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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pacquiao, Cotto camps apply Art of War lessons

By Francis Ochoa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:12:00 11/07/2009

HOLLYWOOD—Sun Tzu’s philosophy is getting a ringside twist with each passing day leading to the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto showdown for the WBO welterweight belt on Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The legendary Chinese military commander, largely credited as the author of the iconic “The Art of War,” has cast—however inadvertently—his influence in the training camp of both marquee fighters.

And where Sun Tzu preaches that if you know the enemy and you know yourself, you can win a thousand battles, Buboy Fernandez, a key member of Pacquiao’s corner and the fighter’s close friend, believes that knowing what the enemy knows and using it against him guarantees victory just as well.

“They said that they’ve studied Manny’s fight against (Juan Manuel) Marquez and they’ve spotted a weakness,” Fernandez said in Filipino. “Well, we’ve watched the tape and we know what weakness they’re talking about and we have a counter for that.”

“It’s still a secret now,” said Fernandez, smiling impishly.

Taking a page from Taoist strategizing that calls on gathering knowledge of the enemy, Team Cotto revealed that it is using flaws it discovered by watching videos of Pacquiao’s last fight against nemesis Marquez to derail the Filipino ring icon, who is eyeing an unprecedented seventh world crown.

Fernandez feels that advantage was just blown away.

During mitts training Friday, Fernandez, chief trainer Freddie Roach and Pacquiao repeatedly went through different strategies to hold the hook-throwing Cotto off his element.

Pacquiao himself had earlier said “knowledge is power,” and that what they’ve learned so far is exactly what they’re preparing for.

“I can say right now that I am 100 percent prepared for this fight,” Pacquiao said.

The fighter from Gen. Santos City was upbeat during training Saturday, unleashing rapid combinations with ferocious tenacity that had Roach asking Pacquiao to “slow down” several times.

During one particular series during mitts training, Roach got tagged in his armor-cushioned body and drew a deep breath.

“I said slow,” said Roach.

“That was slow,” quipped Pacquiao.

When Pacquiao put an end to eight hard rounds of mitts exercises by knocking off Roach’s right mitt, observers milling around the ring couldn’t help but murmur about how Cotto could end up on his back on fight night.

The only guy who wasn’t buying it was Pacquiao.

“I’m not even thinking of knocking him out,” he said during a post-training interview with a television crew and a handful of reporters. “I’m just going to give my best and if a knockout comes, it will be a bonus.”

Source: http://sports.inquirer.net/professional/professional/view/20091107-234876/Pacquiao-Cotto-camps-apply-Art-of-War-lessons

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