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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beware of Cotto’s left hook, Arum tells Manny

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By Francis Ochoa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 15:22:00 11/11/2009

LAS VEGAS— The tickets have been snapped up the moment they hit the selling booths and everyone is expecting crazy figures from pay-per-view revenues.

All because the world wants to see how a once skinny, scrawny kid who used to sleep on cardboard boxes in the street can fight his way to the ranks of the big boys, winning not only fame and riches along the way but also boxing’s most revered mythical title: Pound-for-pound king.

“We are watching a phenomenon unfold before our eyes,” Top Rank chief Bob Arum said of the one-time flyweight king who is now on the threshold of becoming the first boxer to win world titles in seven different weight categories.

“I have not, in my 45 or 46 years in boxing, seen anything like this,” Arum said. “This should have never happened.”

Arum is referring to the fact that the devastating combination of speed and power hasn’t deserted Pacquiao despite the Filipino superstar’s ascension into the heavier ranks. Pacquiao faces Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14, where he will be gunning for the Puerto Rican’s WBO welterweight crown at a catch weight of 145 pounds.

“Manny seems to be punching harder now,” Arum said. “People have been asking if he’ll lose his speed as he goes heavier, but Manny seems to be faster now.”

Arum added that while credit goes to trainer Freddie Roach, who has shaped Pacquiao to be a complete and relentless mix of ring power, the boxer should get a lot of pats in the back too.

“Manny is one of the hardest workers in boxing. I’ve never seen any athlete who trains as hard as Manny does,” said Arum.

Arum said, however, that it would be wrong to take Cotto lightly and that the Puerto Rican’s presence on the corner opposite Pacquiao on fight night is actually what makes the highlight match of the card billed as “Firepower” one of the greatest the sport has ever seen.

“It will be a great matchup not only of the year, of the decade but also in history,” Arum said. “On one hand, here’s Pacquiao, who’s going up in weight and here’s Cotto, the toughest welterweight in the world who punches hard and can take a good punch.

While Arum still gets floored with the way Pacquiao has dominated legitimate welterweights, he believes that once Cotto rocks the Filipino, the latter will be in for a jolting surprise.
Because he promotes both fighters, Arum refused to make predictions about the fight. He did, though, tell audiences what to look for the moment the bell rings and the referee unleashes both warriors in the ring.

“I think the major factor will be if Cotto will be able to reach Manny with those devastating left hooks,” Arum said. “I guarantee you if Manny gets hit, it will be the hardest he will ever have felt in his career. It will be interesting to see how Manny will handle the punch if he does get hit.”

Source: http://sports.inquirer.net/breakingnews/breakingnews/view/20091111-235601/Beware-of-Cottos-left-hook-Arum-tells-Manny

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