Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vegas fight odds fire up Cotto in training

By Abac Cordero
Source: The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao remains the heavy favorite against Miguel Cotto, and the WBO welterweight champion from Puerto Rico is using the odds stacked against him to his favor.

“Miguel is driven by the people saying Pacquiao will beat him,” Joe Santiago, the chief trainer of Cotto, told fightfan.com yesterday, just 23 short days to the fight set in Las Vegas.

“It’s extra motivation and he is coming with fire because people are saying he can’t win,” added Santiago of Cotto, who has walked the extra mile in training as compared to Pacquiao.

Fight odds coming out of Las Vegas yesterday placed Pacquiao at -250, meaning you need to put $250 to win a hundred bucks. Cotto is at -190, meaning a hundred wins $190.

Pacquiao is a non-believer of fight odds. Not because he says he doesn’t place bets on his own fights, but because he believes that all bets are off once the opening bell sounds.

Cotto, however, loves to look at the odds as a motivating factor.

Over at the Fight Factory Gym in Tampa, Florida, which serves as Cotto’s training headquarters, the younger and bigger Puerto Rican is banging away on a heavy bag with Pacquiao’s image on it.

It was a gift from Everlast, the leading manufacturer of boxing equipment, to the 27-year-old Cotto, a natural welterweight (147 lb) who will be paired against Pacquiao who started out as a skinny 106-pounder.

The fight, however, is set at a catchweight of 145 lb.

Pacquiao is into his fifth week of training, the first four weeks spent in Baguio City, which is cooler, and the last few days in Metro Manila, which is definitely hotter.

He leaves for Los Angeles tomorrow evening to resume training at the Wild Card Gym, and after two more weeks he heads to Las Vegas for what could be the fight of the year.

Pacquiao surely wouldn’t mind Cotto hitting the heavy bag with his image on it, because he’d done it before, plastering a carded image of Oscar dela Hoya on Freddie Roach’s body armor.

Pacquiao wouldn’t mind as well that Angelo Dundee, the great trainer, visited Cotto in his Florida gym, and based on pictures, looked like he was giving some pointers to the Puerto Rican champ.

But they could be the same pointers he gave Dela Hoya, who just couldn’t handle Pacquiao and had to quit on his stool in their fight last December.

Santiago says history might just repeat itself for Cotto.

“Before Miguel fought Carlos Quintana a few years ago many people were picking Quintana to win and that really motivated Miguel. The night of the fight he was so focused to prove people wrong that it really gave him a boost in the fight. We’re seeing that again with the way so many people are picking Pacquiao to win on Nov. 14,” he said.

“Everyone on the team is very confident about what we’re doing. Miguel has done everything asked of him in camp. Each week we’ve had a game plan and everything has been accomplished,” he added.

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