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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Early fight analysis: Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto

The fight that most boxing fans anticipated is official. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum announced on Monday that IBO and Ring Magazine junior welterweight champion, and current top pound-for-pound fighter, Filipino Manny Pacquiao will face off against WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico. The two will meet on November 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas at an agreed 145 lb. maximum weight.

Pay-per-view sales on the fight should approach 1 million buys for the U.S. market.

Pacquiao vs. Cotto is a legitimate mega-fight, and should be one of the most anticipated clashes in recent years for several reasons.

First, the boxing community will be able to witness if Manny Pacquiao can continue to thrive and succeed in his heretofore impossible journey. Starting out at a mere 106 lb., the "Pacman" is vying for Cotto's welterweight belt. For Manny, that represents an astonishing 7th title in his 7th weight class. Among the all-time greats who have ever laced on the boxing gloves, no one in the entire history of the sport has ever attained such a feat (Oscar de la Hoya is the only other fighter to win 6 titles in 6 weight classes). Not Muhammad Ali. Not Rocky Marciano. Not Roberto Duran. Not Jack Dempsey.

Secondly, Miguel Cotto represents a formidable challenge for the former flyweight Pacquiao. Cotto is a legitimate welterweight, and may weigh in as big as 160 lbs. come fight night on November 14. And this is a weight range that he is most comfortable in. The Puerto Rican has previously defeated highly respected fighters in Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey, Zab Judah, Carlos Quintana, and Ricardo Torres. Carlos Quintana is the only boxer to have defeated 6 foot 1 inch Paul Williams, who possesses an 82" reach. In short, Cotto has defeated boxing stars in his climb to the top.

The third reason why this is a mega-event? Both Pacquiao and Cotto are heroes in their respective homelands. Cotto is regarded as one of Puerto Rico's best boxers, following in the lofty standards set forth by the great Felix Trinidad, and his fan base is augmented by general boxing fans that like his brawling and attack style. Pacquiao on the other hand has elevated himself to national hero status at home, but also as an international superstar. His impossible journey, starting out as a homeless boxing aspirant, continues.

Tale of the Tape:
Manny Pacquiao (49 wins, 3 losses, 2 draws)

Status: IBO and Ring Jr. Welterweight Champ

P4P Ranking: #1

Age: 30

Hometown: General Santos City, Philippines

Height: 5 feet 6.5 inches

Weigh-in Weight: 141 - 143 lb.

Likely Fight Night Weight: 148 - 150 lb.

Reach: 67 inches

Miguel Cotto (34 wins, 1 loss)

Status: WBO Welterweight Champ

P4P Ranking: top 10

Age: 28

Hometown: Caguas, Puerto Rico

Height: 5 feet 7 inches

Weigh-in Weight: 145 lb.

Likely Fight Night Weight: 156 - 159 lb.

Reach: 67 inches

We find three keys to victory for each fighter.

Manny Pacquiao's Keys to Victory

1. Cotto's recent tough fights with Mexican Antonio Margarito and Ghana native Joshua Clottey reveals that he does not like to fight back-pedaling. When he is forced backwards, Cotto is susceptible to jabs and hooks, and this vulnerability could be exploted by the quicker Pacquiao. Manny can force Cotto to retreat when the Filipino throws his lightning fast combinations at a staggered Cotto.

2. Pacquiao undoubtedly possesses a speed advantage over Cotto. Manny has fought a faster fighter in Juan Manuel Marquez before, and the Filipino's ability to telegraph Cotto's moves can simultaneously - in real time - guide Pacman's offensive bombardment.

3. Manny's ability to block Cotto's power punches upstairs and to the body will be a critical success factor in this fight. Cotto has fought and defeated bigger fighters than Manny, and packs more power, especially to the body. An unpredictable in-and-out movement as well as effective blocking can either eventually wear down Cotto or allow Manny enough time to land a flush knockout punch.

Source: http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-4514-Houston-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m7d20-Early-analysis-Manny-Pacquiao-vs-Miguel-Cotto

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Manny Pacquiao Profiles, Statistics and Records
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