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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bodybuilding.com Pacquiao- Cotto: Did the camera show it all?

The first thought was my amazement at Miguel Cotto’s progress at mastering the English language. It wasn’t long ago when we were all marveling and applauding Manny Pacquiao for his adaptation to a second language. It was more for the Americanized fans, really, the interviews and what not.

Nowadays it’s not uncommon to have speech and language coaches to help foreign icons to develop a sense of comprehension for the sake of their fans.

One of the first items on Yao Ming’s checklist after securing a big contract to cross the big sea was to hire a specialist, Colin Pine, to transition his largely Chinese fan-base into a more diversified following. Within the first year of tackling a second language, Yao was positioned in numerous commercial advertisements and it became more and more clear, especially during interviews, that his English had grown considerably.

Tim McDougal, VP of Marketing for the Houston Rockets credited Yao’s eagerness as the fortitude for his success off the court. “Yao tries to bridge the gap between two cultures,” stated McDougal in 2004 during the Athens Olympics where Yao played for Team China. “He speaks English all the time with his teammates, and when he speaks English during interviews, fans are just blown away by his fun personality.”

But as I consumed more of HBO’s mini drama series, I started to realize that Miguel Cotto has surpassed even the great Yao Ming.

During the thirty-some minutes of broadcast, it was clear that Cotto has had some problems that revolved around his love for the sport and his personal life. In dispatching uncle and former trainer, Evangelista Cotto, Miguel claims to have rid his camp from in-house quarrelling between the ropes. And his attempts at another go with estranged wife, Melissa, also show where he’s at within his life
outside the ring as well. Now the only obstacle in his way back up to the top is the naturally smaller man.

Manny Pacquiao, however, still needed the comfort of subtitles to correctly convey his sentences. After the initial airing, there had been many accusations that HBO purposefully tilted their first segment to show the marketable differences between each fighter, while simultaneously illustrating favoritism towards the Puerto Rican superstar. But we must remember that this is a boxing-based documentary that revolves around drama and promotion, both of which are fuel to push every leverage point they can get about both fighters. I expect any and all favoritism to teeter-totter back and forth between all four installments. Besides, I believe that HBO gave a tremendous hand in helping to salvage the fight between Marquez and Mayweather with their coverage.

Secondly, it’s difficult to see through the various emotional environments that swirl around both camps. With rumors and truths alike, it’s hard to decipher the yea’s from the nay’s when they’re both clear as mud. From the first episode, I get the feel that Cotto’s camp realizes and recognizes “Firepower” as their redemption ticket Everything that ties back to Margarito and that nightmarish evening at the MGM Grand last July can all go away if Miguel can dispose of the Filipino bomber. All the while Manny Pacquiao refutes ideas, suggestions, etc., from his long-time right hand man, Freddie Roach. It was awkward to see the “coach” interrupt a political meeting just to get his point across to his pupil. Why was Pacquiao meeting with politicians during camp anyway? If this was the only conflict, we’d all let it slide, but Roach went on to point out other, more disheartening factors as well. Basketball was one of his sore spots.Freddie relayed the fact that his prized pupil used to comply with such requests as to stay off the basketball court during certain training regiments, but of late, it sounds like the time for a game of hoops seems to be whenever, where ever.

One of the last points I’ll make about HBO’s 24/7 Cotto/Pacquiao launch is regarding the status that Freddie Roach holds in the Philippines. It was corresponded on the airing that two members of Team Pacquiao were the prevalent faces of boxing back on the island, Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach. This came as no surprise but as the years add on and the tides roll through, it seems that the Filipino public has grown very accustomed to having Freddie around. Even while he visited disaster sites after the typhoons, the general public and news media were satisfied--and without the presence of Pacquiao might I add. I don’t know about the rest of boxing nation, but it seems that reports of an imminent divorce between the sport’s latest successful couple seems to be more a reality than not. But for the sake of good men finishing first for once, I hope that the media pull has a lot to do with this.

The many rumblings in Pacland point out that the singer slash actor slash boxer appears to finally be giving in to his mega-status. Let me repeat, I think Pacquiao has finally fallen victim to Fame. I was quite unsurprised at Pacquiao’s first, non-successful bid at a political seat as I was with Joe Mesi’s failed New York bid. But if he were to fall short a second time, it’d be headline news to me. I’m guessing he’ll get the nod on most levels considering his ties to his country and legion of followers and to the politicians behind them as well.

I’m not too sure what really holds true in either camp anymore, but to those who witnessed last Saturday’s HBO broadcast, there was definitely a change in the Pacman. It was a move for the worse in this writer’s eyes and the once-timid champion now looks to be on the Mayweather end of the promotional spectrum. If anything, it was Miguel Cotto who emitted the will and character that once came from Manny Pacquiao. It’s not even the little influences, like new shoes that used to rile the Filipino with excitement (but doesn’t anymore), but rather the inconsideration that visibly shines through from Pac to Roach, as he was forced to go as low as to disrupt Pacquiao’s obvious business meeting—a meeting that seemed to overtake training camp prior to going to war on the 14th. And we haven’t even mentioned the dishonest proposal to leave the following morning amidst a second typhoon which made Roach look to be the gullible, meaningless team member. All I can say is that the Pacman made time for politicians, but he didn’t have the motive to visit his countrymen after the typhoons. This isn’t the Pacman we’re all used to seeing; he should know the magnitude of his presence, especially during a time of trials and tribulation. And although I don’t doubt his natural abilities, it’s a shame, none-the-less, to have to question his morale in a situation where character was never in question for the Filipino icon.

I’ll leave you with this: Even Floyd Mayweather took time out of training to pay a visit to the local homeless shelters and avenues. And throughout all the horse-talk and media splurges, never once did little Floyd roll his eyes as if to dismiss his loyal trainer. This is a difficult time considering many boxing scribes and know-alls favor Pacquiao’s veteran corner over Cotto’s sophomore line-up. Overall it might be the wrong time to take his trainer for granted.

Tune in to HBO’s second installment of 24/7 Pacquiao/Cotto this Saturday. I’m sure we’ll see another twist in the plot that seems to grab attention in directions that never existed before. The camp is now in Los Angeles, Roach’s turf, so maybe this will spark a different mental routine for Team Pacquiao.

Source: http://www.diamondboxing.com/newsstory.php?list=10075

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