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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pacquiao vs. Cotto: Keys to Victory Part 2 - Training

The key to victory is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win."

Every great champion knows that 99% of the battle is won not in the boxing ring, but in the training camp.

35 days to go before the scheduled bout between WBO welterweight champion, Miguel Angel Cotto against the pound-for-pound number 1 and Ring Lineal Jr. Welterweight champion, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

Miguel Angel Cotto knows that to beat a Manny Pacquiao, one must be very well prepared for that battle. For Manny Pacquiao always comes up with new surprises against his opponents, which enables him to shock the world time and again. The WBO welterweight champ is well aware of what Manny Pacquiao could do inside that squared circle. He is not just a small guy whom bigger guys can easily bully. Pacquiao is a little guy that beats the crap out and knocks the bigger guys to unconsciousness in multiple different weight divisions. And all these achievements by Manny Pacquiao have been well chronicled and recorded on video. And those videos, Cotto believes could give them clues as to what Manny Pacquiao could bring to the ring come November 14, and find a blueprint on how to dethrone the reigning pound-for-pound king. There were reports saying that the Cotto's camp are viewing the videos of Pacquiao's three loses, two of which were knock-out losses and the
other one was Pacman's first fight with Morales.

In today's fight game reviewing videos of previous fights of an opponent is a must, as fighters' styles rarely changes, this enables his opponents to know what to expect. Because it’s more likely that the opponent will use the things that worked for him in the past. And with that knowledge, it minimize the element of surprise, by adjusting to the opponent's style, devising moves and techniques to counter or negate his opponents' past effective moves and techniques. In many cases, making these adjustments takes time and effort. For one must do the moves and drills over and over again, up until these techniques become natural for the fighter. He would not need to over-analyze about what to do when the situation arises but he'll just naturally do whatever he practiced in the training camp instinctively. And this is something Miguel Cotto knows very well, as he started his training almost a month and a half before Manny Pacquiao started his training camp.
This allows him more time to adjust and practice the moves he needed to counter Manny Pacquiao's tactical abilities. Analyzing, devising and planning fight strategies seems to be lacking in Cotto's head trainer Joe Santiago's resume, who used to be Miguel's nutritionist, as compared to Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach.

It is also noted that since Miguel Cotto is the bigger man in this match-up, as Pacquiao's conditioning coach Alex Ariza noted during their promotional tour "He (Miguel Cotto) looks like 160lbs!" Not only Miguel Cotto require more time to adjust to Manny Pacquiao's techniques, he also needed more time to gradually go down in weight to make the 145lbs contracted official weight-in. As a fighters' body weight goes higher or lower, most of the time, the more time he uses to adjust to that new body-weight, the more effective he becomes in terms of conditioning. As a fighter goes up in weight, he would have time to fine-tune his speed, for fighters tend to be more sluggish as they go heavier, on the other hand, a fighter that goes lighter would means burning their own muscles, which means they tend to go weaker. But with enough preparation, a fighter can adjust his speed and power with his new body-weight.

Looking at the other training camp, Manny Pacquiao is training in Baguio City, Philippines to avoid paying huge amounts of taxes in the United States. He is being trained by the famed Coach Freddie Roach who molded Manny Pacquiao from being a "left handed bomber" into a well-rounded tactician. It should be noted that in each and every Manny Pacquiao's fights, the Pacman brings something new for the fans to witness. He keeps improving and he keeps learning with each training camp. It should be noted that the Manny Pacquiao who lost three times in the past, is not the same fighter compared to the Manny Pacquiao of today. This improvement from Manny Pacquiao is evidently the work of Coach Freddie Roach.

Pacquiao's training camp kicked off after their US Promotional tour, about 8 weeks before the scheduled fight. Wherein Manny Pacquiao needed to fly half way around the world to get to the Philippines, deal with jet lag and started training with Assistant trainer and bestfriend Buboy Fernandez. About one week after that, Coach Freddie Coach flew in to Baguio City to look over Manny's training. Coach Freddie Roach was impressed with Manny Pacquiao conditioning as they start their hard grind. It seems that Manny Pacquiao keeps himself in shape even during his "off season" days.

