By Randy De La O
Maybe the spectre of Antonio Margarito was in the ring last night with Miguel Cotto, or maybe it was just that Manny Pacquiao was just too good a fighter for Cotto. (You think?") Either way, niether Cotto nor his corner had an answer for Pacquiao. I don't know that anyone fighting today has an answer. Floyd Mayweather Jr? I don't think he has the balls. Sugar Shane Mosley? I'm not quite as sure as I was before last nights fight but if any fighter today can go toe to toe with Pacquiao and match his hand speed, it's Mosley. Juan Manuel Marquez? At one time but not anymore.
Cotto kept the fight competitive for the first half of the fight, despite getting knocked down in the third and fourth rounds. Once Manny got his groove on, the fight became a one sided beat down. Cotto, in full survival mode, sought only to end the fight on his feet. That alone took more heart than most of us can imagine. There was no quit in Cotto last night and for that alone he should be applauded.
Going into this fight I thought Cotto would win, not easily but I thought he would win. My reasons were sound and valid but there are always the intangibles. We can't see what lurks beneath a fighter's skin or what goes on in his head. My guess is, if I can say this with out taking anything away from Pacquiao, is that Cotto still suffered from the beating he took from Antonio Margarito. That became evident as the fight wore on. That's not making an excuse for Cotto either. He made the decision to fight Pacquiao and he alone lives with the consequences.
With this win over Miguel Cotto, Pacquiao has proven himself to be the undisputed "Pound for Pound" King. I can imagine that every champion from 152 up was breathing a sigh of relief when Pacquiao announced that the welterweights, 147, is his last stop. That is where he will remain.
I don't know why they allow the fighters to be interviewed prior to the fight but someone should have wrapped duct tape across Larry Merchant's mouth last night. In an act of thoughtless stupidity, the mentally bereft Merchant brought up the Margarito beating just before fight time. Why put that in Cotto's head? Why plant the seed of doubt?
Was it a great fight? It had it's moments in the first half and Pacquiao definitely gave a great performance but it evolved into a one sided beating when Cotto realized there was nothing he could do to stop Pacquiao.
My wife Jeri said it best when Cotto, in one of the later rounds was walking to his corner "The poor guy really looks lost". That about sums it up.
The fight, for Cotto's WBO Welterweight title, which took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, was stopped 55 seconds into round 12 by referee Kenny Bayless.