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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Steward sees tough Pacquiao-Cotto fight

ONE of boxing’s legendary trainers sees a tough fight between pound-for-pound king Manny ‘PacMan’ Pacquiao and World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Miguel Cotto.

In an interview with eastsideboxing.com, Emmanuel “Manny” Steward said it’s unfair to give the Filipino boxing icon a clear edge over Cotto when they square off on November 14 in Las Vegas.

While Cotto was not impressive in his last fight against challenger Joshua Clottey, Steward said the latter is actually a tough fighter who could have given welterweight legends Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard a rough time in the ring.

“Based on Miguel having such a tough fight there [against Clottey] and Manny looking like a million dollars knocking out Ricky Hatton and Oscar [dela Hoya], that’s why the odds are totally going out of proportion and I don’t think that’s a fair assessment. I see it [Pacquiao-Cotto] as almost a toss-up fight, myself,” Stewards was quoted as saying.

The legendary trainer said a lot of people are actually underestimating Cotto’s size advantage over the Filipino, explaining that the champion from Puerto Rico is a natural welterweight.

Steward also said Pacquiao is a natural junior lightweight or lightweight, which puts the Filipino boxing icon at a disadvantage over Cotto. The Puerto Rican has been listed at 5’7” while Pacquiao is 5’6”.

However, Pacquiao has won the admiration of Steward, who has trained legendary champions like junior welterweight Aaron Pryor and heavyweights Evander Holyfied and Lennox Lewis, and multi-weight titleholders Hearns and De La Hoya. He presently trains heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

“He [Pacquiao] has the instincts of a fighter, the balance, the timing, the stamina—everything—and it’s just natural. He’s a fighter! If anyone was ever born to be a fighter, it would be a guy like him or [Roberto] Duran, but he’s better because he has great rhythm, and his defense and timing are a lot better than people think,” he said.


Steward also said that Cotto has weaknesses in defense, which can cause trouble for the Puerto Rican.

“His defense right up the middle—he has absolutely no defense for that, because his gloves are so wide, and fighters can punch right between his gloves,” the legendary trainer said.

He said that if Pacquiao is able to penetrate Cotto’s defense and hit the Puerto Rican at will, the Filipino has a chance to win their showdown.

“I think he [Cotto] should not fight with his defense being the way it has been before,” Steward said.

The Pacquiao-Cotto fight has been pegged at a catch weight of 145 pounds, or two below the welterweight limit. Freddie Roach, the Filipino’s trainer, would not allow his fighter to battle Cotto at 147 pounds because the Puerto Rican would have a big weight and size advantage on fight night.

“Freddie knows that Manny is really not a true welterweight, and that’s why he’s [Freddie] trying to at least get some kind of equilibrium in those fights by making the opponents come down in weight as close to Manny as they can for balance,” Steward said.

Source: manilatimes.net

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