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Pacquiao’s “Manila Ice” will Cool Cotto

Manny Pacquiao Miguel CottoBy Giancarlo Malinconico: Although there is some rambling about Pacquiao’s alleged hesitation to sign the contract to face Cotto on November 14, 2009, the show will go on as scheduled. After briefly analyzing this match-up and reviewing a lot of video of both fighters. One thing stands out: Pacquiao is a different fighter since moving up to 135 pounds.

He has tremendously enhanced his footwork. But before Pacquaio become the complete package there was another weapon he was developing long before the move to lightweight: a right hook. Ironically, the right hook or “Manila Ice” was originally developed for the first Erik Morales fight in which it was not very effective. But fight after fight “Manila Ice” has become the perfect complement to Pacman’s deadly straight left hand.

I mentioned I was watching a lot of film. I came across the Cotto/Corley fight. Corley visibly stuns Cotto with a sneaky right hook early in the contest. Pacquiao’s right hook is superior to Corley’s; it is quicker and more powerful. Furthermore, Cotto is an aggressive boxer early, and may try to test Pacquiao’s body since there is still suspicion that it is the Pacman’s weakness. Cotto is known to be a vicious body puncher as we saw with his match against Quintana. That will be the Cotto game plan: hurt Manny to the body. The only problem with this strategy: Freddie Roach will be expecting it. Manny has spent years working on his body since the early portion of his boxing career, and I believe that his early trouble with body shots had to do with fighting at very low weights in the first place. But that being said, Cotto will attempt to attack the body of Pacquiao, but the problem is he will be vulnerable in doing so because he must drop his hands to go to the body, particularly trying to land that left hook downstairs. When Cotto lowers his hands to attack the body, he drops his guard that protects him from right hand counters. And that’s where “Manila Ice” comes into play.

I expect Manny to catch Cotto coming in, load up on big right hooks, and possibly hurt Cotto similar to the way we’ve seen him hurt in the past. If Cotto is hurt, he will not survive for two reasons: one, he does not know how to clinch when he’s hurt, and two, Manny’s hand speed will not allow Cotto to see the punches coming when he is backing up. Cotto tends to backup when he’s hurt instead of clinching, and the Pacman is at his best when he has his opponent backtracking. Manny’s hand speed and foot speed will be too much for Cotto, and he will repeatedly pulverize Miguel with that “Manila Ice” every time he comes in trying to land something. Cotto must use his left hand to be effective, and Roach knows it. Expect Pacquiao to unload that right hook and dip under Cotto’s left-hand attacks all night long. Southpaws are said to have an advantage neutralizing the left hands of orthodox fighters. But Judah, Quintana, and Corley (apart from one punch in the fight) did not have the constant right hook power to give Miguel something to worry about and keep his left hand in the holster. Because Cotto is overly dependent on his left hand, “Manila Ice” will be a huge factor in this match.

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