the 12th round.

It does not take a brain surgeon to know where Manny goes from here. A potential mega fight with the self proclaimed pound for pound king, Floyd Mayweather, looms on the horizon. It is a fight that will generate some serious buzz that boxing has not seen in a very long time. Forget for a moment on who people who think is going to win this fight. The potential matchup is so big that the MGM Grand might not be a large enough location to contain the buzz and electricity this fight will create when it does happen. Arum has talked about having the fight at the Dallas Cowboys new 100,000 seat stadium which would be a pretty awesome sight to look at. For those WWF/E fans out there, this could be like Wrestlemania 3 when Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant squared off in the biggest title match ever at the Pontiac Silverdome, former home of the Detroit Lions. It will break Pay Per View records and wherever the fight takes place that will be the place to be.

There are people who feel that Mayweather will not take the fight because he won't get the money he feels he deserved. Floyd has to understand that he will be stepping into the ring with a superstar just as big as him and a national hero in his home country of the Philippines. Mayweather is certainly no national hero in the United States. Many fans detest Mayweather's antics and is looked at as a bully who is scared to take a fight that he might have any chance to lose. This is one of those fights but I find it hard to believe that Floyd will walk away from such a potential big money fight. It will certainly be the most money he will ever earn in one night and it will give more chances to entertain and promote his "Money" gimmick. Whatever it takes to get it done but get it done!

And What of Cotto?

Where does Miguel Cotto go from here? There is only one thing for Cotto to do. He MUST avenge his first loss of his career and take a rematch against Antonio Margarito. It's the only fight that makes any kind sense for Cotto. It is very obvious that Miguel Angel Cotto has still not recovered from that night and looks like he lost a piece of his fighting soul that night.

He didn't look like the great Cotto when he fought Clottey and certainly looked nothing like himself against Pacquiao. In every interview Cotto does, he tries his best to dismiss the Margarito fiasco and whether or not he had plaster in his gloves that July night. He says he is over it but you can just tell that it is still eating him up inside. Look no further doing the PPV telecast when members of Cotto's team went to Manny Pacquiao's locker room before the fight. They looked like zombies in observing if Manny was doing anything illegal to his hands.. Not once did they take their eyes of Pacquiao's hands and made sure that no more illegal stuff would never happen to Cotto again. They are just about a year and half too late. It was reported that not one member of Cotto's team was in Margarito's dressing room that night when he was wrapping his gloves up. Also add in the pictures that HBO were able to provide of Antonio Margarito's hands after the fight. They showed Maragrito's entire hand was wrapped except the pinkie finger. The finger looked to be very red and only further proves that there was indeed some type of substance in Margarito's gloves. This is something that won't die.

Cotto must slay this controversy once and for all. Bob Arum needs to put together an Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto rematch in June at Madison Square Garden during the Puerto Rican parade weekend. While it may not be fair to put Margarito in hostile territory, he must work his way back up after being caught red handed before his fight with Mosley. We talk about how big a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would be but how big you think a rematch of Cotto-Margarito in MSG would be. There are plenty of Puerto Ricans that would be on hand for that one but there are just as many Mexicans and the atmosphere would be more like a soccer match than anything else.

Source

Miguel Cotto's Return Eyed For June in New York City

By Mark Vester

According to promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, former champion Miguel Cotto may return in his favorite position - headlining a June event on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York. Arum plans to meet with Cotto and his team in the near future to discuss the plans for 2010. First, Cotto needs to recover from the beating he took against Manny Pacquiao on November 14.

"First, Miguel needs a long period of rest, so forget boxing for a while. Then we will sit down to talk about some possible opponents, but the idea is for him to fight again in the summer," Arum told Primera Hora .

Arum would love to put together an event with Cotto in the new Yankee Stadium but obviously Madison Square Garden is a frontrunner to host the card. Juan Manuel Lopez is a possible co-feature to Cotto's comeback if the event lands in Yankee Stadium.

"If we reach an agreement to make the event at Yankee Stadium, it would be ideal to have Miguel with Juan Manuel "Juanma "Lopez on the same card. We would need both of them to fill the place. But if it's at Madison Square Garden, then it would only be Miguel," Arum said.

Source

WBO PRESIDENT VALCARCEL SENDS CONGRATULATORY LETTER TO PACQUIAO

PhilBoxing.com

WBO President Francisco 'Paco' Valcárcel has sent a congratulatory letter to pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao for his recent achievement in capturing his 7th title in seven weight divisions by beating Valcárcel's compatriot Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico last Nov. 14 in Las Vegas, NV. Valcarcel has named Pacquiao the WBO super champion in the welterweight division.

