This Saturday, Nov. 14, Manny Pacquiao (49-3-2 with 37 KOs) will be facing his toughest
test to date, WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto (43-1
with 27 KOs). Judging from all the talk one would come to the conclusion that Miguel is facing his
toughest test to this date, being that he is actually the underdog in this
situation. Hard to believe, considering Cotto has passed every single test he
has faced, against fighters like Zab
Judah, Shane Mosley and Joshua Clottey just to name a few.
His only discrepancy was
against Antonio Margarito, in a fight where he was dealt a brutal beating causing his uncle
Evangelista Cotto to throw in the towel. Margarito looked like Godzilla, beating
an undefeated tough warrior in Miguel Cotto, making him quit, something that no
one had done previously. In Margarito's next fight he
faced Shane Mosley, an opponent that Cotto had a win over. It was learned in
that fight that Margarito's trainer had tried to spike his gloves with a
substance called "Plaster of Paris," a cement-like material that hardens when
wet. Margarito went on to win the fight by a stunning knockout and then him
and his trainer Capetillo had their license revoked for 2 years.
The truth had been exposed and Margarito no longer looked like the monster that had beaten
Going back to the Cotto fight one can't see how something like that could have
actually taken place. Cotto's face looked like it had been hit by a truck.
It was reminiscent of Louie Resto vs Billy Collins, a fight in which
padding was taken out of Resto's gloves prior to the bout. What's ironic is that
like Cotto, Billy Collins was also undefeated.
Since then Cotto has been going through a healing process. First against Michael
Jennings (5th round KO) and then against the always tough Joshua Clottey. In the
Clottey fight after scoring a first round knockdown he
again was faced with adversity, suffering a huge cut in the third round. Despite
his inability to see out of his left eye, Cotto fought on to score a split
decision win. Not too many people appreciated how bravely Cotto fought on despite
his vulnerability. Many fighters would have quit or tried to have the fight
go to the score cards and try to win a decision that way.
Manny Pacquiao, a southpaw who is fast on his hands and feet and throws
punches from all angles, is believed by most experts too good for his opponent
Miguel Cotto. After having a tough fight with Juan Manuel Marquez at 130 lbs,
Manny has gone up in weight with much success, knocking out all three opponents
David Diaz (135 lbs.), Oscar de la Hoya (147 lbs.), Ricky Hatton (140 lbs.) in
spectacular fashion, and with those wins he has gained a huge following. Manny looks
unbeatable, even though he has suffered two knockout losses early in his career,
and a third and last loss to "El Terrible" Erik Morales in their first fight.
Pacquiao went on to avenge the loss with two knockout victories over Morales. Pacquiao's two
fights with Marquez, which ended up a draw and a split decision win over Marquez,
were his toughest bouts to date. Some felt that Manny actually lost that fight.
If you took away the knockdowns in both fights Marquez would have definitely won
Cotto pointed that out in their recent New York press conference, adding that he
is not Oscar de la Hoya,
or Ricky Hatton and he is right. Cotto may not possess Pacquiao's
hand speed but he brings a lot more to the table. Cotto is still in his
prime, a very durable opponent with the ability to adjust when faced with
adversity. Freddie Roach and the rest of the Pacquiao team are banking that the Margarito
fiasco took something out of Cotto, but in his fight against Clottey he showed the
desire and will to win. Miguel has experienced victories against bigger and tougher
opponents. The converted southpaw leads with his strong arm, with a powerful
left jab that put Clottey and Alfonso Gomez down. Cotto's ability to box
and brawl was also on display when he faced Sugar Shane Mosley.
There is a reason why there is a 145 lbs. catch weight. Roach knows that his pupil
is probably too small to face some of the bigger welterweights at the elite
level. They would rather try to give Manny the advantage point by fighting at
a weight that's comfortable for Manny, while making his opponent sacrifice weight
in exchange. If Roach were truly confident, he would not have taken this fight at
a catch weight, they would have challenged Miguel at the welterweight
limit. Pacquiao is also given the chance to fight for the WBO welterweight title despite
the catch weight issue. If he wins, he would be considered the WBO welterweight champ
and would have broken the record with 7 world titles, without touching the
welterweight division. That would be like David Haye, who scored a victory
against Nikolai Valuev this past Saturday
night, winning the heavyweight championship of the world and
fighting at a catch weight 198 lbs., which is under the heavyweight
limit. Should he be considered a heavyweight champion?
I believe that the choice to train in the Philippines, against his trainer's
decision, may hurt Manny. Roach's original choice of training in Mexico was
scrapped, a choice that may hurt Manny due to all of the distractions of
training in the Philippines with all the rain from the typhoons and politicians
stopping by to talk to the Filipino superstar. (I've also noticed a lot of guest
appearances). Another factor is Miguel's early start which may have
contributed to making weight and shows how serious he is
about this fight.
Miguel not being viewed as a
viable opponent is a disrespect. Arum has blatantly expressed who he wants to
win in this fight. There have also been talks of Manny versus Floyd sometime in
2010. Roach has expressed knockout either in the first or in the later rounds.
It’s a bold prediction because Cotto may have tasted the canvas at 140 lbs. but
since moving to the welterweight division he has not been dropped, Except for
quitting under the pressure from the beating at the hands of Margarito, Miguel
has had to accept certain things swayed to appease Pacquiao and Freddie Roach.
Winning is probably the only thing on Cotto's mind, ready to silence the critics and
prove why he should never be counted out despite a loss.