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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pacquiao vs. Cotto prediction: Pacquiao via decision

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Pittsburgh Fight Sports Examiner | Scott Heritage

With the fight just hours away, its time for me to make a final prediction about Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto. This fight has a lot of different factors and angles to it, making an accurate prediction difficult, but here's how I see it going down:

First few rounds

As the pair square up in the middle of the ring, Cotto looks a hell of a lot bigger. This might look intimidating but it actually helps Pacquiao retain a bigger speed advantage by not trying to bulk up too much. At the start of the fight Pacquiao looks strong, but eventually starts to feel the bigger punches of Cotto.

For the first round or so he fires off everything at Cotto, who responds with heavy hooks and uses his jab well to keep Pacquiao at bay. As Pac-man lands more punches Cotto tests out the theory of Oscar De La Hoya who said Pac can't punch, and doesn't like the results. After perhaps the first couple of rounds Pacquiao will be forced to change his tactics and take less chances.

Cotto struggles to catch Pacquiao, but when he does he makes him pay for it. Meanwhile Pacquiao is forced to stick and move. At several points in each round Pacquiao's aggression takes over and he gets too close to Cotto, who proceeds to punish him to the body. Freddie Roach is going berserk at Manny in the corner after each reckless incident.

Middle rounds

As the fight wears on Cotto begins to tire of chasing Pacquiao and seems to be looking to trap him in a corner rather than catching him with single punches. As Cotto starts to slow, Pacquiao begins to catch him with more punches and get hit less himself on the way out, nicking the rounds on the scorecards. Both fighters have started to mark up a little, and Cotto has a couple of small cuts around the eyes. Nothing serious at first, but getting bigger as the rounds progress. Cotto seems hesitant to take a lot of punches to land a couple of his own, but is being forced to do so by Pacquiao's speed.

Later Rounds

Both fighters have slowed, but Cotto a lot more so than Pacquiao. Manny now tees off at will on the sluggish Cotto, who flails after him but by now can't land a glove on Manny. Cotto is cut badly and getting hit but he doesn't seem rocked and refuses to be finished. All the punches are one way traffic from Manny now as cotto looks aprehensive and tries to guard his cut for fear of a stoppage.

The fight ends with Pacquiao looking the stronger, but Cotto thinks he might have done enough early on to take it. Both fighters seem convinced that they have done enough, but Manny has clearly won more of the rounds than Miguel. The fight is called for Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision. The announcement is made and Manny prepares to sing his victory song.

At some point the cameras inside the arena cut to several boxers sitting in the front row, who all want a piece of Pacquiao. Floyd Mayweather makes some noise as usual, but doesn't seem that interested really. As usual Freddie Roach has some interesting insight into the preperations he thinks MIguel Cotto has made:

"There's a Plan A and B," said Roach. Either [Cotto] is going to use his strength and come forward and show us he's the bigger or stronger guy, or he's going to try to be like Marquez and be a counterpuncher. A lot of people like to do that because it gave us trouble. But you can't become somebody else in eight weeks. Once he gets hit, he will revert back to what he does best.

"Cotto has got a great left hook, and when he gets you on the ropes he's very effective. Our job is not to be on the ropes at all in this fight. Obviously, Cotto will pressure us at times during this fight, but Manny's speed is too much. Foot-speed -- that's where the fight is won. And Manny excels in that department."

The counterpunching idea is a sound one, although I don't see Cotto having the speed or technique enough to make much out of it. Sooner or later he will have to chance gack to his old self, and lets not forget, while Marquez did give Pacquiao trouble, he was a natural counterpuncher, and he still didn't actually even win either fight. Cotto trying to fight like Marquez will never be as good as the real thing, and the real thing wasnt good enough either. Interestingly Marquez is still pushing for a third fight between the pair, but with much bigger pay days out there for Manny if he wins I don't see it happening.

Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-20066-Pittsburgh-Fight-Sports-Examiner~y2009m11d13-Pacquiao-vs-Cotto-final-prediction

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