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List of Articles by Sid Bañez


By Sid Bañez
14 Nov 2009

Flashback (Pacquaio-Morales II): In a post-fight interview, winner Erik Morales gloated that he was simply too big and too powerful for Manny Pacquiao. The intensely proud Morales was belittling the fact that from the fifth round onwards, he was fighting essentially a one-eyed warrior,blood oozing from the gallant Filipino’s nasty cut above the eye. Amidst the euphoria, Morales was conveniently forgetting that his knees buckled in the twelfth, nearly causing him the fight.

On hindsight now, Morales was not too big nor too powerful for Pacquiao, who avenged his loss with two stunning knockouts.

Fast forward today: Natural welterweight Miguel Cotto and his supporters have been proclaiming the same theme: He’s bigger, stronger and younger. This time, the claim doesn’t sound like mere braggadocio. The Puerto Rican champion can hit incredibly hard. When he digs with his right to the rib cage one wonders if his right – and not his more dangerous left – is his real weapon of destruction.

Body shots are long term investments; you reap the dividends in the later rounds. The more a boxer invests in body shots the greater the rewards when most needed.

To be sure, Manny took a lot of body shots from Morales and probably gave as much. But Cotto’s body shots will more powerful and more precise, judging from the way he dished them out against Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosley. As to whether Cotto could land enough body shots to discourage and eventually hurt Pacquiao would be most interesting to observe, especially if the fight lasts the distance. In short, it’s a given that Cotto’s body shots are top quality but can he land them in sufficient quantity?

I don’t relish the idea of Cotto talking like Morales in a post-fight interview about how much more powerful he was.

Freddie Roach has said that the fight plan is for Manny not to get hit too much. By that he certainly meant not to get hit by body shots. It’s evident in Pacquiao’s training videos that his moves are designed to evade the rights to the body. Concern for Cotto’s power is mainly on the champion’s body shots, especially with the right.

Forget Morales. The way I see it, Cotto who makes quick and masterful adjustments in the ring can put up a Marquez type of fight. Like Marquez, Cotto can counterpuch effectively. But unlike Marquez he can also box beautifully and brawl dangerously with hand and foot speed to boot. Nevertheless, especially in the second fight, Marquez showed the world Pacquiao could not intimidate him as he continued to clinically press on, round after after round. If Cotto could show such courage against Pacquiao’s shock and awe artillery in the early and middle rounds, the outcome could be in the judges’ hands.

How early is early? Pacquiao should stop him earlier than de did Oscar dela Hoya, that is on or before the eighth round.Otherwise, when Cotto’s body shots start yielding dividends by slowing down the Filipino, it would be Cotto’s showtime. It has been pointed out that Manny did not stop dela Hoya and Pacman loyalists insist the Golden Boy would have been dropped had he not quit. Maybe. But it is a fact that despite the severe beating he got, Dela Hoya lasted until the beginning of he ninth round. If Cotto remains standing until the ninth round, it could spell trouble for Manny, judging from the results of the first fight with Morales and the second with Marquez, both of which lasted the distance.

Fighting Cotto will probably be the toughest in the Pacman’s career and the betting odds don’t give fans a realistic picture. But Manny has achieved many “unrealistic” feats. Another one may be achieved on November 14.

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