Friday, November 6, 2009

Underdog role no concern for Cotto against Pacquiao


By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Miguel Cotto has no qualms about being listed as the bookmakers' underdog for his WBO welterweight title defense against Filipino Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas next week.

The Puerto Rican, who has an enviable career record of 34-1 featuring 27 knockouts, is confident his power and meticulous preparation will trump Pacquiao's speed when the fighters clash on November 14.

"I don't know anything about the betting business," Cotto said on a conference call from his training camp in Las Vegas on Thursday. "I am just here to try to bring my best every day in the gym.

"With all the work I make in my training camp, I am going to the fight to win money.

"I am here for myself, not for any kind of bet.

"I am prepared for anything Manny can bring to this fight. He has a lot of things besides his speed and I am prepared for all he can show me at this time."

Pacquiao, (49-3-2, 37 KOs), is widely viewed as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world but Cotto believes the Filipino southpaw has picked the wrong opponent for his first bout in the welterweight division.

"Manny comes from a lower weight division and if he thinks he is going to have the same power as Miguel Cotto, he is thinking pretty wrong," the Puerto Rican said.

"He has picked the wrong moment and the wrong fighter. If he thinks he is going to win against Miguel Cotto, he is pretty wrong."

RENOWNED SPEED

Cotto, who retained his WBO title with a gruelling split decision win over Ghana's Joshua Clottey in June, was confident he would be able to cope with Pacquiao's renowned speed.

"We know he has speed and style and that is why you prepare yourself to beat him," he said. "You will find out on the 14th how I am going to deal with his speed and it is not going to be the factor that everyone thinks it is."

Pacquiao cemented his status as the sport's premier fighter with a stunning second round knockout of Britain's Ricky Hatton in May to claim the IBO light welterweight crown.

Since then, he and his trainer Freddie Roach have frequently discussed the possibility of a lucrative bout with undefeated American welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr, leaving many fans to regard the Cotto fight as a formality.

Cotto, however, was unfazed by suggestions he was being underappreciated by the Pacquiao camp.

"What they say and do doesn't concern me," the 29-year-old said.

"I know they know what they have in front of them. I know what I can do to him and he better be focused on what he is up against in Miguel Cotto.

"It's not really important what the boxing world wants to see or wants to do.

"Once I beat Manny Pacquiao on November 14, they continue their plans and do whatever they want but I am not going home without winning this fight."
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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