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Monday, October 19, 2009

Dean of Puerto Rican boxing: Manny Pacquiao prevails over Miguel Cott

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He’s the Dean of all Puerto Rican boxing figures. His name is Mario Rivera Martino and he’s even older than Don King and Bob Arum.

I thought this important Boricua boxing guy would give homeboy Miguel I’m No Angelo Cotto a strong vote of confidence going into the Nov. 14 super bout against Pinoy Idol Manny Pacquiao.

I thought wrong because the veteran journalist who is now public relations director for the Puerto Rico-based WBO, gives the WBO 147 pound champion from Caguas only a slim chance of an upset victory over the speedy Filipino.

Keep in mind that Martino spans the history of boxing on the island from the glory days of world champions Sixto Escobar and Pedro Montanez on to the Jose “Chegui” Torres era and then to the halcyon years of Wilfredo “Bazooka” Gomez, Wilfred Benitez and Felix “Tito” Trinidad.

“The 1970s were the greatest year, the Golden Era of boxing in Puerto Rico,” Martino told one interviewer a few years ago.

“Gomez won 32 consecutive bouts by knockout and Benitez was 45-1 with the only loss at the hands of the great Sugar Ray Leonard. Boxing in Puerto Rico was at it most glorious during that time.”

He remembers being a shoeshine boy on the streets of Manhattan and feeling honored when he cleaned the shoes of heavyweight champion Joe Louis and Ring magazine editor Nat Fleischer.

The Ring was known as “the Bible of boxing” and to guys like Martino it truly was.

He knows and likes Cotto but he believes that Pacquiao will win if the bout gets past the early rounds.

“I think Miguel can win early but, if he doesn’t nail Pacman then, the tide will shift over to Manny. If it goes many rounds, I think Manny will prevail,” Martino said.

Martino, who became a correspondent for The Ring and also wrote about boxing for The San Juan Star, is among those who feel Antonio Margarito took something out of Cotto.

“I don’t think Miguel is the same fighter he was before that bout,” Martino said. “He is a bit diminished. Beating him won’t be easy for Pacquiao, I’m not saying that, but everything points to a Pacquiao victory.”

The Boricua Boxing Dean has spoken.

Now Cotto knows how Barack Obama would have felt if he didn’t get the vote in hometown Chicago.

Before I get in trouble, let me note that Mario’s boxing mad nephew is my pal and Boxeomundial honcho, Jose Martino.

He calls his tio, “a living legend and a walking boxing history book.”

Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-5699-NY-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m10d19-Dean-of-Puerto-Rican-boxing-Manny-Pacquiao-prevails-over-Miguel-Cotto

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