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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pacquiao-Cotto: POWER

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What does it mean to be powerful?

For Manny Pacquiao, it is about being the pride and honor of a country that regards him as a national hero. His abrupt rise to super-stardom can do very little to erase memories of his humble beginnings. Loaded in each glove are the dreams of millions of Filipinos whose hopes are represented by the depth of his courage.

For Miguel Cotto, the pride of Caguas, Puerto Rico, power is about walking in the footsteps left by those before him from a nation with a rich Boxing past. For the well-being of his family, strength is manifested and is carried with every punch he throws be it a textbook jab or a crushing left hook to the body.

In Boxing, the power of a fighter’s punch can be measured by the trail of fallen opponents he leaves in his wake. What makes the main event on November 14th so interesting is that both fighters are known to be very hard punchers. Both carry the weight of their home countries on their shoulders. Both have the heart of true ring warriors. And although power can be measured by the way a fighter ends a fight, for Pacquiao and Cotto, the similarities of their strengths end there.

Since his career began in 2001, Miguel Cotto has bulldozed his way in and around the Welterweight division defeating elite fighters and legends of the ring all while establishing his own. He is without question, one of the hardest body punchers in the sport and has been so for the past decade. He has scored knockdowns and tallied knockouts with hard shots to the midsection. He is a fighter that likes to break his opponent down throughout the course of a fight, sapping every last bit of energy before relentlessly applying the finishing touches. The end result is a 34 win record, 27 of which did not hear the sound of the final bell.

Standing on the opposite side of the ring however, he will meet a man with unrivaled speed and crushing knockout power. Meet Manny Pacquiao, who was a nightmare matchup for any fighter in the lower weight divisions. From Bantamweight to Super Featherweight, he was a beast that started a fight out strong but ended it even stronger. He throws plenty and with a purpose. Over the past couple of years, he’s taken his heavy fists to the higher weight classes, and what he found there was the same type of domination he had grown accustomed to, as if he was a natural at his newfound weight class.

The power of a punch is made up of the weight behind it and the speed at which it travels. Considering this equation, I cringe at the thought in my head whenever I think of a body shot landing on Pacquiao’s small frame and historically weak abdomen. If there’s one place to hit Pacquiao, it would have to be at his body, and Cotto is one helluva body puncher. To be effective, Cotto has to somehow force Pacquiao into the ropes and keep him there while dishing out the pain, all in hopes of breaking down ‘The Pacman’ and weakening him as the fight progresses.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Pacquiao, because of his amazing foot speed, is incredibly nimble and elusive. The moment he feels the ropes touch his back he will spin and scuffle and take the fight right back to the center of the ring – a tactic both he and Freddie Roach have developed and deployed since he brutalized David Diaz in his 135 pound debut.

The question for Pacquiao is, will the same power he used to rearrange Oscar Dela Hoya’s face and nearly murder Ricky Hatton affect Cotto, who comfortable at Welterweight withstood punches from arguably the hardest puncher in his division? He doesn’t deserve the doubt but he receives it nonetheless. That’s where we place the question mark, there is no doubt that Cotto can definitely hurt Pacquiao if he connects, the difference in size almost guarantees that but can Pacquiao do the same to Cotto?

Of course power is nothing without accuracy. That’s where Boxing comes into play and while Miguel Cotto does seem to have an advantage over his opponent in this category, under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, Pacquiao has transformed from being a wild, raw slugger into a polished boxer-puncher. So expect a level of accuracy from both men. Cotto has the obvious advantage in power given his huge size advantage, but as proven in the past, the Filipino’s power should never be underestimated. Advantage: SLIGHTLY IN FAVOR OF COTTO, BUT PRETTY MUCH EVEN.

Source: http://www.officialscorecard.com/blog/

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