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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Team Pacquiao Sold the Philipino Legend Out

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By Brent Matteo Alderson

I’m excited about the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight this Saturday and out of all the possible matchups to be made between Pacquiao, Mayweather, and Mosley, this one has the greatest potential to produce the magical fireworks of a legendary prize fight and will be well worth your pay-per-view dollars.

That being said, Team-Pacquiao made a big mistake and after all the verbal sparring between Arum and Pacquiao’s representatives and the countless meetings that took place across the world’s different time zones, Manny Pacquiao’s advisors failed him and came away with a contract that could very well negatively impact the final stages of his career.

Now the financial split has yet to be announced and even though finances are always the priority, a good manager knows that sometimes the logistics surrounding a fight can change a fighter’s career more pervasively than a purse split.
When Sugar Ray Leonard challenged Marvin Hagler in 1987, poor Marvin thought that his team had controlled the negotiations because the Marvelous one received the lion’s share of the purse split, but Leonard’s brain-trust didn’t care about the money and put more emphasis on the fight’s particulars, “Hagler gave us everything we wanted, he was just worried about the money, but we didn’t care about the money, we wanted to win the fight, so we gave him the money and he gave us everything else,” commented Leonard’s career advisor, the astute Mike Trainer.

And because Team Leonard made some financial concessions to Hagler, he got to decide on the size of the ring and the bout was sanctioned for twelve rounds instead of 15-rounds, which were still being sanctioned at the time, but were in the process of being phased out.

It’s pretty obvious that team Cotto followed a strategy similar to Mike Trainer’s and probably left some money on the table in order to put Miguel In a better position to win the fight.

So instead of haggling over an extra half-million or so, they conceded to Team Pacquiao’s financial terms and held steadfast in their demand that the bout take place at 145 pounds.

Now I know boxing fans are thinking, “What’s the big deal, it’s just a couple of pounds,” but that’s just not the case.
Most fans have never had to make weight for a sporting contest and don’t realize how difficult it is for a fighter to make weight. The whole process is a tolling and debilitating experience and in this instance, those two pounds are going to make a huge difference.

Cotto had a lot of trouble making the 140 pound limit and was visibly weakened throughout his entire campaign as the WBO 140 pound champion and regularly complained about the physical toll it took on his body and was dropped and almost stopped by Ricardo Torres and almost taken out by the ordinary DeMarcus Corley in front of his hometown fans.

Since moving up to 147 pounds in the fall of 2006 his ability to recuperate and absorb punishment has increased substantially.

Just look how his equilibrium withstood all those shots from Antonio Margarito, a huge welterweight who may have had cement in his gloves and compare that to how Cotto was shaken up by a couple of punches from the light hitting DeMarcus Corley and it’s obvious that making the junior-welterweight limit weakened Cotto.
It’s because the process of having to lose six to twelve pounds two or three days before a weigh-in is so debilitating.

Now you may think cutting weight is scientific in its methodology, but unfortunately the process of cutting weight is barbaric and has to do more with basic arithmetic than the scientific method.
Most of the weight is water-weight and fighters know all the little tricks of the weight-loss-trade.
For instance, fighters know that after a good night’s sleep you generally weigh in one pound less in the morning. They also know that you can shed two to three pounds of water weight during a hard work out.

Just for those of you who aren’t aware of the rigors of making weight let me go over a scenario that occurs regularly before almost every fight card in the world.
Let’s say a fighter has to weigh in at 140 pounds on Friday at noon and its Thursday morning and they weigh 146. They can work out at the gym and have a little bit of water. 144. Then they can go home, rest, hopefully use the bathroom, sleep, and wake up in the morning. 142 ½. Then Friday before the weigh in they can work out and maybe use the sauna and weigh 140 pounds for less than an hour and make the contracted weight.
Just try to fathom that experience for a moment and ponder the thought of having to complete two professional level workouts with very little water and hardly any food intake over a twenty-four hour period.

Now that scenario is something closer to what a mid to high level amateur experiences, some of the professionals have to make some insane sacrifices to make weight. Imagine having to go through that experience for three, four, or even five days before a fight.

The simple fact of the matter is that making weight is tough and besides getting hit, it may be the most difficult thing a fighter has to deal with.
Guys like Jake LaMotta and James Toney always had more problems with the scales than their opponents. Henry Ramirez, who had over fifty amateur fights and trains a stable of fighters which includes Chris Arreola, is well aware of the problems fighters encounter at the scales and commented, “Everybody’s body is different and everybody cuts weight differently, but it’s a trying experience.”

Now Cotto moved up 147 pound in the fall of 2006 and will probably never fight at 154 pounds, he’s just too short and probably doesn’t have the length necessary to compete at the elite level in the higher weight classes.
He’s a welterweight plain and simple and now he has to drop two extra pounds to fight the Pac-man.

Now if Cotto were really struggling to make 147 I would say those two pounds would make a difference and that losing those extra 32 ounces would negatively impact his overall strength, but he makes the welterweight limit relatively easily, I mean he’s not like Felix Trinidad at welterweight or James Toney at Middleweight, and the two pounds shouldn’t have a negative impact on his physical state and that’s a bad thing for Manny Pacquiao.

145 pounds is only two pounds below the welterweight limit. So those two pounds that were subtracted aren’t going to make much of the difference, but the four pounds had the bout been contracted at 143 pounds would have made huge difference because they would have sufficiently weakened Miguel, just like it did when he was fighting at 140 because even though it would have been three pounds north of the junior-welterweight limit, Cotto has been fighting at welterweight for the past three years and his body has matured and developed. As a result the drop to 143 pounds may have even been more debilitating than making 140 had been because he’s bigger now.
The thing is Manny Pacquiao is human. He’s only had three fights above 130 pounds and now he is facing an elite welterweight in his twenties and only received a two pound weight concession.

Oscar De La Hoya made more concessions than Cotto and he was the sport’s pre-Madonna and was in his thirties and still agreed to drop to a weight he hadn’t fought at since Bill Clinton was President.

If Pacquiao’s team of advisors had actually been capable managers, and not blow-smoke-up-your ass hanger-ons they would have demanded that Cotto reduced to 143 pounds. Those two extra-pounds would have meant at least an extra-day or two of drying out because the lower you go, the harder it gets to lose the water weight, which would have weakened him just little bit more and slowed him down just a tad bit which would have made him more susceptible to Pacquiao’s counters and power.
Besides what was Cotto going to do? Fight a rematch with Margarito or Clottey, two huge welterweights that already gave him hell and don’t bring the kind of recognition and financial compensation that a fight with Pacquiao brings.

Pacquiao’s advisors had all of the leverage and failed to make an agreement that would have leveled the playing field between Miguel and Manny. Even Freddie Roach is aware of the strength disparity between the two and that’s why throughout the early part of the negotiations he was unwavering in his desire for the bout to take place at 143 pounds.

People might think two pounds can’t make a difference, but those seven pounds Cotto added after moving up to welterweight sure did and unfortunately for Manny Pacquiao he’s the one that’s going to have to deal with the impropriety of the contract on Saturday.

Source: http://www.fightfannation.com/pacquiao111309.html

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