TALE OF THE TAPE: Pacquiao, Cotto fight promises to be knockout
The boxing world has been in a bit of a slump lately. The rise in popularity of mixed martial arts has put a damper on the once-dominant hold boxing had on pay-per-view events.
Some boxers have brought excitement back into the sweet science, and two of them are set to fight Saturday, as Manny Pacquiao meets Miguel Cotto for the World Boxing Organization Welterweight Championship.
Pride of a Nation
To say Manny Pacquiao is a national hero in the Philippines could be an understatement. The 30-year-old southpaw has been duking it out since 1995, accumulating a record of 49-3-2.
The rest of the world seems to have embraced Pacquiao as well.
He’s been approached for celebrity endorsements on products from athletic apparel, beer, dairy, vitamin water and even McDonalds. Despite showing no signs of slowing down, he’s already had a biopic done about his career.
Still, the attention has not gone to his head. Pacquiao is one of the most humble and down-to-earth fighters in a sport filled with egos and instigators just waiting to prove themselves.
This is by no means any indication of his ring work. That polite and humble demeanor disappears when the bell rings, as Pacquiao is a demon in gloves. His sheer speed and accuracy has taken down fighters like Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel M’aacute;rquez and ‘Eacute;rik Morales.
Pacquiao also showed his great strategy and patience in his fight against Oscar de la Hoya. Many expected de la Hoya to overwhelm Pacquiao with his size, but Pacquiao methodically took apart de la Hoya over eight rounds for a TKO victory.
Pacquiao has won 10 straight bouts since 2005, including a second round knockout victory over Ricky Hatton in February. With Cotto’s Welterweight Championship belt in his sights, Pacquiao is sure to put on a great show Saturday to extend that streak.
Less than ‘Aacute;ngel-ic
Miguel ‘Aacute;ngel Cotto bounced back from the first loss of his career to hold the WBO Welterweight Championship heading into this fight.
Cotto dropped his World Boxing Association Welterweight title to Antonio Margarito after 11 brutal rounds. Cotto was overwhelmed by Margarito’s size in the fight and got cut badly over his left eye. After taking another knee, his uncle and trainer Evangelista Cotto threw in the towel to end the fight.
Cotto’s only loss has since been heavily contested when Margarito and his cornerman were suspected of tampering with his hand wraps before a fight with ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley. The resulting decision on the tampering led to a suspension for Margarito and his cornerman.
Cotto’s style of fighting is about pushing opponents. His aggressive punches often come at the cost of taking many as well.
This aggressive approach has brought Cotto much success, but also some criticism as well.
In his fight with Zab Judah in 2007, Cotto landed several low blows that brought Judah down to the canvas. Cotto was deducted one point, but would eventually get the technical knockout victory in the 11th.
Pacquiao has unprecedented speed, which has helped him land shots on opponents as well as avoid taking them. He also systematically took apart de la Hoya and definitively knocked out Hatton, showing he’s capable of either waiting or taking the opportunity to strike.
If Cotto wants to leave Las Vegas with his WBO Welterweight Championship intact, he’ll need to crowd Pacquiao early. Cotto will need to keep the aggression coming early and often if he wants to ground the Pac-Man.
Cotto has had trouble moving his head in the past and his style seems to rely heavily on trading blows with opponents. Since Pacquiao fights with more accuracy and speed, he may prove to be too much for the Puerto Rican.
Prediction: Pacquiao defeats Cotto via TKO in the 10th round’ to win’ the WBO Welterweight Championship.