PACQUIAO WATCH: This could end quick

14/11/2009 12:04

BOTH Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Angel Cotto tipped the scales well within the 145-lb contract limit Friday afternoon in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cotto seemed physically unbothered by the weight regimen watch and looked like very ready to rumble. He was a picture of a man possessed throughout the weigh in, fixing an ominous stare at the man beside him. He has been that since he arrived in the City of Sin.

Despite being the younger and bigger man, Cotto was obviously pissed and motivated by his underdog billing.

Those miens should spell danger for Pacquiao.

Pacquiao was in his usual jovial and relaxed self. The Filipino boxing superstar was oozing with self confidence – a portrait of a man about to enjoy his date with history and destiny.

I had reserved my take on the fight until the two fighters stepped on the weighing scale.

And I tell you.  Tomorrow’s biggest boxing event of the year will live up to its billing – a test and display of firepower.

And when two of boxing’s top-tier boxers collide, the MGM Grand arena will be rocking and fans all over the world will be holding their breaths every minute of the fight extravaganza.

So much has been said about each other’s strengths and weaknesses and everybody had already their piece of predictions.

But no one knows the protagonists better than themselves and their trainers.

When the two climb the ring tomorrow, it will no longer be a matter of who hits the hardest and moves the swiftest.

It will be a round by round tactical battle between two elite boxers who are first and foremost sluggers.

It will be a thinking war and each will look into ending it in the earliest round possible.

Cotto knows he cannot keep up with the frenetic pace of the energy bunny that is Pacquiao despite claims that he can solve Manny’s speed.

True Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosley had the quickness that he was able to crack.

But the speed of those two top-of-the-line opponents is a whole lot different universe from where Manny is right now.

The Puerto Rican is aware that the longer the fight wears on, the chance of Manny eking out a convincing decision victory also grows.  He will have to put pressure on Manny and avoid the Filipino from building up a nig lead in the early rounds.  He also knows too well that the crowd will be on Manny’s side and the Filipino thrives on being able to entertain and loves to get the fans at MGM rooting for him.

Once he feels Manny could not hurt him, Cotto will abandon his notorious slow-starting self and will chase Manny into the ropes and the corners where he could unleash those punishing left hooks.

He cannot hope to outbox Manny and earn the nod of the judges.

Should that be the fight plan of Cotto, Manny will be there to uncork his smashing right hooks and thundering left straights. 

On the other hand, if Cotto waits for Manny to commit a mistake, Pacquiao will break down his defense in the middle of the ring that way he surgically demolished David Diaz and made Oscar de la Hoya looked like an amateur.

Manny will not take chances and wait until the latter rounds to finish off Cotto should that be the case tomorrow.

Cotto should also not be too reliant on his left hook.  Manny’s antidote to that his own right hook and left straights.

Coach Freddie Roach certainly did his assignment.  He knows that when Cotto loads up to throw those left hooks, the Puerto Rican leans to his left.  Think about how to solve that!

One thing is certain.  He who throws the first meaningful punch for the evening will take the psychological advantage.

None of those fighters can afford to go down and hope to win the fight by the distance.

It will be a stoppage and it should come early on.

Who knocks out who, we shall know tomorrow.