Valcárcel's letter to Pacquiao follows in full:

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November 18, 2009

Super Champion
Welterweight Division
Manny Pacquiao

Dear Manny:

The World Boxing Organization congratulates you on your historic and triumphant performance against Miguel Cotto on Saturday, November 14th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, where you became the first seven division world title champion. It was a
spectacular performance. You have brought great admirable credit to yourself, trainers, manager, promoter, fans, and most especially, to the entire Philippine country who now see you as an example of emulation. Your contributions to the community are as well known, as your contributions to the history of boxing, making you a true champion in and out of the ring!

We are very proud of your accomplishments and your new titles of WBO Welterweight Champion and Super Champion. For this reason, we want to celebrate with you this historic triumph, either in the Philippines or in Puerto Rico depending on what is more convenient for you. Let us know as soon as possible the place and date of your choice for this celebration to take place.

Again congratulations, and welcome a board, Manny!

Cordially,


[Signed]
Francisco Valcárcel, Esq.
WBO President

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hatton Sr. Praises Pacquiao's Performance Against Cotto

by: Ronnie Nathanielsz

The father/manager of former IBO light welterweight champion Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton, Ray Hatton, has praised pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao for “a cracking fight” in which he stopped WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto in 55 seconds of the final round at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last Saturday.

In an overseas telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com, insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports, Hatton said Pacquiao put on “a tremendous performance and he (Pacquiao) looked so big on the scales, even bigger than Cotto.”

Hatton said he felt that Cotto “took more than what he needed to about eight rounds onwards” even as he commended Pacquiao who, he observed, “at times took his foot off the pedal (eased off) which was good job he did.”

At the same time Hatton said Cotto was “very, very brave and took punches with about three rounds left that I thought he didn’t have to although he didn’t want to quit.” He said such decisions “could be punishing a little bit later and could be the difference between how long his career lasts.”

Pacquiao administered a brutal second round knockout on Hatton when they clashed at the MGM Grand last May 6.

Hatton disclosed that following that crushing defeat his son Ricky would make a decision on whether to return to the ring sometime in January after an extended holiday and that should he return the opponent may well be Juan Manuel Marquez, the reigning WBA/WBO lightweight champion who dropped a lopsided points decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr last October.

Hatton said “that’s the fight they want him to have and I know for a fact that if Ricky comes back you have to come up against an opponent who is in the top three or four in the pound-for-pound list. I wouldn’t think he’ll come back to just fight and knock somebody out.”

He said Ricky Hatton “is just like Manny (Pacquiao) who wouldn’t do that either. If he (Ricky) does fight again it will be a really credible opponent.”

Hatton Promotions chief executive Gareth Williams had earlier told Gavin Glicksman of The Sun that “if Ricky does carry on it would be an ideal fight for him to take on Marquez. He is an elite fighter, just like Ricky, who will want to challenge the best.”

Source

Miguel Cotto: "I will continue fighting".

Norfolk Boxing Examiner Glenn Wilson

The event is over, but not the fighting spirit. Miguel Cotto has let it be known that the loss to Manny Pacquiao may have dampened his spirit, but not his desire to fight on. When asked by HBO's Larry Merchant if he would continue to fight, Miguel responded, "Yeah. I will continue, I will continue fighting."

Merchant also asked Cotto if Manny's propensity to throw many punches from various angles was the difference in the fight. "Yeah, it really made the difference, he jabs and throws. Makes alot of difference because I didn't see from where the punch was coming. I didn't protect myself from the punches."

Cotto and Pacquiao put on a great show for the first four rounds. It was after that point that the fight was controlled by Pacquiao. Manny's nonstop punches allowed him to floor Miguel twice.

The battered Cotto fought on gamely, although he did hear some boos when he danced away from Pacquiao during the later rounds. The volume and angles really did a job on Miguel's face. To Cotto's credit, he took the best Manny could throw at him and tried to make it to the final bell.

Pacquiao has become the complete opposite of what many old timers said was impossible, bring your punch with you when you move up in weight. One theory is that he has grown into his more natural weight, instead of draining himself to make the 130 to 135 weight limits. Add to that his amazing foot and hand speed and we are seeing one man who is surely destined to make anyone's alltime great list.

Critics had said that they were interested to see how Manny would stand up to a full fledged welterweight's power. He passed this test with flying colors also. Cotto landed heavy shots on Manny, only to have Pacquiao spring back with punches of his own.

The only thing left for Pacquiao is Mayweather. It would be hard to imagine that there is a fight any true fan would want to see more, including Freddie Roach. Roach stated so much immediately after the fight.

As far as Miguel Cotto, he will continue fighting. This comes as great news to the fans in Cotto nation. And let the reality of his fight be told. Early in the fight Cotto looked great. So good , that it is hard to imagine that any other fighter could have beaten him on that night. The one possible exception just happened to be the man in the ring with him.

When asked to compare Pacquiao to the other top fighters he had faced, Miguel said,"I fought every body, you know Miguel Cotto comes to boxing to fight the biggest names. I'm always available and Manny is one of the best boxers we have of all time."

Source