The stats, the resumes, the weakness and strengths have been laid out, and re-laid, and laid out yet again for the past few weeks. You know who they are, their records and what they bring to the table. Now it's time to make your prediction on what goes down on Saturday night at the MGM Grand, when Manny Pacquiao, boxing's newest resident savior and transcendent personality, gloves up with Miguel Cotto, the current pugilistic deity belonging to the proud island of Puerto Rico.
Do you see Manny continuing his superhuman streak, taking out yet another larger physical specimen, utilizing his fearless forays, his superlative footwork and irrepressible joy as he goes about his business with the methodical precision of a jackhammer? Or do you see Cotto proving doubters wrong, telling all fans of the sweet science that the beating inflicted by Margarito was in fact not the start of an inevitable slide but actually an aberration, one off night for the classy boxer-puncher? Think Manny's hand speed will prove bewildering, and that the one he doesn't see will separate Cotto from his senses, and force a stoppage? Or perhaps Cotto will channel some Juan Manuel Marquez, and box with such intelligence and masterful ring generalship that the Vegas judges have no choice but to reward his technical brilliance after 12 rounds? Perhaps you see Cotto's left hook discombobulating Manny, and doing something that no one's done in ten years—stop Pacquiao.
Please consult your crystal ball, or your tarot cards or what have you, and toss out what you see occurring in the MGM ring on Saturday evening. Do share with us, and remember this: this Prediction Page will live on in perpetuity, and can easily be accessed in the months and years to come. So be smart with your analysis, and your pick, TSS Universe inhabitant. Because predictions are like marriage proposals: they can make you look like an Einstein, or a mental midget. Follow the lead of our staff of exceptional keyboard tappers, and dare to share!
RON BORGES Pacquiao by TKO in 9. Too fast for too long but he must beware of early trouble along the ropes. If he goes there too often he may get sent home early himself from a left hook.
RICK FOLSTAD Cotto by decision. If he survives the early rounds, he should take the fight. He has a good left hook to the head and body that could cause Pacquiao some problems. Also, he's more of a true welterweight than Manny.
RALPH GONZALEZ It's always hard to bet against Pacquiao. The Filipino has been proving boxing pundits wrong time and time again. What we have to take into consideration is that Cotto is not a washed-up De La Hoya and he's certainly a much more talented fighter than Ricky Hatton. I think that Cotto will attack the body like no has ever attacked Pacquiao and will therefore nullify his speed. If Pacquiao beats Cotto in any kind of decisive way then it's time to think about labeling "Pac Man" as the new "greatest." My intuition tells me Cotto will finally have his career defining win. I'm going with Cotto by late rounds stoppage.
JOHN (JJ) JAMES In the early rounds Pacquiao will get off first. He will show his speed and agility. He will find it easy getting to Cotto. Cotto will weather the early storm and concentrate on figuring his opponent out. He’ll target the body. He’ll miss with the hook in the early stanzas. The early rounds will go to Pacquiao. In the middle rounds Pacquiao will start to feel Cotto’s size. Cotto will cut off the ring and trap Pacquiao against the ropes every now and then. They’ll trade often. Cotto will begin to land more. Pacquiao will fire back. They will split the action-packed middle rounds. Cotto’s body work will begin to slow Pacquiao down. Cotto will start to come on stronger. He’ll be the busier fighter. Pacquiao will be game, but Cotto will be too strong. Cotto by SD.
FRANK (F-LO) LOTIERZO A style advantage along with speed and soaring confidence will carry Manny Pacquiao to a stoppage victory over Miguel Cotto before the tenth round.
MIKE LYNCH What Manny Pacquiao has accomplished in the last several years is nothing short of remarkable, but I get the feeling that he's pressing his luck in this one. Cotto is a much tougher customer than what awaited Pacman in any of his previous ventures north of 130 pounds and he is also anxious to prove his many doubters wrong. I like Cotto by late KO or decision. If Manny does win, I'll know I've witnessed greatness. But the way I see it, Cotto has been in the ring with bigger and quicker men and defeated them, making it hard to pick against him. Manny's work rate could be the x factor, though...
RAY (The Marksman) MARKARIAN If you truly break it down, Pacquiao's last two wins are not earth shattering. He beat an old, money hungry De la Hoya, and a washed up Ricky Hatton. Let the critics say what they will about Miguel Cotto. But I have him winning by decision. And my opinion is not based on his power and natural weight class. Cotto is a fabulous boxer. And he can adapt to any style. Cotto has beaten smaller, and quicker fighters in the past. He proved it against Zab Judah and Shane Mosley, and he will prove it again against Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao has the Jet Li Fearless thing going against him. He has too much on his plate right now in my book. Cotto by decision.
AARON TALLENT Tough one to call, but I think Pacquiao's power will be the deciding factor in the bout's final rounds. Pacquiao by KO.
MICHAEL (Editor Mike aka EM) WOODS I consider Manny Pacquiao, and I consider the infamous Business Week magazine from Aug. 13, 1979. The cover blurb screamed "The Death Of Equities" and the subhed read "How inflation is destroying the stock market." If you read that story, and pulled out from the market, and stowed your cash under your mattress, you missed a 1000% bull run over 20 years. The conventional wisdom in 1979 was that inflation was going to eat your money like a termite on HGH. Today, the conventional wisdom is that Manny Pacquiao is all that. He's too fast, too dialed in, too much a favorite of the gods, to lose. So———might it be time to apply some contrarian thinking, and consider that maybe all of us have been sipping too much of that purple Kool-Aid, and that we've made too much of Pacquiao wins against bigger, but severely flawed opponents, in David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton? Maybe, is my pathetically hedge-y answer. I'm still going with Manny in this one, citing three main factors. His hand speed, which is freakish. His wondrous footwork, which will help him get the angles he wants to tag Cotto with some fierce shots which the Puerto Rican won't see. And Cotto's tendency to fade late. Doesn't matter that he's stepped up his track work. What occurred against Shane Mosley and Joshua Clottey will likely occur again, and Manny is too much of a piranha not to eat up Cotto's fade. Now, I see Cotto's left hook wobbling Manny a couple times, more than we've seen him touched since Marquez managed it. But Pacman continues his majestic run, nabbing a UD that isn't without its harrowing moments for the Filipino.