Home | Pacquiao vs Cotto | Pacquiao vs Cotto News | Pacquiao vs Cotto Updates | Pacquiao Cotto 24/7 Episodes | Pacquiao vs Cotto Online Live Streaming

Mayweather vs Ortiz Online Live Streaming

Mayweather vs Ortiz Online Live Streaming, News and Updates, Mayweather Ortiz 24/7

Friday, November 13, 2009

Real History: How Serious is Pacquiao’s Quest for Seven?

Pacquiao vs Cotto Online Live Streaming
By Cliff Rold

It doesn’t take much to be amazed by reigning World Jr. Welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KO). Much has been written about the accomplishments of Pacquiao, particularly in the last year, as they reached unprecedented levels.

When a left hook for the ages left then-140 lb. champion Ricky Hatton stiff in the center of the ring on May 2 of this year, Pacquiao did something no fighter in the history of boxing had ever done. He added a fourth lineal World title to his trophy case while also tying Oscar De La Hoya’s record of title claims in six weight divisions.

This weekend, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada and broadcast on pay-per-view, the world gets the most anticipated fight of the year, a contest which can literally not get here fast enough. Pacquiao goes for a title claim in his seventh weight division, Welterweight, or 147 lbs., challenging Miguel Cotto (34-1, 27 KO) for the WBO belt. It is Pacquiao’s second fight in the Welterweight division, a span of ten from his pro debut and nine since he won his first title.

Okay, well, almost Welterweight.

After all, this fight, on the scale if not in the ring, is not fully a Welterweight fight.

Weights are a sensitive issue in boxing. Fighters struggle to squeeze their bodies into established lines, monitoring their diets, sometimes skipping meals, all while toiling and sweating in the gym for weeks to hone their bodies to perfection. Losing an extra pound or two than usually necessary might not seem like much for the average person, but for athletes with nary an ounce of fat on their frames, every pound counts. Losing too much weight, even a couple pounds too much, can mean diminished stamina, lost snap, and less punch resistance in the ring.

As part of the negotiations to make the fight, Team Pacquiao asked for and, given the sizable paycheck and visibility which comes with facing Pacquiao, received a catchweight stipulation for Saturday night. Miguel Cotto is contracted to weigh in at no more than 145 lbs., a full two pounds below the division limit. After some initial argument, which included a threat to vacate his belt because of the catchweight, Cotto has also agreed to defend his Welterweight title claim.

It probably won’t be an issue in the ring on Saturday. It should never have been an issue at all. It is, and because it is the question arises:

If Pacquiao defeats Cotto, should the rest of the world concede full credit for the title accomplishment?

Before exploring the implications of the catchweight, and their impact on Pacquiao’s attempt at more history this weekend, other factors in the lead to the fight must be addressed.

The proportions of what the Hatton victory meant have been elusive in some corners of the press. Pacquiao, in the Western world, exploded on the scene in June 2001 when he eviscerated IBF Jr. Featherweight titlist Lehlo Ledwaba. Discussion of his accomplishments over the last decade often start there, or give only brief mention of what came before.

But there was a before.

Since beginning his comeback from retirement, Pacquiao’s leading ‘pound for pound’ rival Floyd Mayweather has made statements along the lines of ‘where was Manny Pacquiao when I was winning world titles in 1998?’

The answer: winning world titles in 1998.

Before he ever made an impression outside of Asia, just weeks shy of his 20th birthday (noted because some dismiss Pacquiao’s flyweight years as having happened in his mid-teens where he began competing below the Jr. Flyweight, or 108 lb., limit), Pacquiao came from behind on the cards to stop reigning WBC and lineal World Flyweight champion Chatchai Sasakul in the eighth round in Thailand. He’d hold the title less than a year, rapidly growing out of the division and being stopped in only his second title defense on an awkward body shot which took advantage of drain from dramatic weight loss.

American audiences rarely follow the smallest weight divisions, and certainly weren’t paying much attention en masse to what was going on in the Thai boxing scene. But it did happen, even if an argument can be made it was an accomplishment aided by an era where weigh-ins are allowed the day before fights.

Manny Pacquiao was the Flyweight, or 112 lb., Champion of the World.

He’s also been the lineal World champion at Featherweight (126), Jr. Lightweight (130) to go with his current title at 140. In between the latter two, he also scored a belt at Lightweight, or 135 lbs. He skipped the modern Jr. Bantamweight (115 lb.) and classic Bantamweight (118 lbs.) classes altogether.

To be clear, regardless of how one feels about the stipulations against Cotto, a win will not add a fifth lineal crown to Pacquiao’s collection.

Announcing his brief retirement in 2008, Mayweather vacated the lineal crown he captured in November 2006 with a win over Carlos Baldomir. Mayweather hadn’t been much of a Welterweight champion, and still doesn’t seem much interested in facing the best Welterweights, but the historical claim was his.

