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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top 5 advantages: Cotto vs. Pacquiao

November 14 is three months away. And the buzz is already here. We assess the advantages each fighter has over the other.

TOP 5 ADVATNAGES: MIGUEL COTTO [34 wins, 1 loss]

1. Manny Pacquiao is shooting movies, tv shows, and commercials. Miguel Cotto has been in training for nearly a week, three months in advance of the November 14 showdown. (It is important to note, however, that the Puerto Rican is no longer working with his regular trainer.)

Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach anticipates an eight-week regimen for the Filipino to be conducted after the promotional roadshow. The added training should boost Cotto's stamina.

How much will the extra training tip the balance of power between these two fighters?
Welterweight Profile: Miguel Angel Cotto

2. Cotto has fought, and beaten, bigger (as well as fast) opponents.
Antonio Margarito stood at 5'11" with a 73" reach, compared to Manny's 67" reach. Granted, Cotto lost at the hands of what now appears to be suspect gloves of Margarito.

Shane Mosley, Carlos Quintana, Joshua Clottey, Zab Jjudah, Ricardo Torres. These were all impressive conquests by the Puerto Rican. Cotto out-boxed the speedy and powerful Mosley, and outclassed the quick Judah.

3. Pacquiao is training outside of the U.S. for at least half of his training regimen. Due to taxation rules in the United States, it appears Manny will have to temporarily set up quarters in Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, or possibly the Philippines, in order to train against Cotto. The Filipino is superstitious and typically prefers the same routine prior to a fight. Water and air quality differs by country. The food intake can also provide a variation in diet. (Mango in Mexico is vastly different fro from mango in the Philippines.) Weather and dietary differences can provide for adjustments. The Pacific Northwest and Vancouver, Canada, for instance, is famous for its constant rain and inclement weather. Could this induce cold and flu symptoms?

4. Size. While Cotto is at best only an inch taller than Manny, the Puerto Rican will enter the ring approaching 160 lbs., a middleweight size. Thomas Hearns, the taller, lanky fighter with legendary power fought many of his battles at welterweight, but then faced Marvin Hagler who fought at a more comfortable, bigger weight. A smaller fighter with explosive fighter can find out that the bigger opponent is used to that kind of power. Manny will enter the ring closer to 149 lbs. Cotto has gone face to face with the likes of Antonio Margarito, who could fight at junior middleweight or middleweight if he wanted to.

Has Cotto's wars with Margarito and Mosley prepared him - and hardened his chin - for his super fight with Pacquiao?

5. Ability to trap and corner his opponent. The Joshua Clottey and Zab Judah fight reveals Cotto's brilliant ability, skill, and power to constantly pressure his foe, and force his opponent into the ropes or with his opponent's back against the corner. Cotto unloads power combinations when he successfully traps his opponent, and the Puerto Rican has the footwork to effectively cut off the ring. Even when Clottey blocked Cotto's relentless barrage, he became noticeably worn down.

Can Manny escape Cotto's pressure and trap? Will Cotto's power eventually wear down the Pacman?

TOP 5 ADVATNAGES: MANNY PACQUIAO [49 wins, 3 losses, 2 draws]

1. History is on the line. Motivation. He is not called "The People's Champ" for nothing. Pacquiao will be fighting for his country again, and attempt to do what no one in the history of boxing has ever done. Call him Lance Armstrong or Michael Jordan. Along with Manny, only Oscar "The Golden Boy" de la Hoya has won six titles in six different weight classes. A win over Cotto will make Pacquiao the only fighter in history to win an unprecedented seven belts in seven weight classes.
Let's get a better sense of what that means, given the fighters we have today or recently.

Let's apply a so-called "Pacquiao Standard." For all the talent that a Shane Mosley or Floyd Mayweather, Jr. bring to the table, we do not see them fighting a big Paul Williams at junior middleweight. Similarly, we won't see a Paul Williams - as talented and big as he is - fighting a Bernard Hopkins at light heavyweight. As great as he was, you did not see a prime Roy Jones, Jr. fight a 5'11" Mike Tyson.
The point is, Manny is raising the bar. Like no one before has ever done - in terms of weight climbing and mauling the big boys. Here's a 5th grader who's been beating up 6th graders, 7th graders, and now 8th graders in de la Hoya and Ricky Hatton. Now that 5th grader is trying to maul a high school freshman in Cotto. People say, that's one bad-ass 5th grader. Don't mess with him!

Early Fight Analysis: Miguel Cotto vs. Manny Pacquiao

2. Faster hands. This everyone knows. Both throw combinations. Cotto's combos are heavier. Manny's combos are quicker. Additionally, I attribute Manny and Cotto to be on par in terms of footwork. The Puerto Rican is an effective footwork tactician in the ring and understands spacing and cornering.

Speed or power?

3. Cotto's historically open defense. This makes the Puerto Rican susceptible to straight lefts. However, this may not be as important factor in the fight as Pacman fans would readily assume. Cotto will be working on tightening up his defense. Specifically, his gloves can be close together, protecting his cheeks and temples, while his elbows tend to be spread apart. That forms a triangular shape that makes Cotto vulnerable to a quick jab from the shorter Pacquiao, similar to what happened to de la Hoya last December 6. Cotto has to tighten up that opening or he'll be eating straight lefts. Worse for him, Roach might concoct a nasty "upper cut cocktail special" for Cotto to drink all night, and get drunk to.

Straight left or upper cut?

4. Venue. Manny will have his legions in Las Vegas. Cotto enjoys a home court advantage in New York. This fight is at the MGM Grand. Chants of Manny, Manny, Manny!!! will be ringing in people's ears before and during the fight. Pacman will raise his gloves signaling the start of the war.

5. Stamina. Pacquiao should only hold a slight edge here come fight night. Cotto tends to slow down later in the rounds, a reflection of the energy he expends on his power punches during the beginning and toward the middle of a fight. Manny, on the other hand, is one of the most conditioned fighters in the sport - along with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Shane Mosley. Surely that is why Cotto is starting camp 3 months early. Cotto should, to an extent, negate most of this advantage

Source: examiner.com

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