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Friday, November 13, 2009

Weight Over: Cotto, Pacquiao Ready To Lock And Load

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By Jake Donovan

There was no need to pay by the pound, in the weigh-in to tomorrow night’s Vegas superfight between welterweight titlist Miguel Cotto and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.

Faced with the threat of having to pay a cool million for every pound over the 145 lb. catchweight limit, Cotto (34-1, 27KO) managed to keep his money in his pocket. The soft-spoken yet ferocious Puerto Rican weighed in at 145 on the nose, one pound heavier than Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37KO), who hit the scales at a career heaviest yet shredded 144 lb.

The bout tops tomorrow evening’s highly anticipated pay-per-view, which airs live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada (Saturday, HBO PPV, 9PM ET/6PM PT, $54.95).

Despite the compromised weight limit, the fight is still billed as a welterweight affair, with Cotto’s alphabet strap on the line. The bout will be the Puerto Rican’s first in Vegas since suffering the lone defeat of his career, an 11th round stoppage at the hands of Antonio Margarito in last summer’s thriller.

Cotto has since won two straight, including a 12-round gut check against Joshua Clottey at Madison Square Garden this past June. In that fight, Cotto suffered a potentially fight-ending gash over his eye, but fought bravely for more than nine rounds, closing strong to escape with a close and debated split decision victory.

There isn’t a fighter in the sport on a greater roll than Manny Pacquiao. Amidst his current 10-fight win streak have come title wins in three separate weight classes, including his two-round destruction of Ricky Hatton this past May. The win made the insanely popular Filipino the only fighter in boxing history to capture lineal world championships in four separate weight classes.

A win on Saturday allows Pacquiao to further add to the record books, as he will become the first fighter ever to capture a major title in seven weight classes.

Three televised preliminary bouts precede the pay-per-view main event. The only other major title bout of the evening will see two-time junior middleweight champ Daniel Santos defend against unbeaten Yuri Foreman.

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. moves up in weight, but not in competition, as he appears in the co-feature bout against Troy Rowland in a middleweight bout scheduled for ten rounds.

The one preliminary bout met with considerable anticipation is an expected welterweight shootout between former Contender star Alfonso Gomez and fringe contender Jesus Soto Karass. A regional title is at stake in their scheduled 10-round affair, though Soto Karass will have to sweat off ½ pound in order to be eligible to vie for the vacant strap. Gomez comfortably made weight, coming in at a surprisingly chiseled 145 ½ lb.

Top Rank Inc. serves as the sole promoter for the year’s most anticipated event, which saw an enormous turnout at the weigh-in, with both fighters well represented.

Jake Donovan is the managing editor of Boxingscene.com and an award-winning member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Contact Jake at JakeNDaBox@gmail.com.

Source: http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=23444

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