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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Upbeat Cotto exudes confidence for Pacquiao challenge

By Kieran Mulvaney

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Miguel Cotto oozed self-belief and poise on Tuesday after making his official arrival at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino where he will defend his WBO welterweight title against Filipino Manny Pacquiao.

The Puerto Rican, 34-1 (27 KOs), is the underdog for Saturday's scheduled 12-round bout but believes his power will prevail over Pacquiao's renowned hand speed.

"I'm prepared for the speed of Manny," Cotto told reporters while sitting on the edge of the MGM Grand ring.

"My hand speed is pretty equal to Manny's. But can Manny's power equal Miguel Cotto's on Saturday night? I am very calm. I have been doing this for many years."

A former WBO light-welterweight and WBA welterweight champion, Cotto said he had been energized by the success of his Florida training camp under new head trainer, Joe Santiago.

"The training camp we had, that's going to make the difference," he added.

Cotto was previously trained by his uncle, Evangelista, but the two fell out after a heated argument, paving the way for the 31-year-old Santiago to take over.

Although Pacquiao's outspoken trainer Freddie Roach has cast doubt on Santiago's experience, Cotto feels the change has been a very positive one.


"When you have good communication with all the members of your team, an integrated team, and they put their efforts together to really make Miguel Cotto the best Miguel Cotto he can be, it makes a very comfortable training camp," he said.

Pacquiao, (49-3-2, 37 KOs), was mobbed by more than 1,000 cheering fans on his arrival at the MGM Grand on Tuesday and is certain to attract most of the support at the 16,000-seat arena on Saturday.

Cotto, however, was unconcerned.

"On fight night it is going to be just Manny, Miguel Cotto and the referee inside the ring," said the Puerto Rican, who retained his WBO title with a split decision win over Ghana's Joshua Clottey in June.

"Nobody can come and give anything to Manny."

Cotto was also unfazed by suggestions he was being underestimated by the Pacquiao camp, which has been touting the possibility of a lucrative bout with undefeated American welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr early next year.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/sportsNews/idUSTRE5AA0AP20091111?feedType=RSS&feedName=sportsNews

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