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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pacquiao vs. Cotto: Greatness in class

As the proposed Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto mega-fight inch closer to becoming a reality, and while Top Rank boss Bob Arum finalizes all the fine print and small intricacies to get the bout signed, sealed and delivered, I wanted to share my thoughts on why I think this bout was made in Boxing heaven.

We already know that Pacquiao and Cotto are two of the best fighters in this era so I’ll avoid restating the obvious. The thing I really like about this fight is that this will be a clash of not only two of the best boxers in the world, but also two of the classiest competitors as well.
I’m all for hyping up a fight and fighters strutting their stuff, talking a bit of smack here and there- that’s fine. It does add excitement to fights and help sell tickets, but there’s something about great athletes who show humble confidence that I can’t help but respect and admire. Think about Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and John Stockton. I’m talking about great athletes who let their games speak louder than their words. Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto fit in that mold.

There’s an old Chinese saying that “silent water runs deep” and it just makes sense that a person who is truly confident of his abilities need not waste their time trying to verbally convince people how great they are. The proof is in the pudding. Actions speak louder than words.

Cotto and Pacquiao have both been respectful towards each other thus far in their careers. Before his fight against Clottey last weekend, Cotto had some good words to say about Pacquiao saying that the Filipino fighter deserves everything he has achieved in his career and eluded that Pacquiao was indeed the best Pound-for-Pound fighter in the world. Pacquiao, who was in attendance to watch the fight was surprisingly greeted with a nice ovation by predominantly Puerto Rican crowd at The Gard. Cotto went as far as saying that a fight with Pacquiao would be “the biggest fight in his career”.

While would be challengers continue to taunt, flatter and disrespect Pacquiao in an effort to get the Pacman’s attention and maybe land a big payday with the sport’s cash cow, (Forbes ranked Pacquiao the #6 highest paid athlete tied with LeBron James and ahead of any boxer for 2008) Cotto remained focused on the task at hand but remained open to a the possibility of a Pacquiao clash. Without saying a word and letting his fists dictate his destiny, Cotto is now the frontrunner to a mega-fight with Pacquiao and deservedly so. While Mayweather insults Pacquiao and while the Golden Boy crew still desperately try to find an angle to lure Pacquiao to fight “Sugar” Shane Mosley, it’s Cotto who looks likely to be given the opportunity to dethrone the sport’s best fighter.

Not saying that Cotto’s affiliation with Top Rank has nothing to do with it, but at the end of the day it’s Pacquiao who chooses his opponents. I guess Golden Boy hasn’t learned much from their previous tactics of trying to get a fight with Pacquiao that a way to a Pacquiao fight is not through hype and media. Just ask Juan Manuel Marquez. Not contented? Juan Diaz was a young and undefeated lightweight champion when he started calling Pacquiao out, daring the Filipino to fight a young Mexican champion and criticizing his victories over the Mexican legends saying he fought over the hill fighters. Two losses after, where is Juan Diaz now in reference to Manny Pacquiao?
Pacquiao is great because he aims to achieve great things. That’s the same reason why he is on a quest to be the next president of the Philippines. The manner he has done it though is a road less travelled. He is soft-spoken and humble, but has proven that good guys can finish first. To that extent, Pacquiao respects people who show the same class as he does. After demolishing the then WBC light weight champion David Diaz last year, Pacquiao has become great friends with David and even had David as a guest of honor in his last birthday celebration.

With all that said, I’m pleased to see Pacquiao and Cotto fight because I know I will be seeing a fight between two grown men and not a bunch of spoiled athletes acting like a bunch of middle school kids. It won’t be hype like a lot of these big mega-fights have been. These are two fighters that will engage and do their best to earn the right for their hand to be raised at the end of the night. As a fight fan, all I want is to see that regardless of who wins, I can stand up, tip my hat to both fighters for giving it their all as in the case of Cotto and PAcquiao . Last time I checked, none of the trash-talk Floyd Mayweather Sr. said against Pacquiao did anything to stop Ricky Hatton from kissing the canvas. The press conferences may very well be boring, but the true action can only happen in one place anyway- and that’s inside the ring.

Source: examiner.com

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