Manny Pacquiao, during his training has been followed by the fans and media. People in Baguio usually wait for him to jog by as early as 5 a.m. Manny is constantly surrounded by Baguio police force round the clock during his training. But a fan friendly Manny Pacquiao couldn't let his fans down and give in to autograph request and photo ops from time to time.

There were also reports that Manny Pacquiao sometimes sneaks out of his camp and join friends in a game of basketball at night, which upsets Coach Freddie Roach because it would put Manny Pacquio at risk of injuries.

There were times when Manny Pacquiao would jog along with Philippine Military Academy Cadets, pace with them and gradually pick up speed wherein the cadets were not able to cope up and Manny would end up leaving the cadets behind, running ahead of them. He was then invited for some rounds of target shooting at the camp, which again infuriates Coach Roach as he warns Manny to "Get serious now! We're preparing for a fight!”

Assistant Trainer Buboy Fernandez told media that "Manny Pacquiao knows himself and he knows what he is doing. When he trains, he is a work-machine. Most of the time you don't need to tell him to do things because he's going to do it anyways."

During Manny Pacquiao's training camp, the Philippines was ravaged by back-to-back typhoons, which flooded and damaged many parts of the country, including some parts of Baguio City where Manny Pacquiao trains. As of yesterday, 80% of power in Baguio City is down, and no roads are passable going in or out of Baguio City because of landslides. It was reported that last weekend; Pacquiao motored down Metro Manila to help out distributing relief good to the victims of the floods over there. And this week, Manny Pacquiao would want to lend a hand in helping people who were affected by the typhoon nearby where he is training.

So a Jose Luis Castillo motoring up the mountains to get to Baguio City is unlikely at this time, for the city needs to clear its' roads of rocks, debris and floods to be passable by motorists. The only way to get to Baguio City as of yesterday is through air transport. It is reported that Castillo's arrival in Baguio City would be delayed till he fly in on Sunday. Castillo, the former lightweight champion, now campaigning at welterweight is reported to go to Pacquiao's training camp and aid the pound for pound king as sparring partner. Jose Luis Castillo would bring his "pressure tactic" and power punching to the body similar to Miguel Cotto's as beneficial to Pacquiao's training.

It was also reported last week that Urbano Antillon and Shawn Porter has given Manny Pacquiao a rough time during their initial sessions of sparring. Roach stated last week that "Manny's condition is 40%" at the time while shaking his head. But as the days progressed and more rounds of sparring was logged-in, Manny Pacquiao somehow brought smile to Coach Freddie Roach's face as he slowly comes back to better fighting form. Porter was reported saying "Manny is definitely the best in the world today...He will shock the world all over again."

In each and every move Manny Pacquiao and this team makes, the media shall be behind them. It was reported that Manny Pacquiao is training to do a "Hit and run" tactic; that he shall employ a "three punch combination" and them move out of range, circle to the side. I'm not sure if this disclosure of fight plan to the media would be beneficial to Manny Pacquiao during fight night. Is this a ploy from team Pacquiao; saying one thing and then comes to the ring and delivers something that will totally surprise Cotto? Or are they confident that Manny Pacquiao's speed and skills would be too much for Miguel Cotto to handle that they don’t' mind disclosing their fight strategy? From Manny Pacquiao, to his trainer, sparring partners, advisers, down to his dog "Pacman", you'll definitely going to read about them in the Internet.

Again, the big question is, "Will all these distractions during training affect Manny Pacquiao's performance in the ring come fight night?"

One more week to go in Baguio City and Manny Pacquiao and his team will fly to Los Angeles to train at the Wild Card gym, which means, he'll have spend at least one day travelling and several days of jet lag before he could go back to business of training for a fight.

On the other hand, Miguel Angel Cotto trains in Florida. He trains quietly in secret. For indeed in numerous wars in history, they keys to victory are proper preparation and the element of surprise.

The big question regarding Miguel Cotto's camp would be "What's he cooking?"

With one month to go before their fight billed as "Firepower", these two champions know what it takes to defeat champions. They've been there before, they've done it before. Now, its time for both of them, two of the very best in their time, step in the ring and duke it out. And as boxing fans, we surely hope that both fighters had done their homework to bring us the very best fight they could bring.

There's no doubt in my mind that the biggest fight this year is Miguel Cotto vs. Manny Pacquiao. And it is evident that everybody is excited about it.

Source: 8countnews.com

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