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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cotto-Pacquiao: Six Days Away

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by SC on Nov 8, 2009 2:02 PM EST in Features

We've said that mega fights don't get any better than this. We've heard Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach talk big about an early knockout. We know about the issues Pacquiao has had around him during camp. We've heard Cotto's side talk about his size advantage.

We've got six more days of talk. And then next Saturday night in Las Vegas, Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao have to get down to business and fight one another.

This is one of those weeks where I think we sit back and go, "Wow. This fight is really happening."

Not even two years ago, fights like this were crazy dream matches. Manny Pacquiao at welterweight (or close enough) against Miguel Cotto? Pacquiao won the 130-pound world championship against Juan Manuel Marquez in March 2008. He moved up and won a lightweight strap by dominating David Diaz that summer.

And then, when Oscar de la Hoya had an opening after Floyd Mayweather's "retirement," Pacquiao did what was then unthinkable: Moved all the way up to 147 pounds and not only beat the "Golden Boy," but demoralized, battered, assaulted, embarrassed and retired him.

Pacquiao was already popular, already beloved, already respected across the world. Now he was a phenom. A two-round knockout of 140-pound world champion Ricky Hatton followed in May 2009, and then we were left to wonder, "What's next?"

Could it be Floyd? Would it be a third fight with Marquez?

Enter Miguel Cotto, the Puerto Rican warrior who after all this time is still being overlooked by too many. Some assume Pacquiao will truck through him. Some say Cotto is "shot," which is ridiculous.

But as much as I think Cotto is even underrated by many today, I also still have no idea who will win this fight, or how it will play out. And by "I have no idea," I mean I can't make up my mind.

One thing keeps playing in my mind, though, and I know it won't be popular with the Pacquiao superfans, but I've said it before. When he was hit by Oscar and Hatton -- which wasn't much -- he felt it. He clearly felt it. Miguel Cotto will hit him unless Pacquiao can smash him the way he did to Hatton. Cotto will be more aggressive than Oscar was. Cotto will be better than Hatton was. I am sure of both of those things, as sure as I can be.

So what does Pacquiao do when in a potential war with a real welterweight? What does Cotto do against the blinding speed of Pacquiao? Who cracks first?

That's why this fight is so great. I don't know. I just don't know what happens, but I'm expecting something sensational.

Six days, folks. That's all we have left before we find out.

Source: http://www.badlefthook.com/2009/11/8/1121641/cotto-pacquiao-six-days-away

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