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Monday, October 26, 2009

Having trouble predicting who wins on November 14? Go by the numbers

pacquiao vs cotto
UP next in about three weeks’ time for Manny Pacquiao is current World Boxing Organization welterweight king Miguel Angel Cotto.

Master promoter Bob Arum was sealed right after the Pacquiao-Oscar de la Hoya bout. Pacquiao himself agreed to the fight after he personally witnessed the Cotto-Joshua Clottey encounter which the pride of Puerto Rico won. And the world now braces itself for November 14 in Las Vegas.

The fight is very important for both gentlemen. A win by Pacquiao would further strengthen his place in boxing history as he would be annexing his seventh title. A Cotto victory, on the other hand, would provide the Puerto Rican with the much-needed resurgence in his career and the distinction of stopping the dominant Filipino’s streak.

Both are at the prime of their lives and careers. If Pacquiao loses, his retirement plans would definitely take another route. If it’s Cotto who yields, he could be hanging his gloves earlier than expected.

Preparations by both camps have moved to high gear as the fight date draws closer. So what is in store come fight day?

Tale of the Tape

THE most basic source of comparison provides varying insights

Catch weight of 145 lb

SIZE gives Cotto an advantage. Fighting almost all his life within the 135- to 147-lb level makes him comfortable at this weight. Even at a catch weight of 145, Cotto knows how to use his size and heft. Remember, a good big boxer is expected to beat a similarly good but smaller boxer. This is because a heavier punch can end a fight at anytime.

Cotto is expected to make the weight easily and bulk up to a comfortable 152 to 155 on fight day. The challenge is to get used to the weight and generate enough speed to match Pacquiao’s.

Pacquiao is just as comfortable. He has proven that even at 145 lb, he is able to maintain his speed and his power. His destruction of Oscar de la Hoya was proof of that. However, Pacquiao might not bulk up as much as Cotto on fight day, thus still giving away several pounds.

Height and reach

STANDING at only five-foot-seven, Cotto is relatively short for a welterweight. He only stands half an inch over Pacquiao. Both fighters have a 67-inch reach, thus making these variables fairly even.

Given the speed factor though, these numbers will clearly work for Pacquiao as it will be very easy for him to reach Cotto. When they throw simultaneous punches, Pacquiao will definitely connect.


WHEN Pacquiao fought de la Hoya, a lot of experts pointed out that de la Hoya was too old for Pacquiao. He was visibly slower and sluggish and that was attributed to age. Cotto is 28, two years younger than Pacquiao and is obviously at the apex of his physicality. This is the first time in a long while that Pacquiao will be facing a boxer younger than him. The difference might not be much but Cotto is expected to be in good condition, not to tire easily and to take punches better.

Southpaw vs. orthodox

BOTH fighters are left hand dominant. They have chosen, however, to fight with opposing stances.

Pacquiao fights southpaw while Cotto fights orthodox.

A southpaw stance, they say, is always advantageous. It, more often than not, confuses the orthodox boxer. To exploit his southpaw advantage, Pacquiao is expected to move and employ the same combinations he used against de la Hoya. The left lead, pivot right, followed by a jab-straight combo was very effective against de la Hoya. This move would not allow Cotto comfortably and throw his right straight as Pacquiao would have already moved to his left side. A left hook will also be ineffective because Cotto will have no room to throw one.

Cotto is expected to prepare against this. Being left-handed, his left hand will be very busy. He will throw it as a jab before a hook. This should stop Pacquiao from initiating flurries with his left hand lead. More important, though, when Cotto gets close enough to dig his head into Pacquiao’s chest, he will unleash short left-hand shots to the body in the hopes of slowing down the pound-for-pound king.

Ring record

UNDERNEATH the records of these two pugilists lies important information. Pacquiao boasts of a record of 47 wins, four losses and two draws with a 68 knockout-to-win ratio. Cotto’s record stands at 34 wins, one loss and no draws, winning via the short route 77 percent of the time.

Pacquiao has never been beaten in his last 10 fights.

The last time Pacquiao was clearly challenged was on his second face off with Juan Manuel Marquez. In that fight, he was tagged by well-timed counters and was pushed to the limit.

Cotto is still reeling from his recent loss to Antonio Margarito. Many say he still has not mentally recovered from that setback. His rather dismal performance against Joshua Clottey was a testament to that.

Nevertheless, both have posted outstanding wins against great opponents who simply reflect the world-class encounter the November fight would be.

The numbers and statistics make the Pacquiao-Cotto encounter interesting. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so expect them to go over the figures with the comprehension of a genius and adjust their strategies accordingly.

Source: businessmirror.com.ph

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