Just Manny Being Manny

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: November 15, 2009

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Manny Pacquiao soundly defeated Miguel Cotto to capture the WBO welterweight championship at the MGM Grand on Saturday.

Manny Pacquiao soundly defeated Miguel Cotto to capture the WBO welterweight championship at the MGM Grand on Saturday.

NEW YORK (BASN) — Manny Pacquiao is the best fighter in the world.

For those that didn’t want to admit it and were unimpressed against “Pac-Man’s” wins over the likes of a damaged Ricky Hatton, a past-prime, easy to hit Oscar De La Hoya, an overmatched David Diaz, and two inconclusive battles with Juan Manuel Marquez, skeptics must credit Pacquiao following his recent victim.

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Having won for the 50th time as a professional boxer, Pacquiao captured an unofficial seventh division world title in what has to be the most impressive performance of his career.

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Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs) ceased the WBO welterweight championship from former two-division titlist Miguel Cotto (34-2, 27 KOs) with a twelfth round TKO victory. The bout, a co-promotion of Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, Inc., was televised on HBO Pay-Per-View from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV.

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The win marked the first time Pacquiao fought a dangerous-punching, solid welterweight in their prime.

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“I heard that he was bigger than me and was stronger than me,” said Pacquiao, a former world champion at 112, 122, 126, 130, 135, 140, and currently at 147 pounds. “I tried my best to knock him out in the last round. I thought in the 11th round that they will stop the fight.”

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The “Pac-Man” win also sets the stage of an increasingly, overwhelming demand for a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather boxing event next year.

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Miguel Cotto, once regarded as the best welterweight in the world following a pummeling of Zab Judah and a close decision win against Sugar Shane Mosley in 2007, proved to be more competitive than Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton combined. However, the result was the same – Pacquiao by TKO.

The difference was Pacquiao’s speed and timing.

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Cotto got off to a very fast start going tact-for-tact with Pacquiao. The 29 year-old Puerto Rican native was able to land his stiff left jab through the 30 year-old Filipino’s southpaw guard.

Cotto was successful in moving forward and applied good pressure. But Pacquiao is unlike anything Cotto has ever faced. Pacquiao footwork was swift, as he was able to move into, out of, and around Cotto’s punching range before firing with solid combinations out of the southpaw stance.

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A game and well-schooled Cotto proved tough and competitive until a sharp right hand dropped Cotto in round two. Cotto, returned to his feet, turned to southpaw and attacked Pacquiao.

Cotto landed three hard body shots to Manny’s midsection. Cotto moved forward, snapping Pacquiao’s head backwards with a left hook on one occasion.

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But Cotto’s aggression played right into Pacquiao strategy. Pacquiao in and out movement forced Cotto to miss often. The straight-forward Cotto, who dropped his hands on numerous occasions after punching, was the recipient of Pacquiao shots from unusual angles.

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In round three, Pacquiao floored Cotto with a right hook to the temple. Cotto was game and continued to fight back. Actually, Cotto was pummeling Pacquiao against the ropes with some heavy body shots.

Suddenly, Pacquiao shifted out of trouble and had Cotto trapped against the ropes. As Cotto moved forward, Pacquiao caught him with a sharp left hook that landed inside of Cotto’s right guard. Cotto sprawled on the canvas sideways.

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Once Pacquiao realized he could drop Cotto with a single shot, he stepped up his level of aggression. Cotto noticeably dropped his hands lower during exchanges. As the fight approached the later rounds, Cotto had increasingly-less steam in his movements and punches.

Midway through the fight, the aggressive Cotto that had the strength of a lion and the will of an army solider throughout his career, began to back-up. More and more, Cotto looked like the same fighter that started to crumble midway through his bout with Antonio Margarito before being stopped in the eleventh round of their bout in July 2008.

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Cotto’s desire to win was being broken down each minute by a fighter that fights to honor his country, his people, his promoters, and their bank accounts. Fueled by the fact that he is a third-world, international superstar, Manny is on an endless spiral toward boxing immortality.

