Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pacquiao vs. Cotto: Miguel Will Burst the Manny Mystique

By Manuel Perez

Manny Pacquiao has been largely lionized in the past year by the boxing public since beating Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton. It’s sad that boxing fans have been so gullible as to be influenced by two pretty much empty wins as these when crowing Pacquiao as the top fighter in the sport. It’s actually sad when you think about it because it shows that fans don’t really have a great knowledge about the sport and can’t put wins in perspective.

Miguel Cotto is a great fighter, certainly better than De La Hoya and Hatton at this stage in my view. Maybe Hatton and De La Hoya were equally as good fighters at one point in their careers, but not by the time that they got to Pacquiao. Few boxing experts would agree that Hatton and De La Hoya had seen better days by the time that they fought Pacquiao.

So the fighters that Pacquiao faced were played out and vulnerable to getting beaten. And to a certain extent the same thing applies to Cotto, although he still has a lot despite his horrible 11th round stoppage loss to Antonio Margarito last year. Okay, so once we recognize that boxing fans have made the miscalculation of seeing Pacquiao as the top dog in the sport based on his empty wins over De La Hoya and Hatton, we must look at how good Pacquiao really is as a fighter.

The answer to that question, perhaps, can be answered by looking at Pacquiao’s “win” last year over Juan Manuel Marquez. In that fight, Pacquiao was out-boxed in eight of the twelve rounds by Marquez, yet the judges scored the fight for Pacquiao by a 12 round split decision.

I saw the fight five times in a row, okay, and I’m telling you that Marquez should have won that fight, period. I can take the fact that the judges saw it differently, while a massive amount of boxing experts like myself saw it as a Marquez win, but it tells you how good Pacquiao really is.

It doesn’t really matter who won the fight. What matters is that Pacquiao struggled badly against Marquez and won a controversial 12 round split decision. That much we can agree on. Marquez was Pacquiao’s last good opponent. I’m not taking anything away from Hatton or De La Hoya because they were great fighters in their day, but clearly not the same fighters by the time they fought Pacquiao.

But, really, Marquez is the last good fighter that Pacquiao fought and he looked horrible against Marquez. Since Pacquiao had a tough fight against Marquez, that you have to assume is about how good Pacquiao is a as a fighter. You can’t use De La Hoya or Hatton as a measuring sticking because they both looked like condemned fighters as they entered the ring against Pacquiao and didn’t look at all good.

Who besides Marquez can you use in recent history to judge how good Pacquiao is? David Diaz? How about a faded Marco Antonio Barrera? Other than Marquez, you really have to go back years to where Pacquiao fought Erik Morales in their first fight before you see Pacquiao fighting a live body who wasn’t faded, weight drained or just plain not that good.

Okay, so now we bring in Miguel Cotto, who I admit is still probably a little shaken from his beat down from Margarito last year, and put him in with Pacquiao. Say what you want about Cotto’s defensive skills, he’s a great offensive fighter and can punch like few others in the welterweight division. So you put Pacquiao in with Cotto and what do you expect will happen? The answer is in how Pacquiao fought against Marquez. Pacquiao is going to struggle and struggle big time against Cotto and end up taking a beating on November 14th. That’s just the way it is.

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