Tag Archives: Miguel Cotto

Manny Pacquiao:Pound-for-pound champ? Try best ever

The esteemed Larry Merchant on HBO echoed what must have been in the minds of others who just witness MannyPacquiao win his seventh world championship in seven weight classes: “We thought he was great, but he was better than we thought.”

That statement at the end of the fight offically ends the period we shall call “The  Under-estimation of Manny Pacquiao.”  No matter what, Pacquiao keeps proving the doubters wrong with his lethal combination of spirit, charm, and boxing brilliance.

It’s easy to see how dismissive people can be of Manny. When I first met him, I was frankly stunned by his size. I was taller than he was. But who would put a dollar on me going 30 seconds with Manny?

He’s the guy who walks down the street you don’t figure him to be much more than the parking valet. But given the chance to prove himself, he wows you with a determination and skill far greater than his size.

Last night was a real milestone. For all of boxing’s cruelty, the weight class divisions are intended to make things fair so that a big guy can’t bully a little guy. It levels the playing field. So what does it say, when a guy keeps rising in rank, seven weight classes, and not just performs but excels at the highest level?

We’ve really got something special here. Far greater than anyone would have imagined. Pacquiao proved it in the ring last night.

Going up in class? No problem. Here’s a guy whose fists are affirmative action.

Pacquiao took Miguel Cotto’s savage punches like he was a “Rock’em-Sock’em robot.” When Manny’s head would snap back, I gasped. Cotto was bigger and more powerful than any of Manny’s previous opponents. So I admit I was concerned, especially by Cotto’s size. But then, Manny would come back and counter, as he did  in the 4th round. Throughout the fight, Manny  revealed his version of Ali’s “rope-a-dope.” Call it  the “ropeless-rope-a dope,” out in the middle, fist-up, elbows together fortress style. It was there to let Cotto punch himself out.  Then Manny would uncover and find a crevice in Cotto’s defense. A right hand then a left hook caught Cotto in the 4th for the second knockdown of the fight. It was the beginning of the end.

Cotto, as he was inthe Clottey fight, was badly cut and bleeding. So much vaseline and swabbing of blood. I said it would go TKO in the 10th. The fight should have been stopped after 9. Only the macho pride of Cotto would keep it until the 12th.

Now the talk is of the next fight. Everyone says Mayweather. Who is to doubt Pacquiao? The “Understimaton of Manny” has officially ended.

The Pacquiao-Cotto fight is a reminder of America’s colonial past

Pacquiao and Cotto?

Not since the Spanish American War have we had the pitting of Philippine and Puerto Rican interests   (I dare not count the time I shared a common sink in my Harvard co-op with two beautiful Puerto Rican sisters).

The history books tell the tale of how the Republic of the Philippines and Puerto Rico were intertwined in  America’s colonial past.  But this time the colonizer is promoter Bob Arum, who straddles both fighters, and stands to make millions as he watches his two stars try to rip the other’s head off.

It’s going to be a war, said Arum on one of the promotion films on the fight. He even admitted feeling somewhat conflicted.

But not when he begins to count up the money.

Perhaps it’s not his fault that he finds himself the promoter of both sides of an incredible spectacle the world is willing to pay millions for: Two average-sized tattooed men in their underwear  pummeling each other in three minute intervals.

In the fight game, small is beautiful now. Good for both Pacman and Cotto.  Better for Arum.

My prediction?  As an American Filipino, I have my biases. Pacquiao’s part of the metaphor means so much for the Philippines and to those of Filipino descent world-wide.

To Filipinos, Pacquiao is like a one- man Yankees.  

He’s the feel-good  symbol for all Filipino endeavors.  He is the “Si se puede” guy  for Filipinos.  It’s a chance for history. World championship titles in 7 divisions? That’s an unprecedented walk up the evolutionary chart of boxing. 

If he loses, the psychic damage will require more than a visit to the faith healer.

If he wins….then Manny Pacquiao for president is not a joke.

But Cotto is no pushover opponent. He is a true man of 140 pounds or more, the biggest Pacquiao has faced. If you saw the Cotto-Clottey fight, then you know Cotto, bloodied, battered, can hang.  He’s a slow, plodder, who doesn’t go down.

The contrast should be evident. Pacquiao is a ducker and a dancer. He’s fast.  Cotto may have power, but it won’t matter if he doesn’t catch Pacquiao.  If Pacquiao can keep dancing, while dishing out his own barrage of punches, then I call it Manny’s in 10 by TKO.

But, of course,  Bob Arum wins no matter what.