Friday, October 16, 2009

Manny Pacquiao: Once hit Cotto will revert to counter-punching

By Gareth A Davies

Freddie Roach:

Cotto will revert to being a counter-puncher once he gets hit.

Cotto will be around 160lbs on the night; we’ll be coming in at around 149.

Manny is in his prime now. He can beat anyone in the world.

I spoke to Freddie Roach last night. The disparate parts of a cunning plan – and it needs to be against Miguel Cotto – are coming together for the student of the Sweet Science, and his ever-eager disciple, Manny Pacquiao.

Roach has studied the tapes of Cotto, knows the length of his jabs, the angles he creates, his changes of pattern, even perhaps, his inside leg measurement. In other words, the deep research has been done, and the plot to unseat him as WBO welterweight champion in underway. Jose Luis Castillo has arrived for three days a week sparring. Interesting. He does throw shots similarly to Cotto. Not with the same venom, though.

It is the body shots he throws which they will be looking to avoid.

Roach, the master strategist, is rubbing his stubbled chin. Roaxh told The Telegraph: “We have a plan, and several strategies. I think Cotto will be aggressive and that he will be looking to show his strength. But once he has been hit, he will revert to being a counter puncher. The timing he has is good.”

“When he fights a south paw he turns left handed a lot more and I expect him to do that with Pacquiao. He is naturally left-handed, clever, and he is dangerous because of that. Our job is to take that away from him.”

“Manny is in his prime right now He can beat anyone in the world,” Roach told The Telegraph. “After getting KO’d for the first time in his life the first fight back Cotto got his confidence back and he will get more confidence if Manny lets him have his way early in the fight. The more we let him, the more his confidence will come back. We’ll going to let him know in the very first round round what he is up against. You’ll see.”

It has been the subject of many discussions I have had with colleagues and fighters - most recently the British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly, great featherweight prospect Stephen Smith and European middlewweight champion Matthew Macklin - that Cotto may provide a much more harrowing prospect than Floyd Mayweather in a championship fight. That argument is based on their styles.

When I asked Roach about that, he said: “Cotto brings a lot more to the table than Mayweather because he will engage, he will fight, whereas Mayweather tends only to fight from distance. Cotto is much more clever than people give him credit for. But in this sport, if you don’t take chances, you don’t knock people out. Cotto will fight. I imagine by fight time he gets into the ring on Nov 14, he will be 160 lbs. We will be about 149lbs. But speed will win in the fight; not power.”

No surprise then, that Castillo was brought in as a mimic of Miguel Cotto. What will have been pleasing for Roach was that Castillo, who in fairness is slowing as a fighter, admitted he “could not see the left hand.”

“It’s very fast and strong. I think that will be a big problem for Cotto,” Castillo admitted yesterday. The training continues…

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