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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto: Charting a course to history

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Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto are gearing up for their November 14 showdown. It is hands down, the biggest fight of their careers. But when you reach this level of superstardom, every fight is the biggest fight of your career. So how did these two boxing Goliaths reach this point in their career. We all know what they have accomplished in the last few years. In this article, we look at where they came from and where, possibly, they are headed.

We'll start with the hottest name in boxing, Manny Pacquiao. If you are a top ranked boxer between 135 pounds and 147 pounds, then you want to get in line for a shot at Pacquiao. He has been called out by everybody in four different weight divisions. The problem is that the 5'6" Pacquiao can only give up so much to his opponents. The thought of Manny fighting over 147 pounds is hard to imagine. But when you realize that he started his career at 106 pounds, perhaps nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

Pacquiao, 30, made his his pro debut at the age of seventeen. Weighing all of 106 pounds, Manny won that fight, a decision over Edmund Enting Ignacio. He then did what hungry young fighters are supposed to do, he fought nine more times, including four kayos. By the end of the year he had moved up to 109 pounds.

From 1996 through the year 2000, Pacquiao went 17-2 with14 knockouts. His two loses were both by third round stoppage. In this time Manny had fought for and won the OPBF flyweight title. In 1998 he won his first major belt when he stopped WBC flyweight champ Chatchai Sasakul in eight rounds.

By the first half of 2001, Manny had added the WBC super bantamweight belt to his collection. It would be on June 23rd of that year that Manny Pacquiao would storm the American shores for the first time.

He took on IBF super bantamweight titlest Lehlo Ledwaba in Las Vegas. Stories had circulated about the potential that Manny had, but nobody on these shores had seen him. The one person who did take that chance and believe in Pacquiao was his new trainer, Freddie Roach. Pacquiao won by sixth round knockout and a new star was born in America.

Pacquiao would fight five more times before getting the biggest fight of his life. In November of 2003 he faced off with Mexican hero Marco Antonio Barrera in Texas. Manny dominated from the start and stopped Barrera in the eleventh round. That fight began his ascension up to superstar status.

Since then he has won the IBF featerweight, WBA super featherweight, WBC super featherweight, WBC lightweight and IBO junior welterweights titles, to name a few. He now challenges Cotto for the WBO welterweight title. Not bad for a skinny kid from the Philippines who started fighting at 106 pounds.

Miguel Cotto's rise has taken place before the American viewing public's eyes. The 29 year old Puerto Rican got his start by knocking out Jason Doucet in one round in early 2001. The fight took place at junior welterweight and Miguel stayed in that division for the next five years.

In that time Cotto added the WBC junior welterweight belt by stopping veteran Cesar Bazan in eleven rounds. In 2004 he showed the poise of a fighter years older. He stopped Victoriano Sosa on HBO. He was quickly becoming a household name and the heir apparent to Tito Trinidad as the newest Puerto Rican sensation.

He fought as a junior welterweight until 2006. In that time Miguel added the WBA and WBO junior welterweight belts to his trophy case. He had also crushed the dreams of some of the best 140 pounders in the world. Among his victims were names like N'dou, Bailey, Corley, Torres and Malignaggi.

Miguel fought for the vacant WBA welterweight title in 2006. He took on Carlos Quintana and promptly stopped Carlos in five rounds. Not only was Miguel more comfortable at this new weight, he had obiviously brought his power up with him.

He has since added the WBO welterweight belt and has beaten durable veterans such as Zab Judah, Shane Mosley and Joshua Clottey.

Looking back, this fight seems as if it had been preordained years ago. Both men are from island countries. Both are national treasures. And the thing that makes this fight so much fun, their victims usually feel as if they have been kicked by a mule.

One man will win, one man will lose. We can only hope that the fight lives up to it's title of Firepower. If the loser is competitive then we may see Pacquiao-Cotto II. If the loser loses by devastating knockout, then we may be watching his last fight.

The winner is sure to utter the words Floyd Mayweather in his post fight interview. Either way, we are sure to see some fireworks on November 14. From there on, the sky is the limit and any opponent within reason, a possibility, for these two future hall of famers.

Other notable articles:

Freddie Roach puts Valero at number 4, could be nuber 1 in 2010 http://www.examiner.com/x-8557-Norfolk-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m10d30-Freddie-Roach-puts-Edwin-Valero-at-number-4-could-be-number-1-in-2010

Time for Manny Pacquiao to make boxing priority number one http://www.examiner.com/x-8557-Norfolk-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m10d27-Time-for-Manny-Pacquiao-to-make-boxing-priority-number-one

Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto must brace for the most violent of storms http://www.examiner.com/x-8557-Norfolk-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m10d23-Manny-Pacquiao-and-Miguel-Cotto-must-brace-for-the-most-violent-of-storms

Pacquiao, Cotto hype machine at full speed http://www.examiner.com/x-8557-Norfolk-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m10d16-Pacquiao-Cotto-hype-machine-at-full-speed

Pacquiao-Cotto winner will be determined by footwork http://www.examiner.com/x-8557-Norfolk-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m10d15-PacquiaoCotto-winner-will-be-determined-by-footwork

Mayweather has only two choices, Pacquiao or welterweights http://www.examiner.com/x-8557-Norfolk-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m9d3-Manny-Pacquiao-Time-to-learn-basic-Tyson-101

Manny Pacquiao: Time to learn basic Tyson 101 http://www.examiner.com/x-8557-Norfolk-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m9d3-Manny-Pacquiao-Time-to-learn-basic-Tyson-101

Earth to Floyd: You're not the draw http://www.examiner.com/x-8557-Norfolk-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m6d16-Hey---Floyd-drawoh-right--you-cant

Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-8557-Norfolk-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m11d1-Manny-Pacquiao-vs-Miguel-Cotto-Charting-a-course-to-history

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