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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cotto Looks 'Strong' in Sparring Sessions

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TAMPA, Fla. -- A banner high on a distant wall of The Fight Factory Gym depicts Miguel Cotto throwing a jab just above the head of Manny Pacquiao, a bull's-eye over his face.

"On Nov. 14, the world will witness who will be the new king of the ring," read the words on the large poster, beneath which the live version of Cotto is involved in a spirited sparring session with talented southpaw Fred Tukes of Atlanta, with trainer Joe Santiago also in the ring.

"We're a team and we're behind Miguel every single minute, thinking about the fight in Tampa. We have no distractions. Our focus is Manny Pacquiao and that's our target," Santiago said Wednesday.

Santiago said that the 28-year-old Cotto (34-1, 27 knockouts) has been "tirelessly" toiling in Florida for Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs), against whom he'll defend his WBO welterweight (147 pounds) title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"We did four weeks in [Cotto's native] Puerto Rico, and we'll accomplish eight weeks outside of Puerto Rico -- six in Tampa and two more in Las Vegas, starting on Nov. 1," said Santiago. "We wake up early in the morning to train in the morning workout, and we go to the gym because Manny Pacquiao is our No. 1 target."

In the ring, Cotto's eyes were fixed firmly upon Tukes, whom he pursued from behind a rapier-like jab during the first of three, three-minute rounds with 30 seconds rest in-between.

"I'm working on everything -- my distance, how to take the control of every round," said Cotto. "I have a plan A, plan B, and I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to have any problems the night of the fight."

pacquiao vs cotto

Wearing blue head gear and white gloves, in contrast to Tukes' red head gear and red gloves, Cotto pursued his rival like an animal tracking prey.

"[Santiago] said that he needed for me to give Miguel a lot of movement, try to make him miss and to throw straight left hands at him. I was trying to emulate Pacquiao as much as possible. I think I did a pretty good job ," said Tukes, a muscular, 35-year-old southpaw with a professional record of 8-1-1 that includes five knockouts.

At one point, Cotto trapped Tukes in a neutral corner and fired away. Tukes acknowledged that he "felt every punch."

"If Miguel gets Pacquiao on the ropes, I think that Miguel's body shots are going to be significant," said Tukes. "That overhand left and his straight right hand and his hook that he throws off of the jab -- he's a lot faster than people think that he is."

His rotation complete, Tukes was replaced by a fresher, more youthful Kenny Abril, a gifted 25-year-old brawler-boxer from Rochester, N.Y.

"We both give different looks: Kenny has a lot of head movement, throws good combinations and has pretty fast hands," said Tukes. "And Kenny's a bit more in-your-face, straight up, one-two, spin around, that sort of thing."

As Abril came forward, Cotto again used his jab, only this time to blast his opponent from a distance. Cotto often sent volleys as he circled to the left or to the right.

"Cotto can be a boxer-puncher and switch up virtually at will. Shane Mosley, for example, when he trained for Cotto, he trained for a brawler moreso than a boxer," said Tukes, referring to Cotto's November, 2007, decision over the former world champion from Los Angeles.

"But when Miguel switched it up on him in the later rounds and went into boxing mode," said Tukes, "Shane was like, 'Oh, damn, I didn't train for this.' "

When his three-round session had run its course, Abril offered a similar impression, calling Cotto "just too strong."

"Today, Miguel caught me with a body shot and just recently, the other day, with a nice hook to the head when I went to spin off," said Abril. "Every time I move, his punches are right on point. I move to the left or move to the right, he's always there timing me beautifully."

Abril wore a white head gear and black gloves.

"But Pacquiao won't be wearing protective head gear, so if Miguel catches him like he did me on those days, he's a goner. Pacquiao will be going home early -- straight back to the Philippines. I mean, he'll be out of it," said Abril. "Miguel's really sharp and strong with the body shots -- an amazing fighter."

Abril was similarly effusive concerning Cotto's roadwork.

"He's an amazing runner, which I know because we wake up every morning with him and run with him," said Abril. "He's nonstop. I'm always gasping for air trying to keep up."

When he wasn't sparring, Cotto was being followed around by his promoter, Bob Arum, legendary trainer, Angelo Dundee, or the cameras of HBO's 24/7 series.

Also Watching the sparring from ringside was Miguel Sr., who is among his son's most ardent critics. Yet even the father had to give Miguel Jr. his props.

