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Saturday, September 12, 2009

FIREPOWER: Pacquiao vs Cotto (FULL REPORT)

pacquiao vs cotto
Jerry Glick reporting: Top Rank knows how to put out a good product. Whether it be a fight or a press conference, they know what they’re doing. On Thursday, September 10, Bob Arum, Lee Samuel, and the rest of the promotional team invited the media and the public to the new Yankee Stadium to launch the five city tour to hype one of the best matchups in a while, “FIREPOWER”, WBO World Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto, 34-1 (27 KOs), of Puerto Rico facing the pound for pound king, Manny Pacquiao, 49-3-2 (37 KOs), from the Philippines in a twelve round title fight on November 14, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It will be broadcast, live, on HBO Pay-Per-View.

Not only was there glory from baseball at Yankee Stadium, but boxing has a history there as well. Back on June 22, 1938, Joe Louis fought what felt like at the time the first battle of WWII, when he gained revenge for his only, at the time, loss in a boxing ring when he stopped Max Schmeling in a round in the house that Ruth built. On June 26, 1959 unbeaten Ingemar Johansson shocked Floyd Patterson and the world as he scored seven knockdowns in the third round, finally halting Patterson in that round annexing the heavyweight title. Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, and others graced the grand old stadium with their skills. On Thursday, boxing was alive in the new stadium as it was used to announce the Cotto vs Pacquiao fight.

Also at stake will be the WBC Diamond Belt to be presented to the winner who will own the jeweled encrusted belt outright. On hand to show off the impressive hardware was Mauricio Sulaiman, the Executive Secretary of the WBC.

“The WBC realizing how momentous and important this fight is,” announced Arum. “Has commissioned what we call a diamond belt to be given to the winner of this fight to keep forever.”

The outdoor presser succeeded in spite of often high winds as we sat in, on, and behind the Yankee dugout along the first base line. As usual Arum took the helm and after explaining all the details of the event brought out the fighters, including New York’s, by way of Belarus, Junior-Middleweight challenger, undefeated Yuri Foreman, 27-0-0-1N/C (8 KOs), who fights veteran title holder Daniel Santos, 32-3-1 (23 KOs), for his WBA belt on the undercard.

Arum proclaimed the Cotto-Pacquiao a sure bet for fight of the year.

“We’re here in Yankee Stadium,” said the ever fired up Arum, “to kick off the first press conference for what will certainly be the fight of the year, and maybe the fight of the decade.”

Fact is he may be right. It’s true that is in his vested interest to say that, on paper, this is a war. Not the explosive kind where you are warned not to blink, but one that will be a sustained battle of super fighters.


I am not sure who the more confident person was; was it Pacman or his trainer Freddy Roach? Both acted as though the winner was a foregone conclusion. Pacquiao joked when he grabbed the Diamond belt, but I’m not so sure he didn’t mean it. Even their training has a super confident feel to it. Pacman has not really begun yet. “He started running a couple of days ago,” said the man who is the most respected trainer in boxing. “He’s getting in shape a little bit. We start camp on the 20th, which gives us an eight week training camp which is normal for Manny Pacquiao. Once we get to camp he’s like a machine, I have trouble slowing him down. He averages 44 rounds per day.”

Training camp will be in the Philippines, according to Roach.

As far as him taking Cotto lightly goes Roach assured me that that was not happening.

“Never,” he said emphatically. “He respects everybody.”

Roach called his man the greatest workhorse he’s ever seen. “He trains his ass off,” proclaimed Roach.

As far as planning a strategy they are preparing a game plan, of course, for Cotto. Freddy admitted that while there are things that they intend to take advantage of in the Puerto Rican’s style, “There are things that we have to look out for too,” explained Roach. “We can’t let this guy land that left hook. He has a great left hook.”

He has brought in sparing partners who can help Manny avoid that punch, “We’re going to be well prepared.”


There is something about Cotto that convinces one of his confidence, but it is a calm, relaxed sort of a business in his case. Not almost jovial as is Pacquiao, just a worry free posture.

He sounds ready mentally.

“I try to prepare myself enough to capitalize on every mistake that he makes in the ring,” said Cotto.

It’s true that he almost ran from the 140 pound class because of weight issues, but when I asked him about his agreement to a catch weight he assured me that it was not an issue.

“In my last fight I weighed 146,” he pointed out. “If I work another fifteen minutes, twenty minutes I can make this weight.”

Cotto believes that when it comes to comparing opponents and strength its advantage Cotto.

“De La Hoya was on his last steps in a ring,” said Cotto. “Pacquiao coming from 126 and he thinks he’s going to be stronger than I am.”

At the same time he respects the Pacman’s victories in the ring over De La Hoya, Eric Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Ricky Hatton. “I don’t think he is over rated,” added Cotto.

Speaking of ratings, Has little use for the pound for pound title. How important would it be for him to be considered the number one pound for pound fighter after beating the Pacman on November 14th? According to Cotto, not very much.

“I never fight for that,” said Cotto. “I just fight for my family. This is my work; I have four kids and one wife to support, and they come first. I’m here to do my best and everybody knows that the people who write about boxing they create a list who they made pound for pound. They can put Miguel Cotto in any position that they want.”

In speaking to Pacquiao it is clear that he relies on his speed. Cotto does not see that as an obstacle to victory.

“I am used to preparing myself for anything that can happen in the ring,” said Cotto. He is training in Tampa, Florida because of its proximity to his home in Puerto Rico. This, he feels will make it an easy and quick commute to home family or to fly them to Florida.

As far as the Pacman’s thoughts on the importance of speed, I asked him what he would say to Floyd Mayweather if he were asked to advise Floyd on how to beat Marquez.

“He would have to use his speed,” was the very sound advice from the man who knows. He said that his own advantage in a fight against Cotto is his speed.


Yuri Foreman told everyone an interesting tidbit; his name, Yuri, is interpreted from Hebrew to English as George. Yes, he is George Foreman!

Yankee COO Lonn Trost made reference to all the great events that happened in Yankee Stadium. I know that we refer to Madison Square Garden as though all of its events happened in the same arena when we all know that the one that we go to today is not the same venue where Joe Louis plied his trade decades ago, but somehow looking at the ghost of that house that Ruth built standing ominously, across the street, covered in protective netting not unlike a shroud, all that this reporter could think of is that the blood of Louis, Patterson, and Moore, the men Trost mentioned as having fought in his Stadium, spilled, not where we stood, but across the street.

Oh, the new Yankee Stadium is wonderful. It will have great things will happen there, but the history happened elsewhere.

On hand to watch the festivities were former Cotto foes Joshua Clottey and Paulie Malignaggi.

Both Cotto and Pacman were presented with Yankee Pinstripe shirts.

Source: secondsout.com

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