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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cotto fight my toughest test, says Pacquiao

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) — Manny Pacquiao, widely viewed as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, is primed for his biggest test when he challenges Miguel Cotto for the WBO welterweight title in November.

Although Filipino Pacquiao holds a significant speed advantage over the Puerto Rican, he has great respect for Cotto's punching power, strength and intelligence.

''This will be my toughest test as a professional boxer,'' Pacquiao, 30, told a news conference at a Beverly Hills hotel on Monday to promote the big-money clash.

''I know he is an excellent, smart fighter and a great world champion.

''We also know that he is good in body punching and that he's strong so we have to study that, how to counter it and fight that in the ring.

''We also need to use our own advantage over Cotto,'' added the southpaw, who cemented his status as the sport's premier fighter with a stunning second round knockout of Britain's Ricky Hatton in May to claim the IBO light welterweight crown.

''Everybody knows that I am faster than Cotto so how can I use that speed in the fight? I will do my best in this fight to capture my seventh title belt.''

Pacquiao has a glittering career record of 49-3-2 featuring 37 knockouts, but his trainer Freddie Roach predicted the November 14 bout in Las Vegas would go the full distance.

''It's going to be a much more tactical fight than people think because he (Cotto) is a very smart fighter,'' Roach said.

''It's who can implement their game plan and use it to the fullest advantage.

''I think this is going to be a 12-round fight, no knockout.

This guy (Cotto) is very resilient. If a knockout comes, it comes but if you go out there looking for a knockout, you might get caught yourself. We have to be very tactical.''

Cotto, who retained his WBO title with a gruelling split decision win over Ghana's Joshua Clottey in June, felt his own renowned defence would more than match Pacquiao's speed.

''When you have good defence, you can stop speed,'' said the 28-year-old, 34-1 with 27 KOs.

''I don't know if he (Pacquiao) is ready to be beaten but I am in my prime of my career. I'm going to use every kind of tool I have in my repertoire.

''He has fought a lot of tough fighters but never one like this,'' added Cotto, who has held a world title in every year since 2004.

''The world will know who the best is when we meet in the ring in November.''

Pacquiao, a winner of six world titles in as many different weight divisions ranging from 112 to 140 pounds, is being tipped by boxing pundits as the favorite to win.

Source: reuters.com

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