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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fighter profile: welterweight champ Miguel Angel Cotto

Given the much anticipated war that is brewing for the November 14 clash at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, we profile Puerto Rican and WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto. Undoubtedly, pages, scrolls, and YouTube videos will populate the internet flush with opinions and views in the build up for Cotto's welterweight fight with pound for pound king and Filipino phenom Manny Pacquiao.

Only These Two Fighters Matter

(I can only count my blessings that I shall indeed have the opportunity to witness the fight of the year live at the MGM arena.) At the end of the day, the views of writers, analysts, and observers are no substitute for what actually transpires in the ring, and with that humble recognition, the vigorous preparation rests only with the ring warrior themselves - with the guide of Virgil-like characters in Freddie Roach and possibly Emanuel Steward on the side of Cotto. It is afterall Pacquiao's and Cotto's limbs and health on the line. Not ours.

To them - exclusively - belong the excruciating sacrifice and pain of thousands of sit-up crunches, and dozens of rounds of sparring, and the hundreds of blows to the cranium and ribcage which Mother Nature did not design for spectator entertainment shock or gladiator spectacle. It was Man who ordered the brutality on these two, and Pacquiao vs. Cotto shall be monetarily compensated accordingly.

Last Line of Defense

Speaking of brutality, Miguel Cotto stands as the last line of defense in Manny Pacquiao attempting to gain entrance in the almost ineffable, holy-like parthenon of boxing's all-time idolatry. Sure, Manny is already a future hall of famer, and has firmly planted his legend in the minds and hearts of boxing fans. History has carved out his permanent shining star in the dark night skies of prize fighting.

What the Cotto challenge represents is simply something that has never been done before in the entire history of the sport. Manny Pacquiao may not be the greatest fighter of all-time, as Bob Arum may hint at or suggest. Promotional stuff. Although the marketing guru has represented Muhammad Ali before. (Although Manny Pacquiao has developed a following in the Philippines that may already have eclipsed Ali's following when he was boxing icon.) And I do not believe Pac-Man - or necessarily expect him - to be the greatest fighter ever. He possesses a left jab, left hook, and right hook only, out of the large arsenal of possible attacks in the entire spectrum. Nor can he necessarily fight backwards, clench well, or box excellently out of the ropes - or handle his "kryptonite" well, which is fight against an excellent right-handed fighter (ala Juan Manuel Marquez). Still, to win 7 world championships in 7 different weight classes must be treated as a truly mind boggling and awe-inspiring attainment. Lance Armstrong won all of those Tour De France races, and Michael Phelps won all of those Olympic gold medals. Take a look at what "little" Manny is doing! No amount of television shock-value (of Paris Hilton tabloid gossips) can make people forget the formerly homeless and poverty-struck kid who fought as a 106 lb. flyweight.

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

Junior Welterweight vs. Middleweight

Miguel Cotto presents a very difficult guard against Manny from entering those hallowed gates of boxing immortality. In the Oscar de la Hoya fight, Pacquiao weighed in at his highest weight ever: 142 lbs. On fight night, he came in at approximately 149 lbs. For the Ricky Hatton fight, he came in at 138 lbs.

For the Cotto fight, we assume that Manny weighs in at 140 lbs. Cotto should weigh in at 145 lbs. But the welterweight champion could balloon up to 156+ lbs (perhaps as high as 160 lbs), which is a weight range that is in middleweight category.

Manny Pacquiao has unexpected power and barrage punching capabilities. But Miguel Cotto has taken the toughest punishment from the likes of Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, and Zab Judah. He has an excellent chin.

Source: http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-4514-Houston-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m7d22-Fighter-profile-welterweight-champ-Miguel-Angel-Cotto

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