Cotto vs. Pacquiao: Is Miguel a Knockout Waiting to Happen?
By Dave Lahr: It’s only been a little over a year since WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto (34-1, 27 KO’s) suffered a ferocious beating at the hands of Antonio Margarito, but the damage that was inflicted upon Cotto appears to have changed him as a fighter. You could see it in Cotto’s recent 12-round split decision win over Joshua Clottey on June 13th, in which Cotto looked as if he was about to give up in the 9th round while taking punishment from Clottey.
You can try to blame Cotto’s worried and confused look all you want on his big cut over his left eye, but it looked to me that Cotto was ready to quit while taking fire. I saw the same look in Cotto’s eyes in the 11th round against Margarito where Cotto took a knee on two separate occasions to escape punishment.
Although Cotto’s face was a bloody mess from the big shots that Margarito had been hitting him with in the 10th and 11th rounds, the fact of the matter is that Cotto took the knees to escape further punishment. I don’t blame Cotto for getting out when he did, because he was dog tired at that point in the fight and taking terrible punishment from Margarito.
However, the look that was on Cotto’s face – a look of resignation and defeat – was the same look that Cotto has in his fight against Clottey in the 9th and 10th rounds. The only difference is that Clottey didn’t have the ability to finish Cotto when he appeared ready for the taking.
There’s no shame in Cotto’s loss to Margarito, because Miguel gave it all he had but just wore out under the bombs that Margarito was throwing at him in the 11th. Some of it was fatigue, no doubt, because Cotto elected to move continuously in every round. Cotto had never done that in any of his previous fights, at least he had never moved like that for more than a round or two before reverting back to his old style of brawling.
The win in Cotto’s next fight, a 5th round stoppage of Michael Jennings, said little about whether Cotto still could absorb punishment. Jennings ran almost the entire five rounds to avoid getting hit by Cotto, and never threw a meaningful punch in the short time that he had in the bout.
It wasn’t until Cotto fought Clottey that boxing writers and fans alike got the chance to see what Cotto had left. And from the looks of it, Cotto doesn’t look like he has it anymore. Cotto looks like his ability to take punishment has degraded since the Margarito fight. Cotto’s offense appears to be as good as ever, though.
But unless he is able to take Manny Pacquiao out by the 5th or 6th rounds, Cotto may end up getting stopped. Another problem that Cotto has is that he was cut badly over his left eye in the Clottey fight. Five months may not be enough time for the cut to heal properly and it could open up once Pacquiao starts making steady contact to that eye.
If Cotto has to fight Pacquiao with only one eye, you might as well kiss goodbye Cotto’s chances of winning, because he’ll have problems enough trying to track the speedy punches that Pacquiao is throwing at him. With one eye, Cotto will have to get desperate and try to knock Pacquiao out before he himself gets taken out.
In that case, I can see the same scenario that Ricky Hatton went through in his fight with Pacquiao. Cotto will try to throw a big home run punch and will end up getting clipped by a powerful right hook and dropped.