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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Arum's view of Pacquiao, Cotto training camps

Top Rank's Bob Arum has promoted dozens of boxing stars, and he has never been afraid to match his guys against each other. He'll do just that Nov. 14, when Top Rank's two biggest stars -- pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto -- collide on HBO PPV at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in the year's most anticipated fight.

Obviously, Arum has a vested interest in the outcome, but he knows there will be big fights for whichever man emerges with the victory. The winner against Floyd Mayweather Jr. looms as the biggest fight in boxing -- by far. But even the Cotto-Pacquiao loser figures to have more big fights in the future.

Arum has visited the training camps of both fighters. He spent time recently in the Philippines watching Pacquiao, and joined him this week in Los Angeles, where Pacquiao has shifted his camp to trainer Freddie Roach's Wild Card gym in Hollywood.

Arum also went to Tampa, Fla., for three days to check in on the Cotto camp.

While we can get a taste of both training camps on HBO's excellent "24/7 Pacquiao/Cotto" series, I wanted to hear Arum's take on what he had seen in his visits, so he gave it to me.

"I think, in general, both guys looked very, very good," Arum said. "Cotto looked strong. He's Cotto. He works hard for two hours. He does all his sparring. He's in tremendous shape. I know Cotto works hard, but in contrast to the other guy [Pacquiao], it looks like he's taking a vacation. Pacquiao goes for, like, four or five hours. It's amazing. They train differently. Pacquiao is so work-intensive. It's like nothing I've ever seen.

"Cotto does the workouts like a Marvin Hagler or Sugar Ray Leonard, two guys I promoted. They were all business. They'd come in, do their workout, spar hard and be done. When I was with Cotto, I saw him do 10 rounds one day and six rounds another day. He looked good. He'd do his two hours and be done. After two hours, Manny's just getting started. I'm glad Manny pays Freddie a lot of money, because he earns it."

Arum also noticed some other differences between the camps.

"In Pacquiao's camp, there is no question who the boss is and that's Freddie," Arum said. "In Miguel's camp there's no question who the boss is either, and that's Miguel. They're different guys, different fighters, but whatever works, man.

"Cotto, when you talk to him and he talks to the press about the fight, he's extremely confident and you know that he's not saying he's confident without really being confident. He is sincerely confident. Some guys say it, but they aren't. Some guys have doubts. I've been around so long that I can tell. Manny's confidence goes without saying."

On one of the days Arum was at Cotto's camp, famed trainer Angelo Dundee, who has moved from Miami to Tampa, paid a visit. Arum and Dundee go way back. Dundee worked with Muhammad Ali for years and later with George Foreman. Arum, of course, promoted numerous Ali and Foreman fights.

"Angelo is a delight to have around and he said something to me that was interesting," Arum said. "He said, 'If I had to pick anybody in the world to fight Pacquiao, it would be Cotto because Cotto has the best chance of anybody to beat him because of his physical power and that strong left hook.'"

Source: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4600184&name=rafael_dan

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