Cotto Says No Way To Number 7 For Pacman

BY David A. Avila ON November 11, 2009
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FYI:

With most of the world stuck in the middle of the recession blues, it’s important to peruse any means necessary to imbibe in one’s vices; be they drinking a 12-pack of Mexican beer or watching a prizefight of mega proportions.

So why not combine the two?

Tecate is offering a $25 rebate to those purchasing a 12-pack and purchasing the pay-per-view card featuring pound for pound champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KOs) and WBO welterweight titleholder Miguel Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs) on Saturday Nov. 14, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

By the way, the Tecate girl on the left of the photo with Pacquiao is Ana and she will be appearing in the Green Hornet movie coming soon. “I’m in the opening scene,” she says.

Okay fans,  let’s get down to the fight.

Pacquiao has been working his way up division by division like one of those Brazilian army ants that devour everything in its way. Flyweights, junior featherweights, featherweights, junior lightweights, lightweights, junior welterweights and now a welterweight stands in his way the way a giant oak tree might pose a problem.

Will Cotto be a smorgasbord for Pacman or will the weight be too much?

Ever since Pacquiao stepped inside the Wild Card Gym around 2001 the Filipino prizefighter with the shock of spiky black hair and blurring punches has bewildered all that come before him.

I remember when he was given a chance to fight Lehlo Ledwaba for the title. I had seen the South African fighter defend the IBF title for the first time on the under card of Shane Mosley and Wilfredo Rivera on 1999 at an outdoor show in Temecula. He knocked out the opponent that night and proceeded to send three more via the same concussive results until he met hard-headed Carlos Contreras of Mexico.

When Ledwaba was announced by the HBO crew that night they barely gave the Filipino a chance. All they knew was this Ledwaba guy was great. If they had seen him train at Freddie Roach’s gym they would have immediately realized that Pacquiao was this pocket-sized Mike Tyson who despite his size, packed Tyson-like results.

That night HBO and the rest of the world saw what only a few Southern Californians knew: Pacquiao was special.

Now, here we are, almost nine years later, talking about that same guy contending for his seventh world title in seven different weight divisions?

Nobody has done it.

Perhaps in the past if there had been junior divisions like today fighters like Henry Armstrong, Sam Langford or Mickey Walker might have accomplished the same feat, but it was a different time.

He’s yet to hit any visible ceiling.

Cotto, who is a former junior welterweight champion and now a two-time welterweight champion, takes exception to be listed as a speed bump even for the speedy Pacquiao.

“If he thinks he is going to win seven titles in seven weight classes now, he has picked the wrong moment, the wrong fighter and the wrong opponent,” Cotto said.

Now that’s a champion talking.

The Puerto Rican body puncher with his near peek-a-boo style that morphs into a left-handed slickster or right-handed dancer has proven to have courage. He could have packed his bags and called it a career after getting demolished by Mexico’s Antonio Margarito. He could have cried foul and hoped that America would listen to him. And he could have fought lesser competition such as some undefeated fighter from the savage state of Indiana or Montana. But he didn’t. He beat Joshua Clottey to get here and that’s no cupcake.

“A win over Manny Pacquiao and all that bad stuff is erased,” said Freddie Roach, who trains and advises Pacquiao. “Cotto breaks people down, I’ve watched tapes. We have to throw little bit of a curveball at him. He’s a really strong fighter. He knows distance very well. We have a speed advantage so we have to use it in a wise way.”

With both fighters in Las Vegas and the fans pouring in to the gambling Mecca, the tough talk has yet to surface, but the confidence level of both fighters is high.

“Heart, mind and skill, you put them altogether and that’s what its going to take to win this fight,” said Cotto while in Los Angeles last week. “My commitment to myself (is his strength) I can stop the fight at any time.”

Pacquiao remains confident yet understated.

“May the best man win,” says Pacquiao.

Fans win either way. It should be memorable.

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