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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nations collide: Manny Pacquiao v Miguel Cotto is Puerto Rico v The Philippines

Manny Pacquiao against Miguel Cotto is a sporting war between two countries. No question. Both prize fighters have major profile in their respective homelands.

As the fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Nov 14 gets nearer, expect that national rivalry to become more acute. Cotto’s head trainer Joe Santiago believes both men are clearly fighting for their countries, as well as themselves.

“For the island of Puerto Rico it is huge. Everybody knows what Pacquiao has done and we know what Miguel is capable of doing. It would not only be huge for me and Miguel, but for everybody in Puerto Rico. It would be a huge win especially with what Pacquiao has done in his last few fights.”

“I think both guys want to show that they are the best. One is called the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and we know we have the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world in Miguel Cotto and when that night comes and he wins, everyone will know that Puerto Rico does have the best pound-4-pound fighter in the world.”

However, there are millions of Filipinos who idolise the struggle Manny Pacquiao has had in his life and see him as a symbol of what is great about their people. As we all know, when Pacquiao fights, wars cease in his native land, and the whole nation grinds to a halt to witness their great sportsman in action.

Santiago is honest enough to admit that they have to be impressed with what Pacquiao has achieved in recent fights. “With all that Pacquiao has done lately you have to be impressed by that. We know what we are capable of doing and Miguel wants to show everyone and that’s why we work so hard in this camp.”

“I wouldn’t say that Manny’s opponents have not been quality fighters because we know they are. We know Oscar De Le Hoya and we know Ricky Hatton and their careers and that’s the way we look at it.”

“Miguel is obviously at the point of his career when we know he is at his best and he’s going to show everyone that he is at his best. I think many Pacquiao is in for a tough night. Cotto showed in the Clottey fight how much he wants to win and how much it means to him to win. I think that desire is a very important thing to have, to win, and Miguel has it.”

Yet Freddie Roach asserted this week that he could see his man winning by a first round knockout. It is possible, but most likely it is a ruse. Roach has already told me that he wants Cotto to start the fight by engaging, with Pacquiao likely to start fast and get his shots and angles off early. They want Cotto back fighting on automatic, not pushing the pace. However, if he does, I think Pacquiao will find openings if he is not tagged in the first four or five rounds by those powerful hooks Cotto possesses.

Source: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/sport/garethadavies/100002581/nations-collide-manny-pacquiao-v-miguel-cotto-is-puerto-rico-v-the-philippines/

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