Tuesday, October 27, 2009
#1. Manny Pacquiao. The pound for pound has been dominating opponents in the ring, including his spectacular one punch knockout of Ricky Hatton earlier in the year.
#2. Miguel Cotto. A consensus top 10 fighter, Cotto is one controversy away from being undefeated and in the prime of his career.
#3. Speed. Both men possess it in abundance. Pacquiao should beat Cotto to the punch but not by much.
#4. Power. Both men possess it though neither will likely end this fight with one punch. Cotto could knock the aggression out of Pacquiao if he catches him square early in the contest.
#5. Defense. When Cotto has been hurt his back has been against the ropes; a mistake he won’t repeat. Much has been made about Pacquiao’s defensive growth under the tutelage of Freddie Roach.
#6. Heart. If either man’s has been questioned it shouldn’t have been. Cotto erased any doubts in his war against Joshua Clottey.
#7. Aggression. When Pacquiao is overly aggressive he leaves himself open to be countered. Cotto is most dangerous when coming forward.
#8. Size. Cotto is a natural welterweight who had to weaken himself to get down to 140 lbs. Pacquiao is a natural lightweight whose self-described best weight is 140 lbs.
#9. Stance. This match has the makings of a righty-lefty classic.
#10. Strategy. Roach proved masterful against De La Hoya (lead left hands) and Hatton. Roach said Hatton would be susceptible to the right hook – and he was.
#11. Strategy 2. Joe Santiago is the lead trainer for just the second time in Cotto’s career. Fighters fight, but the corner can be invaluable both before and during a fight.
#12. Venue. Pacquiao is a Las Vegas regular, having fought 7 of his last 10 bouts in the city that never sleeps. Cotto on the other hand is an East Coast regular and may still have nightmares from his last trip to the MGM Grand.
#13. Philippines. Manny carries the weight of his storm weary countrymen on his shoulders. A loss could be devastating to a nation in need of hope.
#14. Puerto Rico. An island with a long history of boxing greats, Cotto fights for pride and immortality.
#15. Catch weight. Will Cotto pull a Mayweather and disregard the contract he signed? Don’t bet on it. Cotto doesn’t need gimmicks and should make 145 lbs. comfortably.
#16. Training camp. What impact have the typhoons had on Pacquiao, both physically and emotionally?
#17. Distractions. Cotto doesn’t have any with camp in Florida and Uncle Evangelista in Puerto Rico.
#18. Joe Chavez. Cotto bled profusely during the Antonio Margarito fight and was cut early from a head butt with Clottey. Cut man Joe Chavez may be called upon to keep Cotto in the fight.
#19. Fan base . Pacquiao packs Las Vegas with flag waiving, ear busting, proud Filipinos. How well will Cotto’s loyal following travel west?
#20. Bob Arum. Both men are Top Rank superstars but Pacquiao is clearly the company’s gravy train. What will Arum do and say should Cotto derail his money maker?