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Early Analysis of Pacquiao-Cotto

Manny Pacquiao Miguel CottoBy Roy Closa: Miguel Cotto is undisputedly a true welterweight while Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is a fast, versatile LWW. This fight is about power against speed. For Cotto, his bigger physique means power, more than anybody else that Pacquiao has fought before. Pacquiao has the hand speed and footwork advantage.

This fight is also about style. Though much more agile than CWs and HWs, most welterweight pugilists are not noted tactical genius (the few exceptions include Sugar’s Ray Robinson and Ray Leonard, and perhaps Mosley). Cotto is such WW; his fighting style has not changed over time. He don’t see it necessary, especially with victory in 34 of 35 fights. That sole Margarito defeat may have rocked his confidence level but not the way he fights.

Pacquiao is continually transforming, adapting and developing new skills for each foe. Up to the first Pacquiao-Marquez duel, he was a one-dimensional southpaw. Despite knocking down Marquez thrice in the first round, he could not finish Marquez as he injured his left hand. After this fight, he slowly developed the power in his right hand, and Hatton absorbed those powers in round 1 last May. His defense before was also poor, e.g., Pacquiao-Morales I, where Pacquiao was forced to the ropes as he could not mount an offense due to massive blood flowing from an eye cut. (I have reviewed this fight several times and I see it coming from an accidental head butt wrongly ruled by the ref as a punch). He has worked hard on his defense since then, leveraging on footwork and head movement, and this was evident in Diaz and De La Hoya fights.

So, who between the left-handers Pacquiao and Cotto?

The fight won’t be short, at least not like the 5-minute Pacquiao-Hatton. Cotto will throw big power punches early in the fight, mostly landing into thin air or Pacquiao’s arms. One solid hit, though, can spell doomsday for Pacquiao. Pacquiao will counter with his speed, but with less power, and try to confuse Cotto with his agile footwork. Cotto’s granite chin won’t easily bulge, though his eye is suspect.

With both fighters having almost 80% KO record, a knockout is very likely. Cotto has 22 of his 27 KOs within 7 rounds. If the fight don’t last more than halfway, it’s gonna be by Cotto. Past halfway, Cotto usually get tired (ex. Margarito, Clottey fights), and just dance around the ring to hang on.

Based on their last 3 fights, Pacquiao is definitely too fast for Cotto. Pacquiao can beat Cotto to the punch, and move quickly before Cotto could counter. I think Pacquiao will target Cotto’s wide body, then to the head. Accumulated beatings, ala Diaz or De La Hoya, will eventually tax Cotto’s resistance. Cotto’s stamina on late rounds is questionable. A Pacman KO between 8th and 9th.

Cotto is a ring warrior but could play rough. In his last fight, he judoed Clottey in round 5, hit him at the back in round 11, and threw low blows. He was neither penalized nor warned! In Judah fight, he got a point deduction for two low blows. I hope he fights clean here.

In a remote possibility, the fight could also go the distance. Pacquiao is noted as having the capability to maintain his speed and strength throughout the fight. If the fight goes to the scorecards, it’s to Pacquiao’s favour.

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