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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cotto will bring back Pacquiao's memories of AgapitoCotto will bring back Pacquiao's memories of Agapito

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Miguel Cotto's middle name is "Angel" but Caguas, Puerto Rico's favorite son is far from one. In fact, his opponent's trainer Freddie Roach has called him out for being a dirty fighter.

Define dirty? If we speak in basketball terms, Cotto might be a boxer in the mold of Robert Jaworski. If that doesn't ring a bell, then think about Bruce Bowen or Ron Artest. Bowen is known for his veteran tactics inside the court like clipping his opponents by the ankles when they're in mid-air to alter their balance. If done against an amateur, can definitely be dangerous. And Artest, who graced Pacquiao and Cotto's press conference with his presence needs little further elaboration, but in case you are clueless about the NBA, Artest once pulled his opponent's shorts down to distract him and prevent him from receiving the ball in the post.

So where am I getting at? Cotto definitely has a bag of tricks he resorts to as his escape tactics. Honestly, it really is hard for me to just straight up call him dirty. Crafty maybe, but that's only because I appreciate the overall competitiveness and fighting spirit. Just as Ricky Hatton said, it's not a tickling contest, it's a fight. When someone is trying to put a world of beating on you and putting your health and your future at risk, everything is fair game. Now don't get me wrong, do I encourage someone to hit below the belt? Definitely not. That's cheap and absolutely dirty. But will I vilify a fighter for resorting to such tactics? Not my style.

It's a fighter's job to win, and if he has to gamble and resort to some dirty tactics to gain an edge, then that's his prerogative. He is simply doing his job. And before you jump at me and say I promote these trick, allow some sense to ruminate in your head for a second because just as I said, I don't condone it, but it is what it is. Fighting is a cutthroat sport and if you don't want to get hurt, you're in the wrong job.

And when it comes to dirty tactics, that's the referee's job to control. So if Cotto does resort to his tricks and gets away with it, I would be more inclined to criticize the referee rather than the fighter. Cotto is doing his job and protecting his investment, that's why these referees get paid and have the honor to be inside the ring under the bright lights with these fighters. It's the referees job to protect integrity inside the ring.

With that said, I am confident with the competent Kenny Bayless' selection as the third man in the ring for November 14. Cotto may want to implement his tactics and remind Pacquiao of the hard night he had to endure due to the many dirty hits he had to receive at the hands of Dominican boxer Agapito Sanchez in 2001, but the officiating should be able to prevent a repeat of the exact fight.

What's fair? Well Roach suggested that Cotto should be disqualified after the first infraction. That's situational of course. If Cotto does tag Pacquiao with a low blow or a head butt while he is on the way down and in a dire situation, I do feel he deserves to be punished right away. An instant DQ may be too harsh, but a warning will definitely be too lenient. Instant point deduction should be assessed, both ways, if it does play out that way. And a second definitely disqualifies the offender.

At the end of the day however, who wants to be remembered as a cheap shot artist? Pacquiao to his credit has a good history of being a clean fighter. In fact, in his fight against Agapito Sanchez, an HBO commentator calling the fight with Jim Lampley said, "I can't imagine anybody fouling me when I was fighting that many times without getting one back. He must be a really good kid."

The ball is in Cotto's court. It's his move. Will he fight clean, or will he take it to the "balls" in Pacquiao's court?

Source: http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-10947-Indianapolis-Fight-Sports-Examiner~y2009m10d22-Cotto-will-bring-back-Pacquiaos-memories-of-Agapito

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