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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cotto: Fighting Manny Pacquiao is the pinnacle of my career

Manny Pacquiao needs to fight more often. Just my view.

Without a mark on him from his May 2 contest against Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao could have fought this summer, arguably in July or August.

Shane Mosley is a formidable opponent, but he was never really the right opponent. What would it have proved. Even before the discussions began, I always felt the skills of Pacquiao, if they are to be tested fully, would have been better measured against Miguel Cotto.

At welterweight, not light-welterweight, that is, though I understand the fight is being discussed as a catchweight contest. Pacquiao should go the whole hog and fight the Puerto Rican at 147lbs. He has it in him.

We are told by promoter Bob Arum that Nov 14 MGM Grand Garden Arena is on the cards; it could be the greatest defining moment yet for Pacquiao in his golden career. If he can defeat Cotto at welterweight, there can be no talk of victories over a potentially weight-drained Oscar De La Hoya, or a troubled Ricky Hatton.

Cotto makes no bones about it. He already believes it is “the greatest fight of my career”. Cotto knows that he will be properly tested by Pacquiao, and it promises to be one of the best fights this year, if it can be finalised.

There is also a nagging itch for another Pacquiao-Marquez fight. Over-egging it ? Not for a minute. They are both at their supreme best, and let’s see if Pacquiao can ‘box’ Marquez in a final, third, encounter…

There is a gathering school of thought that Pacquiao’s inclinations towards politics is a waste of time, and that now, in his prime as a fighter, he might consolidate his immense popularity within the thing he does best: out-thinking and out punching opponents in the ring, thrilling millions worldwide.

Every boxing fan, and indeed casual sports fan I have come across in the UK since that devastating, one-sided victory over Hatton, has a deep respect for the physical, sporting skills of the Filipino icon.

I’m still amazed by his incredible popularity. He received 21,391,818, and came twenty-second in Time Magazine’s online pole of the most influential people in the world in 2009. He received more votes than anyone else in the top 100. And only one sportsman was ahead of Pacquiao. Kobe Bryant, in ninth place.

Source: telegraph.co.uk

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