"I've been telling Miguel what kind of punches he needed to throw, what kind of movement we needed to do, and I was very happy with his progress today -- much better than the last session," said Miguel Sr., a short man with peppered hair.

"Mentally, Miguel's very strong. He's always been there. But that's why he's successful. But on Nov. 14, he'll be much more mentally strong than Pacquiao, and that will be the ultimate in giving my son the advantage."




  2. Lets see if he can handle the speed faster hands does more damage then big heavy hands. Cotto will play dirty like what he did to Judah. Judah is fast so Cotto hit him in the balls 5 times go watch that fight the ref did not even took point cough hmm joe cortez is also puerto rican hmm.. smells funny hope he does not ref the fight.

  3. Easier said than done......Cotto is in for a very big surprise. His sparring partners are patsies. Manny Pacquiao is sparring with an undefeated middle weight and a former World champion. I wouldn't be surprised if Cotto goes to sleep a la Ricky Hatton....

  4. Pacquiao is gonna get his block knocked off.You Pacquiao jock riders aren't gonna say shit after the fight.And for the moron who mentioned Joe Cortez,hmm cough,he wasn't the ref in the Judah fight you idiot.And yes ,Cotto hit Judah with some accidental low blows but it wasn't five,it was three.And that was not the reason he got knocked out.You people chewing Pacquiao's jock should do more research....CHUMPS!!!!

  5. alpha phan, you are the idiot one. he didnt say cortez was the ref in the cotto-judah fight. he was just saying cortez is a puerto rican ref so to prevent bias, he should not be the ref in this fight. so i hope you're not that dumb to understand that. you keep on posting stupid and non-sense comments on this site.

  6. You say I post non-sense comments.Why?Because I'm a realist boxing fan and not a Pacquiao cock rider like most of you on this site....CHUMPS!!!

  7. see? what you just posted is non-sense which makes us think how small your brain is. Isn't your skull too big for you brain? I mean...man...if someone knocks on it, he will surely hear an echoing sound.

    What you need to do right now is think of a good alibi so after the fight, you have something to say why cotto lost the fight. that's what every losers do. that's what they do since pacquiao-barrera 1.

  8. Ha Ha Ha!!All you ballut suckers sound the same.What will be YOUR alibi,dumbass.When your boy gets dropped?...CHUMPS!!!

  9. we don't need any alibis dude. pacquiao will win anyway so why waste time?
    I bet half balut egg is still larger than your brain. Your brain is such a waste man. better seek brain enlargement surgery, if there is one.
    by the way, someone said he prepared an ER for cotto. he shouldve prepared a grave for you too. tsk!

  10. Yeah, o.k. pal.Pacquiao won't be able to handle Cotto.His overrated reign is over,just GET OVER IT.Cotto by knock out!...CHUMP!!!

  11. we'll see...for us even if pacquiao losses we don't need allibies, we'll whole heartedly accept that he lost to a great fighter like cotto...

    but for chumps like you guys for sure an allibi will come out when cotto losses

    "he whacked his weight management, bla bla bla...." "overrated as well bla bla bla..."

    we'll see...

    just remember this its an honor for pinoys that pac is facing cotto right now...whether he wins or lose, we will not turn our backs on him...we accept defeats and from there, we learn and get up stronger...


  12. We Puertoricans always support our fighters through thick and thin.Tito when Hopkins gave him his first defeat,we were there at the airport to welcome our champion.Cotto when he lost to Margarito we gave him our full support.And since nobody can prove that Margo cheated during the Cotto fight,we don't make excuses,we don't have to,Cotto doesn't have to,he knows what he is capable of and so do we.And come fight night,so will all the people who has classified Cotto no more than a bum in the ring....Have a nice day!

  13. i agree with some of u guy's re manny great fighter it suprise me that he still can hit hard on this level,but let's be real cotto u guy's think he is not same in some of that i agree probloby nome of u guys is being hit by a rock like he did when he fought Margarito also when he fought Clottey he got cut on the eyes big time after he was domonating him for the first 3 round before the cut happen try to fight some body with a cut that big from the 4 round up with somebody as big and strong than clottey think about that first and he still manage to win.Now cotto fought south paw before and gets what real fast weltherweight south paw i kck them out and cotto is a original soth paw just in case u guy's forgot about that too.All im saying to the people that think Manny will knock him out if Margarito couldnt with those rock on his glove this guy's will come out give me a break.cotto win by knock out on the 9rd thats my predicion