By John Bardelli
Another fight bust! Pacquiao and Cotto. Great fight? Nada! At an earlier time when writing was more laborious than it is today, I might have called my folks after seeing the fight and told them in describing the fight ---- "Nothing to get excited about and nothing to write home about."
Anything but a great fight from my vantage! And, in reality, nothing really exciting about the match aside from some early anticipation about whether Cotto was going to be effective in some exchanges with Manny. Once that anticipation left us by the second, third, fourth or fifth round, the only question became whether or not Pacquiao really has the fire power --- which many think he has by virtue of his demolition of Ricky Hatton --- and whether Pacquiao would take out Miguel Cotto in the same fashion. It was clear after the fifth round that the hand writing was on the wall and Cotto was in survival mode.
Pacquiao made the fight as he was the aggressor, throughout, with the possible exception of the first round. Incidentally, while many gave the first round to Cotto because he caught Pacquiao with several jabs, I gave the round to Pacquiao as he controlled the tempo and landed the more effective and harder shots during the round. The only round I gave to Cotto was the 5th, ironically, where he showed a little aggressiveness after having been floored in the 4th round, the knockdown being a much more convincing knockdown than when he was caught with a right chop in the 2nd round.
I am thrilled my prediction of a Cotto knockout in the 9th or 10th rounds went astray. Not at any single moment did Cotto pose a threat to Pacquiao. Cotto fought a defensive fight throughout the evening as evidenced by where he held his gloves --- in a style reminiscent of a peek-a-boo stance sans hand speed, sans foot speed, and without an ounce of the type of ruggedness which I anticipated he would bring into the ring with him as he had done in mauling Zab Judah, and thereby bullying Pacquiao to places he didn't want to be and then let his power shine forth. There was no demonstration of power this evening. Marguerito took the fight out of Cotto as well as the desire he once had. I assumed he was still a powerful puncher.
Au contraire, the only power I saw this evening was that brought into the ring by Pacquiao --- and he didn't demonstrate that he had much power as a welterweight. As welterweights, if either Cotto or Pacquiao had to fight Philadelphia's Gil Turner, let alone Kid Gavilan of the 50's, I don't think either would be on their feet come the 7th round. YouTube - Kid Gavilan (Cuba) v Gil Turner (USA) Municipal Stadium USA PART 1 OF 2 1952
There is a difference folks.
Cotto is finished. Pacquiao has more fights left in him and, presumably, as the welterweight champion he will fight at that weight. The clamor is for Pacquiao to take on Floyd Mayweather, another safety first customer. Mayweather and Pacquiao makes for a boring fight twelve round fight --- a ton of hype and a ton of anticipation during the match --- but little else.
Strange how this fight business goes. Miguel Cotto beats Shane Mosley. How in the hell did that happen? The Miguel Cotto who entered the ring against Manny Pacquiao this evening would last less than 5 rounds against the Shane Mosley we've seen in his last two fights against Mayorga and Marguerito. That Mosley beats the Pacquiao who fought this evening.
The hand writing is on the wall. I am happy that Manny Pacquiao left the ring tonight having tasted only a modicum of leather. The fans want more of him. His aura of invincibility grows but, off this showing, I would say that he is in deep trouble if he defends against Mosley or Joshua Clottey. I know very little of the other contending welterweights aside from Marguerito.
The day may come when Edwin Valero moves out of the lightweight division and lays a challenge to Manny Pacquiao. Some think that Valero is a wild novice who would be taken apart by a now veteran campaigner such as Manny Pacquiao. Let's see how Valero progresses over his next five fights. I think this kid has the goods and when he punches with that left hand it is not sent to say hello as an attention getter. He punches to say "sayonara" or "adios amigo" and all of Mr. Valero is sent with the goodnight kiss. How will he react when he, himself, is on the receiving end of some leather? I don't know and, additionally, I can't say whether or not he has fought any tough fighters who have hit him on the button more than once. That, too, awaits definition.
Manny Pacquiao has thrilled all his fans and rightfully deserves a hero's welcome when he returns to the Philippines. Although boxing fans would disagree with me, if Art Aragon were to advise Pacquiao he would say, "Manny, you've made millions. You may think that there is more to be made and that there are more mountains to climb. Son, I can only tell you that a fighter can never retire too early but he certainly can retire to late. Get out while you can with your health and faculties intact."
A lot has been said and written about the impact that Freddie Roach has had in training, and let's face it, in managing Manny Pacquiao. If Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao are as close as it is written, then Freddie Roach owes it to Manny Pacquiao to parrot the sage words of Art Aragon and tell Manny precisely that.
Time will tell.