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Friday, November 13, 2009

Pacquiao-Cotto could be Hagler-Hearns repeat

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By Jun Medina Special Correspondent

LAS VEGAS: Can boxing superstars Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Angel Cotto duplicate the three rounds of boxing mayhem the way Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns did in 1985?

That classic Hagler-Hearns shoot-out on April 15, 1985 at Caesar’s Palace here is regarded by many as the most thrilling eight minutes in fight history, with Hagler winning by a technical knockout in the third round.
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum thinks Saturday night’s fight can recreate that Hagler-Hearns ring war because of the aggressive, attacking styles of both Pacquiao and Cotto.

“Manny and Miguel are warriors who love to fight and trade punches, and I won’t be surprised if we are treated to a ring war akin to Hagler-Hearns all over again,” said Arum, who helped promote that fight that was dubbed “The War” and voted Fight of the Year.

Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Cotto, surmised that when Pacquiao and Cotto begin trading punches, there might be no stopping them because of the attacking styles.

“Manny is the kind of fighter who always takes the fight to his opponents. And conventional wisdom says that Miguel is at his best when on the attack,” said Arum.

“So the fans can expect a classic clash with a lot of intense action, that’s for sure.”

HBO veteran ring commentator Larry Merchant thinks the fight could start as a “tactical battle,” with each one feeling the other out.

However, Merchant said it’s hard to predict how the fight will evolve once the proud protagonists start hitting each other.

When Hagler and Hearns met in 1985, for the undisputed middleweight title, Hagler was 30, and had lost only twice, much earlier in his career. Hearns was 26 and had been beaten just once then, stopped in the 14th round by Sugar Ray Leonard.

Hagler and Hearns took the fight personally. Weeks before the fight, Hagler even insulted Hearns by saying that Hearns should have just cut off his injured finger if he is really brave enough to enter the square ring the soonest.

Hearns injured one of his fingers during training which delayed the classic fight.

Tactical fight

Former two-time world heavyweight champion Goerge Foreman thinks Cotto will adopt a defensive strategy because of the severe beatings the Puerto Rican went through against Joshua Clottey in his most recent fight and earlier versus Mexican Antonio Margarito.

Foreman said that Cotto is smart enough not to engage a speed monster like Pacquiao in a brawl because the quicker Filipino icon can dish out punches from different angles at blinding speed.

Boxing trainer and ESPN ring commentator Teddy Atlas said that since Cotto could not match speed with Pacquiao, the Puerto Rican banger would likely time his spots, fight a tactical battle, and try to wear the Filipino out with body shots.

Atlas said he is going for Pacquiao because of his speed and confidence coming off knockout wins against bigger opponents like Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton.

Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, who is predicting his client’s knockout win “within five rounds” said the Filipino is a “go get them type of fighter” who usually initiates the action in fights.”

Ariza also said quick-handed and explosive fighters like Pacquiao thrive on pressure, as the Filipino star demonstrated in dealing with a relentless attacker like Hatton. He was referring to Pacquiao’s second-round demolition of the British slugger who took the fight to Pacquiao from the opening bell.

Source: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/top-stories/5939-pacquiao-cotto-could-be-hagler-hearns-repeat

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