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article imageOp-Ed: Team Cotto is Underestimating Manny Pacquiao

By Ariel A. Avenasa     Oct 24, 2009 in Sports
Agitated by Freddie Roach’s bold pronouncement of a first-round knockout for pound-for-pound boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and head trainer Joe Santiago recently issued separate statements to the contrary.
It appears that the recent pronouncements made by Team Pacquiao head trainer Freddie Roach of a first-round knockout by the Pacman has gotten under the skin of WBO Welterweight Champion Miguel Cotto and his head trainer Joe Santiago. Both have issued separate statements recently out of their training facility at the Fight Factory in Tampa, Florida denouncing Roach’s bold prediction and instead expressed confidence that it will be them who will come out on top in the coming November 14th pay-per-view fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
In an article posted by Mark Vester of, Cotto said:
“I have never seen a fighter win with the talking of his trainer. So I want to tell Freddie Roach, Miguel Cotto and his team do not care. The important thing here is that I’m not going to see the face of Freddie Roach in the ring. I will be in there with Manny Pacquiao. He (Roach) can say anything, try anything, to draw attention and try to be the hero of this whole promotion. But on November 14 we will see who talks in the end, the ones who did all the talking or the ones who stayed silent”.
Meanwhile, Miguel Cotto’s head trainer Joe Santiago who is handling lead corner man chores for only the second time after being promoted to the head trainer position from his previous post as Team Nutritionist, expressed his own sentiments during the team’s media conference call earlier this week:
“Cotto is the first true welterweight that he (Pacquiao) will have fought in his career that is young and still in his prime so that is what Pacquiao is facing.”
Pacmanian Devil aka the Whirling Dervish
Pacmanian Devil aka the Whirling Dervish
“I wouldn’t say that Manny’s opponents have not been quality fighters because we know they are. We know Oscar De Le Hoya and we know Ricky Hatton and their careers and that’s the way we look at it. Miguel is obviously at the point of his career when we know he is at his best and he’s going to show everyone that he is at his best. I think Manny Pacquiao is in for a tough night”
Santiago’s statements leave the impression that in some way , somehow, Team Cotto is underestimating Manny Pacquiao. It’s almost as if deep inside they believe with all their heart that their guy by virtue of him being the natural Welterweight, will simply be too strong and too powerful for Pacquiao who will be the one coming up in weight. Pacquiao’s recent victories over similarly bigger guys Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton notwithstanding.
If that is the case, then Team Cotto could be in for a rude awakening.
Santiago added, “I think that Miguel has shown everybody that he can deal with speed, with Mosley and with Zab Judah. I don’t think it is a problem with speed. I think the rhythm that Manny brings to the fight, I don’t think people think Miguel can stay with that speed. But I think he will. I not only think he can stay with the rhythm but I think he will enjoy fighting that kind of fight. I think it will be a very interesting fight and I think Miguel will come out victorious in the fight by just doing what he always does, coming forward, throwing punches and being strong”
Sure, Miguel Cotto has dealt with speed before but he hasn’t met the kind of whirling dervish speed and activity that Manny Pacquiao brings. And when you add the Pacman’s power, weird punching angles, and the marked improvement in his defense into the equation then there’s almost no way to prepare for it except perhaps to pray that you’ll catch him with a lucky punch come fight night.
Underestimating Pacquiao based on size superiority alone could lull Miguel Cotto into a false sense of security , one that could leave him vulnerable and bewildered when faced with the kind of furious activity that the Pacman will definitely unleash come fight night, under Roach’s masterful direction.
Underestimating Manny Pacquiao is a fatal mistake that has been made by far too many decorated warriors before. We don’t have to look too far back for examples of those who have underestimated the Pacman and paid for it dearly, just ask Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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