EXPERT TRAINERS WEIGH-IN ON PACQUIAO VS COTTO
LAS VEGAS (November 6, 2009)-The late great boxing trainer Eddie Futch, who counted six world heavyweight champions as his pupils, always said a fighter's corner played an essential role in a competitive fight's outcome. With stakes high for the Manny Pacquiao vs Miguel Cotto fight on Saturday, November 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena live on HBO Pay-Per-View®, today's most decorated trainers give their insight into the match-up and whether or not the experienced corner of Manny Pacquiao, with esteemed trainer Freddie Roach, will out-perform the lesser known Cotto corner lead by Joe Santiago. Hear from the experts themselves as they breakdown and predict the outcome of this tremendous fight.
Trainer Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Sugar Ray Leonard
"It's gonna be a great, great fight. I have seen Cotto train twice now, and he's a stone cold professional fighter. He was oblivious to the outside world when I saw him training. He's very focused.
"You have a perfect blending of style in this fight. If I ever had a fighter fighting Pacquiao, I would implement the things that Cotto brings to the table. Certain ingredients that spell Cotto, will give Pacquiao trouble.
"Cotto is a pressure fighter and he's going to be on Pacquiao from the get go. He's got a great left hook, he's a good body puncher and he's very aggressive. I see a very tough distance fight. There is going to be blood.
Pacquiao takes it to you all the time but in this fight is going to have to back up. He's a smart, slick, and great hand speed. Cotto counters those things."
ON THE CORNERS
"Cotto is his own man. He's a complete and solid pro. Him and his trainer, they look like they get along just fine. Cotto looks like a man possessed. If something goes wrong, yes, the corner has to step in. But as a trainer, you're only as good as the fighter.
"When the bell rings, Freddie will be in one corner, the two guys will be in the ring. He won't be able to fight for Manny. If an emergency happens, he'll be there. The better one will be Freddie in case of an emergency. You're talking about a guy who has a wealth of experience. You can't make a comparison.
"But if you're looking for an edge, I don't think the corners will play into the fight. The best guy will win."
Trainer Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley
"I think Pacquiao and Freddie have such a strong and trusting relationship that they will be fine with whatever might happen in the ring. I think Pacquiao really trusts Freddie's judgment and if it gets rough in there and Pacquiao sees it one way and Freddie gives him a different take on the situation, Manny is going to do what Freddie tells him. That is an incredible trust between a boxer and his trainer and one that will be to their advantage that night.
"On the other hand and for Cotto's corner the question becomes how well their response rate is going to be if and when Cotto gets in trouble. In a big fight like this a fighter needs to hear a clear message. It might be hard for him to receive a clear message after listening to Evangelista for so long. So something he might be used could get lost in translation with the new messenger.
"If Cotto gets cut in this one, it is a lot different from the Clottey fight. Clottey sets a pace and sticks with it for most of the fight. But not Pacquiao because he switches up. So the question becomes will the corner be able to keep Cotto in the right mindset, work on the cut and still give him the right information? That will be the hardest part of their job that night and it will be admirable if they can get it done for their fighter."
"I think Manny Pacquiao is going to steal the fight that night. He is good at letting his size fool people and when they see him darting around the ring looking scrappy, boxing and moving and he's not KO'd, it translate to a round for him. But calling Pacquiao little in this weight class is like calling Mike Tyson a little heavyweight. Pacquiao is a solid guy but his size fools people. He knows how to make the round look like the little guy is dominating a big man.
"Cotto is capable of beating him but for him the game plan is essential and he has to stay true to that plan."
Trainer Arturo Gatti, Antonio Tarver, Vernon Forrest
"Pacquiao might have the psychological edge here as he totally trust Freddie and is very comfortable with him. Cotto's trainer Joe Santiago has never been in this situation before and it is important how he handles it. If he, Joe, can remain calm, not get caught up in the media hype, they should be okay. I don't know him or his frame of mind but it is a big stage for someone who hasn't been there before.
"I don't think it is going to come down to either corner. These guys are veterans who know how to make adjustments while they are fighting. In that sense, Cotto is a better adjuster than Pacquiao, as he has had to do in several fights already. I don't remember a fight (except the Marquez fight) when Pacquiao was in trouble like Cotto has been. I think Cotto can give Pacquiao trouble and then we will see how he handles it.
Trainer Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Vernon Forrest, Juan Diaz and Rocky Juarez
"Miguel Cotto is a legitimate welterweight that proves himself time and time again. I think fighting at 145 lbs is not going to be a problem for Cotto. Its just two pounds under the welterweight limit. He's got good strength, and first of all, his loss to Margarito proves to me that he can take a great shot. Second, Margarito is a big guy, and Pacquiao is a small guy. Pacquiao has a lot of speed, but I just feel that Cotto is going to walk through him. There is no way that Pacquiao is going to be able to wear Cotto down. As the fight goes on, Cotto is going to get much stronger. I think he's going to put the pressure on Pacquiao.
"We all saw in the De La Hoya fight, how Pacquiao used speed to his advantage. Pacquiao does pack a good punch. But Cotto's defense will offset him getting hit so much. Pacquiao cannot take Cotto's punches throughout the 12 rounds.
On The Corners-
Both fighters have good trainers. They both know what they are doing. But trainers can only help his guy so much. The fighter has to follow what the game plan is. I know that both trainers have a Plan B and possibly a Plan c should something go wrong. All in all, it really is up to the fighter. The trainers can only direct so much to the fighter. The fighter needs to go out there and have the confidence he can do what the trainer wants him to do. And if it doesn't work, you need to gut it out, and both guys have the ability to do that. But I think that it the advantage is for Cotto who has that power. And on the opposite end, I don't think that Pacquiao can hurt him enough.
Rebounding From Trouble Coming off of Last Fight-
I don't know why they criticized the corner. I think that Cotto did a great job against Clottey. I don't see why they criticized the trainer. The most important thing is what the judges think. The winner was Cotto, and I don't understand how can you criticize them for winning. If they lost, maybe you go back and say they should have done something different. In the fight, they have a game plan, and it falls to the fighter to follow it. If the fighter goes off the plan, that's when the corner must tell the fighter to make adjustments.
If anything, I think Clottey's corner messed up.
Both Roach and Santiago are good trainers, so both guys know what they are doing. Freddie Roach has shown that he has the capabilities to help his guy win, but the other guy has also done some things. This is only his second fight with Cotto, but he has shown the same thing. Neither one has the advantage. Freddie has more experience in the big fight, but that really doesn't mean anything.
I haven't seen Pacquiao cut recently, which shows the defense that he has. I have seen Cotto cut, but it didn't seem to bother him. But again, both guys have had the experience of being cut, so it's not going to be new to either one of them. It may favor Cotto though, because he has been cut and it hasn't bothered him.
If he uses his boxing skills, Cotto can get late stoppage. It's tough to get a knockout against Pacquiao, but I just think Cotto will have what it takes and he'll have the advantage in the end."
Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, has won six world titles in as many different weight divisions ranging from 112 to 140 pounds. Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs), from Caguas, Puerto Rico has held a world title every year since 2004.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with MP Promotions, Miguel Cotto Promotions, MGM Grand and Tecate, Firepower: Pacquiao vs. Cotto will take place Saturday, November 14 at the sold out MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev. and will be produced and distributed Live on HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
HBO's® fast-moving reality series "24/7 Pacquiao/Cotto" returns with an all new episode This Saturday! November 7 at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT. The four-episode series chronicles the preparations and back stories of both fighters as they train for their November 14 pay-per-view showdown. Episodes one and two are available on HBO ON DEMAND®.