Parity has ruled since with Paul Williams, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, and Cotto all capturing some belt or another. Williams has moved on to higher divisions. Cotto defeated Mosley prior to Mayweather’s retirement and has since lost and won to Margarito and Clottey, winning the WBO belt in between against an overmatched Michael Jennings.

Mosley has fought once in the division since the loss to Cotto in November 2007. He made the most of it in January of this year, winning the WBA belt by stopping a Margarito who entered under the cloud of what would eventually result in a disgraceful suspension; his trainer was caught trying to load his gloves prior to the fight.

Mosley (46-5, 39 KO) is largely regarded as the leading Welterweight in the world right now because of the Margarito win. He is rated in the top slot by Ring Magazine, ESPN, and BoxingScene. Mayweather can dispute the claim by saying he gave up, rather than physically lost, the lineal crown and has yet to lose at Welterweight. Cotto can dispute the claim with a win over Mosley and a deeper Welterweight resume since moving into the division in December 2006.

Based on results against Welterweights, if Mosley is number one, then Cotto is at worst 1A.

No former Flyweight champion has ever so much as challenged for a piece of the Welterweight crown. It’s a hell of a challenge and, at least principally, the scope of the challenge is unfortunately mitigated via the catchweight.

It is not the first time weight stipulations have come into play in a Pacquiao fight, with great previous success. Last December, while still campaigning as a Lightweight, Pacquiao agreed to face an Oscar De La Hoya, who had competed at Jr. Middleweight’s 154 lbs. for much of the decade, at 147 lbs.

The catchweight was a minor subplot to a promotion cynical in nature from the start. De La Hoya went looking for a big name elite win, something he’d lacked for years, and went three divisions below him in a vain gamble that his size advantage coupled with skill would be too much even in a class he’d not competed in since 2001.

Team Pacquiao gambled on the possibility to cash in on that vanity and turn it into a sucker bet.

It was a fight whose build was less about legitimate competition and more about whether De La Hoya was regressed enough to lose to a man Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach conceded he wouldn’t have let Pacquiao fight if he were in his late-90’s Welterweight prime. De La Hoya’s attempt at what could be called cherry picking received its comeuppance. Pacquiao went from star to megastar, a great fighter in his prime thrashing a “Golden Boy” who was well past his over nine rounds and sending him to retirement.

Cotto is no De La Hoya. While questions about whether he was damaged against Margarito last year are fair, the close, split decision win over Clottey in July should allay most worries. It was one hell of a fight. Cotto had some rough moments, but nothing less than the best has ever beaten Clottey. Clottey was ahead on the cards when disqualified late against Carlos Baldomir in 1999; he gave Margarito hefty trouble in 2006. It was a significant victory for a world class Welterweight still near, if not in, his absolute prime.

A significant Welterweight, in their prime, is uncharted territory for Pacquiao.

The danger is magnified by day before weigh-ins. Cotto might weigh 145 lbs. on the scale Friday, but in the ring he is almost certain to weigh somewhere around the Jr. Middleweight limit if not more. Pacquiao, based on the weights for De La Hoya both on the scale and in the ring, could come in well below 147 at the weigh-in and within a pound of it by fight time.

They are arguments in favor of Team Pacquiao’s asking for the catchweight. In practical terms, they can say they aren’t avoiding a full bodied Welterweight as much as checking the amount of weight Cotto is likely to gain by the opening bell. Pacquiao supporters can argue that it is only fair for Pacquiao to ask for concessions from the larger man; that the real risk is still to the Filipino icon.

Further arguments can be made that catchweights are nothing new, even in title fights. Sometimes they favor the larger man. Sometimes they don’t.

Jack Britton abused Ted Lewis with a catchweight well below the Welterweight limit in August 1915, then refused to make the limit as defending champion. Lewis avenged the chicanery by taking the Welterweight crown anyways.

During the late 1980s, Sugar Ray Leonard loved catchweights. He forced reigning WBC Light Heavyweight, or 175 lb., titlist Donny Lalonde to come all the way down to 168 lbs. Ostensibly, it was so he could also win the inaugural WBC Super Middleweight belt at that limit. Coming off the floor to score a ninth round knockout, the impact of Leonard’s stipulation on the legs of Lalonde also came into play. In his following bout, a long awaited rematch of their Welterweight classic, Leonard demanded a catch below 168 pounds and got it only to be sent to the floor twice anyways. While it ended in a highly disputed draw, Hearns-Leonard II is largely regarded as a win for the Hit Man.

