In two days, Manny Pacquiao, the Pound-for-Pound top boxer in the world, will fight Puerto Rican sensation Miguel Cotto for the WBO Welterweight belt. Having a lot of Filipino friends, it's only natural that I'll be rooting for Manny this Saturday. Still, let's take a closer look at his upcoming opponent.
Cotto is strong, and has lots of heart, which makes him a difficult opponent for anybody. He's tough to keep down, and has only one loss in his professional career. Furthermore, he's a downright terrifying in-fighter, and his body hooks can easily take the wind out of Manny's sails if our man isn't too careful. Still, as you can see from the video, there are significant holes in his game.
He gets hit a great deal, often relying on his tough chin to break through his opponent's punches in order to deal damage. This may not work on Manny too well, who's known for his blinding hand speed and agile footwork. Watch out for Pac-Man keeping him at bay with quick jabs to the face, followed by side-step and cross punches to the temple.
His main weapons are his Left Hook and his Right Straight. This is actually dangerous for Manny, being a southpaw (left-handed) fighter. A southpaw's right body side is closer to the left hook, and right straights are best for closing the distance against lefties. However, whereas Manny utilizes a variety of punches to confuse his opponent, Cotto has specialized these two weapons and used them in every fight. I have no doubt that Coach Roach has prepared Pacquiao to defend against them well. Watch out for some nasty counters against them.
Lastly, Cotto's shown himself to be a volatile fighter. When emotions run high, fight plans crumble. If Manny can frustrate him early in the fight, I see Cotto making serious errors in the later rounds. Capitalizing on these, a stellar knockout seems imminent.
I predict a 6th round KO by my man, the National Fist, the Fighting Pride of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao.