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Pacquiao’s Lack of Focus Not an Issue; Cotto’s Focus Is

Manny Pacquiao Miguel CottoBy David Berry: If you’ve been scanning Manny Pacquiao headlines as of late, you’re likely convinced that the pound-for-pound champ is on a train track that’s scheduled to derail on November 14 against Miguel Cotto. A lack of focus, a lack of commitment to training, and a rift with his trainer and confidante, Freddie Roach, and perhaps an alien abduction, have all been cited as causes for concern. But read with caution.

Pacquiao’s fight preparation has always involved eight weeks of training, putting him right on schedule for his bout with Cotto. And just ask David Diaz, Oscar de La Hoya and Ricky Hatton for proof that eight weeks is more than adequate.

But there is still a major cause for concern, and that concern has nothing to do with what’s happening, or not happening, in Pacquiao’s camp. It’s what is happening in Cotto’s camp.

Let’s rewind to late July, just six weeks ago. Freddie Roach was his usual confident self when speaking about Pacquiao’s chances against Cotto. “I don’t have anything bad to say about Cotto. I believe that he is an excellent athlete who is always well prepared for his fights, but I trust in the abilities of Manny and I believe that we are going to knock Cotto out,” Roach said.

Now 10 weeks from the fight, Roach is feeling a little less bold in his proclamations. In an interview with David Tyler of Doghouse Boxing on September 1, Roach said: “You know that I’ve been making a lot of predictions lately, and I will give you one for sure; this fight will go the distance.”

Why the change in tune?

When Cotto’s chief conditioning coach, Phil Landman, showed up to camp, he marveled at the fighter’s early progress. “Miguel looks strong, happy and very motivated,” said Landman. “It’s not like Miguel has lacked any motivation in the past. It’s just that I see something different (in him)…It’s an important fight and he’s taking things seriously. Mentally, Miguel looks ready for the long work that awaits him,” Landman told Puerto Rican newspaper Primera Hora.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Roach isn’t just concerned with nailing down Pacquiao’s training plans – he’s also acutely aware of the preparation that Pacquiao’s opponent has already begun. “Cotto knows this is his biggest fight from a promotional sense. He also knows that he can erase the memory of Margarito with a victory over Manny,” said Roach. “He has already started training because he is taking this fight very, very, seriously more than any fight he has ever had.”

“Anyone who thinks this fight is easy is a fool. He’s going to be at his best,” said Roach.

What does this mean for fight fans? Embrace the fact that this fight is shaping up to be far more explosive and entertaining than we may have originally thought. Rest assured that Pacquiao, despite Roach’s concerns, is indeed right on schedule to begin training. To believe that Pacquiao won’t be focused in his preparation for Cotto is foolish. He’s beaten 10 consecutive opponents now, many in brutal fashion. And until his training schedule is indeed off track, there is no reason to believe that Pacquiao won’t be at his absolute best come November.

The equalizer in all of this, though, is Cotto. A focused, determined Cotto conjures up images of the fighter who seemed virtually unstoppable after his victory over Shane Mosley in 2007. And if that is indeed the same Cotto that we can expect to see against Pacquiao, then fight fans are in for a real treat.

This fight is already a candidate for the largest grossing pay per view fight of the year. When it’s all said and done, though, don’t be surprised if it has the label of Fight of the Year to go with it.

Questions? Comments? E-Mail David Berry at, and visit

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