Thursday, July 30, 2009

Manny Pacquiao: Too Old To Make History?

Vivek Wallace

Many have made the pending Pacquiao/Cotto fight a measure of speed versus power, but considering the fact that both men technically possess both, the focus shifts to another, less prominent factor that could ultimately decide the outcome. Pacquiao has been in a countless amount of showdowns over the years. [Morales (3), Barrera (2), Marquez (3), and many others]. After a laundry list of battles against such marquee opponents, extensive wear and tear comes without question, but when you parallel that with the fact that Pacquiao will enter the ring for the first time since going north of the super-featherweight class as the older man, facing an opponent who's younger, stronger, and in his prime, the plot thickens considerably. There have been no signs of Pacquiao slowing down at this stage in his career, but the Filipino slugger made it pretty clear in multiple interviews within the last year that politics isn't the only reason why he's considering to hang 'em up. 54 fights under his belt by the age 30! That's a pace that no longer exist in the sport. Clearly, Pacquiao has hustled throughout his career to get to the top where he now stands, but Cotto's plan is to remind him that there's only one direction to go in when you reside that high. A good question here is exactly what role will Pacquiao's past history play in his ability to make current history?

Pacquiao/Cotto: No Belts...Cool...Let It All Hang Out!

Ok, a little over a week ago, we were told that the Cotto/Pacquiao fight was a done deal by Top Rank head man, Bob Arum. Here we stand nearly two weeks later, and suddenly we're slapped with the realization that not only is there more negotiations necessary, but the two fighters at the center of this spectacle have yet to put their autographs on the paper! They say money is the root to all evil, and in this case, that statement holds true. To my understanding, the whole snag about the sanctioning fees not being paid is born out of the fact that Cotto (by Arum's own admission) "doesn't want to pay his fee". But it goes deeper than that. What hasn't been said is that Cotto won't pay his portion of the sanctioning fee to accommodate Pacquiao's bid for history without Pacquiao agreeing to divide a larger portion of the gate/PPV money. There's a total of $340K that needs to be paid. $150K from both fighters, and $40K from Arum. Cotto isn't trying to make history, Pacquiao is, so the logical question here (if this is in fact the case).....If Pacquiao doesn't want to concede extra money in the gate/PPV area, why not simply front the money for the sanctioning fee himself since it is his bid for the unprecedented 7th world title in 7 different weight classes? I think he deserves the historical accolade, but looks like it'll have to be done by him and Arum since Cotto apparently won't comply. To kill this massive headache, if it can be done this way, why not?

Roach/Pacquiao: Speed Kills or Speed Killed?

Master-mind Freddie Roach recently stated that he wants Manny Pacquiao to use speed "to tire" Miguel Cotto out. When you look at the dynamics behind that request, things get awfully intriguing. Clearly, Pacquiao is the faster fighter, but coming into their respective fights, so was Shane Mosley and Zab Judah. Cotto isn't known as a speedster, but Joshua Clottey once stated to me boldly that not only is Cotto the hardest hitting welterweight in the division, but his speed is very deceptive, because his timing is deadly. Few fighters in the sport have the lower base power (legs) of Manny Pacquiao, but against Marquez many can remember Pacquiao being timed on his way in and had it not been for the end of that particular round being only 10 seconds away, we may not be waiting to see this particular fight. Pacman's conditioning is always superb and will clearly play a huge role, but the operative question here is how well does Pacman handle this type of power if Cotto is able to use that "deceptive speed" to catch him off guard first?

Vernon Forrest: Another Loss Soldier

The sport of boxing has tragically lost another soldier in the recent murder of "The Viper", Vernon Forrest. Recent months have been very tough in the world of boxing. After the stunning and sudden losses of Alexis Arguello and Arturo Gatti, it was a dreadful feeling to be awakened by a text message bearing this news. What's even more upsetting is that there's no logical reason for this. These weren't soldiers who were lost at combat, but they were soldiers lost...unfortunately, forever, under odd circumstances, and all clearly too soon. What is this world coming to? Condolences to his family, and may he rest in peace.

Bernard Hopkins: Pacman Will 'Execute' Scarface

Legendary boxer Bernard Hopkins has come out and stated that he thinks Manny Pacquiao will get the nod over Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto because he "doesn't see Cotto's face holding up for 12 rds". This is an interesting perspective, because no doubt, Pacquiao will aim to tenderize that twice badly opened gash above his left-eye. What's ironic about this whole thing is that despite Pacquiao being left-handed, within recent months he has put in solid work with his right-hand and some would argue it's actually a better weapon because when he uses it, few are still standing for the follow up left. This truth means that Cotto will need to find a way to watch out for both...a wicked left, or a polished up right. The odds of him avoiding both are about as slim as he'll need to be to step in the ring for this 145lb catchweight fight. Pacquiao may or may not get to that cut mark, but if he does and the blood starts to rain, we've learned in two fights now that Cotto is a different man when his blood hits the canvas. Hopkins has been long known for his ring intellect and appears to be right on point. But what he didn't point out here for Pacman can he make it easier to get close enough inside to open that old cut or a new one?

Timothy Bradley: Snitches Get Stitches

The old adage has it that "snitches get stitches". In this case, Bradley didn't tell on someone else....what he did was tell on himself. The talented jr. welterweight was honest enough recently to reveal that after watching Nate "Galaxxy Warrior" Campbell defeat Juan Diaz a year ago, he said "I don't ever want to get in the ring with that dude"! Well, what a difference a year makes? Fast forward a few months, add a few pounds, a new belt, and a few extra dollars to the equation, and suddenly, that's exactly what he's on the brink of doing. Anyone who has seen Bradley go to work know that he brings a lot of heart and tons of talent, but never before has he stepped in with a fighter like this. He said that getting mega fights is his biggest dream. Unfortunately for him, his rite-of-passage will be going through a man that plans to give him nightmares. Is he ready?

Oh, Buddy: Tough time for Boxings Buddy McGirt

Lost in the various other topics around the sport is the fact that the recent tragic losses have been felt by one man more than any other. That man is none other than famed trainer Buddy McGirt, who once steered the careers of both Vernon Forrest and Arturo Gatti. McGirt, never known to make a lot of noise in the first place, has been fairly quiet in wake of the devastating news, but one could imagine the pain he must feel to lose two of his most coveted fighters in a three week span. A silent prayer goes out to him. Hopefully he can manifest their warrior spirit within him to carry on.

Kelly Pavlik: Any Press Is Good Press? Well, Then Again....

It seems that lately, the only time we hear about Kelly Pavlik is when there's some not-so-good news to pass. First there was rumors of issues within his camp. Then there were rumors of him being admitted to AA for alcohol related problems. Now, there's mention of an alleged bar house brawl. With all of that in the rear-view, I thought at least we would get some good news about his still up in the air showdown with Paul Williams. Unfortunately, the ticker that addressed this topic recently was in no mood to change the tone, as even that was reported to have hit a snag. I guess when it rains, it pours, and considering the last 12 months in the life of Pavlik, there's no better time than the present to usher in a little sunshine. The fight with Williams isn't quite dead in the water, and hopefully by the time this piece hits the airwaves, a deal would be struck. Arum and Team Pavlik don't appear to be in the mood to budge on their current offer, but realistically, what else is left for him?

Source: (July 29, 2009)

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