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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pacquiao, Cotto prepare for Saturday's showdown


Few would argue that the welterweight division has become boxing's most talented weight class. When experts analyze the sport's best ``pound-for-pound'' fighters, welterweights dominate most top 10 lists.

Manny Pacquiao is relatively new to the division but intends on adding more accomplishments in an already successful career. Recognized with established welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr. as one of boxing's top fighters, Pacquiao opted for a difficult foe in his bid for another world title Saturday night.

Pacquiao will take on Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto for his World Boxing Organization title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, in another highly-anticipated bout in the welterweight division.

``It's going to be a great fight between two great fighters,'' Pacquiao said at a press conferece Wednesday.

Like Mayweather, Cotto is another welterweight considered among the sport's top-10 fighters. Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs) realizes the possible riches and additional prestige that could follow if he defeats Pacquiao in the second defense of his 147-pound title.

The winner of the bout should become the logical opponent against Mayweather in a mega-fight likely to occur next year.

``My career has to continue no matter who wants to fight or not to fight Miguel Cotto,'' Cotto said. ``I am here for the big names and ready for the hot opponents.

``That's what boxing needs -- for the guys at the top to fight other guys at the top, like it was 20 years ago. Make the fights that fans want to watch.''

Pacquiao, a native of the Philippines who won his first world title as a flyweight, has fought top fighters such as Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales while also capturing belts in the super-bantamweight, featherweight and super-featherweight classes. The 30-year-old Pacquiao will pursue his seventh title against Cotto.

``I feel stronger at this weight than I ever have,'' Pacquiao said. ``My punches are harder, my speed is intact. I keep getting warned about Cotto's body attack. Cotto should be worried about my body attack.''

Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs) has fought only one time above 140 pounds, when he gradually broke down Oscar De La Hoya and forced him to quit on his stool after the eighth round of their much-ballyhooed bout last December. Six months ago, Pacquiao returned to the junior-welterweight class and knocked out England's Ricky Hatton in two rounds.

``Miguel Cotto is a hard puncher and strong,'' Pacquiao said. ``He's the champion so there is a challenge.''

Cotto, 29, believes he has made the separation from his lone career loss against Antonio Margarito in July 2008.

Cotto overcame the brutal 11th-round technical knockout loss to Margarito with victories over Michael Jennings for the WBO belt in February and a hard-fought decision over Joshua Clottey five months ago.

``I know what I'm capable of doing, and there is no doubt in my mind that I'm going to win this fight,'' Cotto said.

``I've prepared for the best Manny Pacquiao, the fastest Manny Pacquiao, and I will be ready for anything he brings in to the ring.''

Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/other/story/1333002.html

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