Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pacquiao vs. Cotto: Will the Southpaw Jinx Strike Miguel?

By Giancarlo Malinconico

Freddie Roach’s latest studies of Miguel Cotto has led him to state, “He [Cotto] doesn’t fight southpaws really well.” Roach goes on to discuss how Cotto struggled against Zab Judah for much of the early part of their encounter before running out of steam. Roach contends that Pacquiao can do what Zab did in the early rounds for the entire twelve.

Although Cotto did eventually overcome Zab, and he dominated Carlos Quintana, there may be some merit to Roach’s comment. Judah hurt Cotto early with an uppercut, but failed to capitalize because Cotto countered with an uppercut to the testicles. Additionally, in his bout with
DeMarcus Corley, Cotto was rocked by a tricky right hook. And we all saw what ‘Manila Ice’ (Pacquiao’s right hook) did to Ricky Hatton. In addition, Roach claims Cotto does not take shots to the body well, and Joshua Clottey echoed this sentiment before his bout with Miguel as well. Expect Manny to send many straight left hands to Cotto’s body.

But Cotto’s stock has risen since Mayweather’s one-sided domination over Juan Manuel Marquez, and many feel the weight advantage will carry Miguel to victory. But the difference between Marquez and Pacquiao is simple: Manny carried up his power and speed. And the Pac Man is nothing like any of Cotto’s defeated opponents at welterweight. All of them, Mosley, Judah, Quintana and more, all had something in common: they all fought flatfooted.

Manny will box on his toes hit, move his head and move out of the way of returning shots. The trickiest punch a southpaw can land on an orthodox fighter is a right hook. Look for Cotto’s legs to turn to Jell-o if he is hit clean with ‘Manila Ice’: shades of Corley.

Southpaws do everything backwards, and Cotto will have to deal with that in addition to speed, head movement and footwork that he has never dealt with before in his career. But in defense of Cotto, he has knocked out every southpaw he has faced. And Cotto has won all of his fights only being stopped by a huge welterweight with cinder blocks for fists.

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