By Lee Payton
Anyone who comes here already knows that the World junior-welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao is fighting Miguel Cotto at a catchweight of 145 lbs. Whether or not Cotto's strap will be on the line is unclear at the moment.
Here are my thoughts on the fight and the weight...
First off, congrats to Bob Arum for getting the deal done. As promoter of both fighters, he stands to make a killing. He may get another meaningless belt for his biggest client, while keeping the other one happy with a juicy paycheck.
It's not a fight I would have asked for as I don't think Cotto has earned the shot and I'm fairly certain he'll lose by KO in what should be a painful affair.
I thought Cotto lost to Clottey in a close one, and I find the excuse that he brings more money to the table than the other possibilities in Vegas quite lame. The venue would have been sold out either way and Shane Mosley has been in more big PPV fights. This isn't New York where Cotto has some pull. Mosley was never really in the running for this fight. The haggling over weight made that abundantly clear.
Cotto is a top 5 welter in the world, and if the Pac-Man blasts by him, that's enough of an accomplishment on it's own. There's no need to staple a trinket to it, and in 20 years I won't remember this fight as the night Manny Pacquiao won his 49th belt, I'll just think of it as the time he beat Miguel Cotto at 145 lbs.
The fight itself should be an entertaining one, though I think it will turn into a bloodbath after 3 or 4 rounds. How is Pacquiao going to miss? He's way faster, and a full level above as a total package. It will be another example of how overrated a size advantage can be. Skills, speed and style will nullify the difference in weight for this one.
As far as 145 is concerned, I can see both sides of the argument. After some time and practice I was able to train myself into totally ignoring the alphabet titles. Cotto is a welterweight contender in my eyes, so I don't have a huge problem with a catch-weight. If you do care about the belts even a little, or see Miguel as the top guy, I get why you might find 145 annoying. Title fights with made up weight limits are kinda silly, but so are the sanctioning organizations.
I think Miguel can make the weight and still be what he is. Cutting the extra pound or two won't do him any favours, but he's young enough to recover from what will probably be a 12-14 lb dry-out/re-hydration process. No matter what they weigh-in at, the difference will be around 10 lbs in the ring. I'll guess 148 for Manny and 158 for Miguel, give or take a lb.
It's just a fight. Neither the weight nor the title will matter to any of your friends who will want to see it. Should be fun.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009
By Lee Payton