Thursday, October 22, 2009

Miguel Cotto: Are His Chances of Beating Manny Pacquiao Increasing?

By Gina L. Caliboso

Who is the fighter that Manny Pacquiao is supposed to fight?

Oh, now I remember. On November 14th, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, 49-3, 37 KO’s, and Miguel Cotto are set to battle one another for the WBO Welterweight Title. However, let’s consider that whether Pacquiao or Cotto emerge with a victory, Floyd “Money” Mayweather just may pull a Sugar Shane Mosley – interrupt a post fight conference and pose a challenge to the unsuspecting victor.

Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao has taken over not just in popularity as a fighter, but in skill and ability as well. Since Mayweather’s return to boxing with his victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, there is no doubt that Pacquiao’s current presence in boxing has created the drama for his return. Somewhere in between the showdown of two great boxers, Cotto remains relatively overlooked. If it should happen, Cotto just may defeat Pacquiao and set up a fight with Mayweather. For Cotto, he can definitely make it a good fight with a victory.

As I’m the ultimate Filipino flag waver, I’d like to mention that I’m obviously in Pacquiao’s corner for a victory. He will win. But now, after watching Cotto and looking at his impressive fight record, I’m worried. As much as Pacquiao has moved up in weight, he still remains a light welterweight. Cotto’s punches are solid when he connects. He is a bit slower in execution with a more deliberate approach to his opponents. There is something to think about in terms of how Cotto can defeat Pacquiao. Cotto’s fighting career has primarily been in the welterweight division.

By contrast, Pacquiao’s fight record at welterweight is suspect. When I say suspect, I mean that he hasn’t faced the same quality of fighter that Cotto has defeated. We can look at 2008 as a definite adjustment year at welterweight for Pacquiao. His first fight in 2008 was against Juan Manuel Marquez for the Super Featherweight Title at the weight of 130 pounds. Three months later in June, Pacquiao defeated David Diaz by TKO in 9 rounds at 135 pounds. Six months later in December, he defeated a soon to be retired Oscar De La Hoya in the 8th round. Against De La Hoya, Pacquiao weighed in at 145 pounds. Finally, in his one fight for 2009 in March, he weighed in at 140 pounds and defeated Ricky Hatton with a 2nd round KO.

In three fights, Pacquiao has boxed approximately 18 rounds as a welterweight. Using this point, one could argue that you cannot really count the fight against Hatton as a true test of his standing welterweight boxing ability. Similarly, in his fight against De La Hoya, Pacquiao’s speed at a less than stellar De La Hoya worked in his favor.

For Pacquiao, his fight against Cotto would only be his third fight at welterweight. In terms of comfort, the 15 pound weight gain, if not more against Cotto, may prove to be a factor in his execution of his trademark speed and power.

Admittedly, Cotto is set to fight the best boxer of the moment. In addition, Mayweather stands as the former boxer of the moment who has recently come out of retirement. His coming out of retirement has all the makings of a Joe Louis comeback – making a return to boxing because he owes money to the IRS and has run-ins with the law.
As of today, news reports allege Mayweather may owe approximately $6.17 million to the IRS. Mayweather’s camp denies any financial problems as factor to his return to the boxing ring.

It is true that Cotto’s overlooked ability and past performances are a little less exciting in comparison to Pacquiao’s status and Mayweather’s return drama. This is where Cotto just may emerge as the winner (dare I say it) over Pacquiao. Cotto should not be overlooked nor ignored.

Cotto’s current record stands at 34-1, 27 KO’s. His fights have been filled with solid, convincing fights. As far back as 2007, Cotto’s fight record shows a determined fighter – an experienced welterweight puncher. His actual experience as a welterweight far exceeds that of Pacquiao’s mere 18 rounds as a welterweight within the last year.

In 2007, Cotto defeated both Zab Judah with a TKO in the 11th round and Shane Mosley with a unanimous decision over 12 rounds. In April 2008, he defeated Alfonso Gomez in 5 rounds and later in July 2008, he suffered a loss to Antonio Margarito by TKO in 11 rounds. In 2009, he had two fights. In February 2009, he defeated Michael Jennings by TKO in 5 rounds. Later in June 2009, he defeated Joshua Clottey by split decision.

If you take the same measure of his fights within one year from 2008, Cotto has seen 10 times as many rounds as Pacquiao at welterweight. Against Gomez, Cotto weighed in at 146 ½ pounds and against Margarito he weighed in 147. In 2009 against Jennings, Cotto weighed in at 147 pounds and against Clottey, he weighed in at 146. He is at his best when he fights as a true welterweight. This is what makes him dangerous. Cotto is a confident and superb fighter at a weight he always known. Pacquiao may literally not know what may hit him.

Although overlooked, Cotto cannot be counted out. He is going to make my man Pacquiao earn his welterweight title. I repeat that I am the ultimate Filipino flag waver on RSR, but Cotto will provide the much needed challenge for all those that want to see Pacquiao prove himself as the best pound for pound fighter.

While Cotto does not have Pacquiao’s overwhelming speed, he has taken and traded punches with bigger and stronger fighters. The pressure is on for the eventual meeting between Pacquiao and Mayweather. But this will only work in Cotto’s favor for his fight against Pacquiao.

Among Pacquiao and Mayweather hype, Cotto figures into the mix. He is obviously being overlooked in his fight coming up on November 14th, but at the same time, there’s pressure for Pacquiao to not only beat him, but beat him badly. Cotto just may surprise everyone. If Cotto manages to win, he should definitely fight Mayweather because then he would have earned the right to be the best welterweight of them all.

Source: ringsidereport.com

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