Pacquiao is an official seven-division world champion.

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In the later rounds, Pacquiao continued his assault on Cotto. Pacquiao didn’t pummel Cotto the way Margarito did. In fact, Pacquiao annihilation of Cotto was more impressive. There wasn’t any speculation of any loaded gloves, as was the case when Maragrito was topped by Sugar Shane Mosley in January.

Pacquiao had better footwork; he landed naturally harder punches, and was a lot faster than Margarito. Pacquiao also took Cotto out of the fight after the second knockdown during round four – a round Cotto was winning.

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It was clear during the start of the eleventh round Cotto did not want to fight any longer. He didn’t want to absorb the Filipino’s punishment any longer, but he simply couldn’t give up.

Otherwise the boxing world would have labeled Cotto a quitter that could never redeem himself from not one, but now two brutal beating’s he endured in the last 16 months.

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Referee Kenny Bayless took Cotto out of his misery by waving-off the punishment at 55 seconds into the final round following another Pacquiao assault.

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Pacquiao fills heavyweight void

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The lack of action in the heavyweight division has forced both hardcore and casual fight fan, as well as television networks and members of the media to look elsewhere.

Of course legendary non-heavyweight such as Ray Robinson, Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Julio Cesar Chavez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, Alexis Arguello, Salvador Sanchez, and Henry Armstrong were extremely popular.

However, the cornerstone of boxing was the heavyweight division.

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Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano, Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, and Mike Tyson once-upon-a-time ruled the heavyweight division.

It seemed like ages ago because, the heavyweights lack action.

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The Klitschko Brothers, Wladimir and Vitali are the division’s two-headed monster, accompanied by newly crowned WBA heavyweight champion David Haye. But let’s face it, with little competition at heavyweight, Manny Pacquiao doesn’t make you forget there is a heavyweight division. Pacquiao makes you understand that there are not good heavyweights outside of Klitschko and Haye.

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The action that has been lacking the heavyweight division for quite sometime has been supplemented by Pacquiao’s brilliant display of speed, power, and skills by conquering the very best fighters in the lower weight divisions.

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The fighters that Pacquiao has defeated – Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barerra, and Erik Morales – were once the premiere fighters of their era and can are arguably regarded as future Hall of Fame boxers.

Pacquiao is a combined 7-1-1. He continues to be matched against and dispatch the best fighters in the world in decisive fashion. His successful trend will continue, as a mega fight with unbeaten Floyd Mayweather looms.

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Mosley-Berto set to unify welterweight titles

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The Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV will be rocking and rolling once more to start the New Year. Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010 is the date when WBA welterweight champion Sugar Shane Mosley (46-5, 39 KOs) attempts to unify his 147-pound title against undefeated WBC champion Andre Berto (25-0, 19 KOs). HBO will televise beginning at 10 pm ET.

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WBA welterweight champion Sugar Shane Mosley (left) and WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto will unify their 147 pound championships on January 23, 2010 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

WBA welterweight champion Sugar Shane Mosley (left) and WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto will unify their 147 pound championships on January 23, 2010 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

The bout will be Mosley’s first in more than one year since his spectacular WBA title knockout win against Antonio Margarito in January 2009. Mosley, 38, Pomona, CA, is the only fighter to defeat Oscar De La Hoya twice and Fernando Vargas twice.

Mosley hopes to begin 2010 by punishing Berto in spectacular fashion.

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“Andre Berto’s a good young fighter but he’s bitten off more than he can chew with all the talking he’s been doing,” Mosley said. “I’ve forgotten more about the fight game than he knows and the world will see that in January.”

Berto, 26, won the WBC welterweight championship in June 2008 when he stopped Michael Rodriguez in the seventh round. Since then, Berto has successfully defended his title three times – a trio of 12-round decisions against Steve Forbes, Luis Collazo, and Juan Urango.

“This is the fight I’ve waited my whole career for and now it’s finally a reality,” Berto said. “Shane Mosley made me chase him for a while, but he won’t be able to run when we get into the ring on January 30, and I can’t wait.”