Pernell Whitaker agreed to come down the scale to 145 to defend the Welterweight crown against Julio Cesar Chavez in 1993 and Bernard Hopkins agreed to officially weigh no more than 157 in defending his Middleweight crown against Oscar De La Hoya 2004. Whitaker dominated Chavez on the way to a controversial draw. Hopkins stopped De La Hoya with body shot.

The Cotto catchweight isn’t as abusive as the sort found in Leonard-Lalonde. 145 is only one pound less than Cotto weighed for the Clottey bout. As Ring’s Doug Fischer recently noted, Team Cotto went to camp earlier than usual and the weight is likely to be a non-issue competitively.

Still, in a career which increasingly demands it be defined more by the broad strokes of history than the standards of contemporary measure, none of these arguments or examples should have been necessary. That there is even a chance Cotto would enter the ring in some way diminished takes away from the full potential of accomplishment should Pacquiao win.

Prior to the signing of the bout, in June, this scribe opined that Pacquiao’s Choice Should be a Real “Welterweight” Fight. As written then:

It has become fashionable…to find comparisons between what Pacquiao is doing and what men of the past like Henry Armstrong and Tony Canzoneri did in their day. What must be noted is that Armstrong and Canzoneri did it straight up.

When he defeated Ross for the Welterweight title in 1938, the then-reigning Featherweight champion Armstrong weighed 133 ½ while Ross weighed 142. Armstrong ran him over. In defense of the title in 1938, and later challenging for the Middleweight title in 1940, against the excellent Ceferino Garcia, Armstrong gave up 12 ½ and 11 ½ pounds respectively. Disputed draw or not in the latter bout, Armstrong dominated on both nights.

Canzoneri, shorter and with less reach than Pacquiao and between winning world titles in three weight classes, went from unsuccessfully challenging for the Bantamweight (118 lb.) title in 1927 to splitting a pair of brawls with former Welterweight champion Jimmy McLarnin in 1936. He gave up 6 ½ and 8 pounds in those bouts latter bouts…the greatest of them all, Ray Robinson, gave up 15 ½ to challenge Joey Maxim for the Light Heavyweight crown in 1952. Barring a freakish in-ring temperature, he would have left with the throne.

It can be assumed any 2009 arena Pacquiao will fight in comes fully equipped with central air.

Even with overnight rehydration in today’s game, it would be unlikely for the weight difference Pacquiao would face to be any larger than what Robinson faced with Maxim. Let’s not even get into the great Sam Langford; standing a stocky 5’6 ½, he regularly gave up twenty pounds and more to talented Hall of Fame Heavyweights like Harry Wills, Joe Jeanette and Sam McVea and found ways to win.

Pacquiao may not have asked for the comparisons with the immortals but they are there. He has the opportunity to be one of the rare modern fighters to hang his name, if not right alongside, within the area code of the immortals mentioned. To make it stick, then when he decides to take a risk it cannot come with caveats. The immortals didn’t quibble about weight. They just made sure they weighed enough to win.

It’s too bad that, heading into this weekend, there must be any even remote question about whether Cotto has been forced to weigh just enough to lose.

No matter the result, the action in the ring this weekend, and there will be action, is almost certain to rate amongst the best of the calendar year. This is the most anticipated fight of 2009 for a reason.

If Pacquiao wins this weekend, and that is still no foregone conclusion, he will have won a title claim in a seventh weight division. It will be a matter of historical record and, if winning titles in so many classes were even a little bit easy, someone else would have tried in the modern seventeen weight class era. Pacquiao is the first to do so.

Should Pacquiao go on to greater success against other Welterweights like Mosley and Mayweather, at a full 147 lbs., he will emerge as the undisputable Welterweight champion of the World and further establish the bar for greatness in terms of winning titles across the scale.

He will deserve full credit for it then.

If the fight on Saturday turns out to be as good as expected, maybe even better, Pacquiao is likely to extend his stature whether he wins or loses.

But measured against the immortals with whom he has earned comparisons, the principle of even asking for a catchweight deserves an asterisk from history before round one, no matter the realities which unfold in the ring.

The Weekly Ledger

But wait, there’s more…

Haye-Valuev Coverage: http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=23321
24/7 Pt. 3 Reviewed: http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=23333
Dawson/Haye Report Cards: http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=23342
Ratings Update: http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=23345
Top 10 Light Heavies All Time: http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=23364
Top 24 Welters Pt. 1: http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=23408
Picks of the Week: http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=23363

Cliff’s Notes…

The Pre-Fight Report Card, and pick, for Cotto-Pacquiao will be available Friday night…nothing much else to add beyond enjoy the fight.

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com

Source: http://www.boxingscene.com/index.php?m=show&id=23421

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

How will the Pacquiao-Cotto match will end?

Fighters' Statistics

Manny Pacquiao Profiles, Statistics and Records
Miguel Cotto Profiles, Statistics and Records