Pacquiao shreds Cotto; TKO round 12

November 15, 2009 in Boxing by pacejmiller

Pacquiao wins

Pacquiao TKOs Cotto to win his 7th world title in as many weight classes

I just got home from the pub after witnessing Manny Pacquiao TKO Miguel Cotto in the final round of 12 exciting rounds of boxing.  With the win, Pacquiao collected his 7th world title in as many weight divisions, a new record.  He also snatched Cotto’s WBO welterweight belt (even though the fight took place 2 pounds below the welterweight limit of 147) and added some stupid, pointless WBC ‘Diamond Belt’ to his collection.

The fight lived up to the name ‘Fire Power’ – Cotto was a very game opponent that just ran into a buzzsaw by the name of Manny Pacquiao that bruised, battered and sliced him up.  By the time the fight was mercifully stopped 55 seconds into the 12th and final round, Cotto’s face was a swollen, bloody mess.  Cotto’s white shorts were dyed pink and Pacquiao’s body was littered with dry speckles of Cotto’s blood.


Cotto's face was a mess

I know it sounds like a one-sided affair, but it wasn’t, not at least for the first half of the fight.  Cotto had his moments, especially early on.  He scared Pacquiao fans in the first round (which I think Cotto won easily) with his devastating power, as even blocked punches lifted Pacquiao’s feet off the canvas.  It certainly got the attention of the people I watched the fight with at the pub  (95% of which were pro-Pacquiao).  A number of them voiced that it may be a long night for Manny.

In the second round, Pacquiao began throwing his lightning quick combinations, and I think it was enough to earn him the round.  However, it was an uneasy round, especially whenever Cotto backed Pacquiao up against the ropes, which was happening more regularly than trainer Freddie Roach would have liked.  Pacquiao would hold his hands up high while Cotto pounded him on the waistline and face.  Even if most of them were blocked (at least partially), it gave me the feeling that Cotto was going to wear Pacquiao down eventually.

The third round was more of the same, with Cotto pounding away and Pacquiao blocking patiently and picking his spots, unleashing rapid combos at all angles whenever the opportunity arose.  Then suddenly, Cotto was down!  It was a lightning quick right hand and the end of a combo that caught Cotto on the jaw, dropping him to one knee.  However, it was just a flash knockdown, and Cotto came back hard for the remainder of that round.  Even though Pacquiao won that round with the knockdown, there was question over whether it should have been scored 10-8 or 10-9.

Up to that stage, it was still a close fight.  I had the feeling that if Cotto caught Manny with a flush power shot, it could be all over in a hurry.  But even if he didn’t, Cotto still had the tools to box his way to a victory.  That was how things looked at the time.  But then, towards the end of the 4th round, Cotto walked in and Pacquiao unloaded a huge left hand that rocked Cotto and put him down for the second time.  This one wasn’t a flash knockdown.  You could tell from Cotto’s wobbly legs that he was definitely hurt.  If it had happened earlier in the round, Pacquiao could have very well finished him off right there.

Cotto down

Cotto was not the same after the second knockdown

In his corner, Cotto was spitting blood and a small cut had appeared under his right eye.  He was desperate for air and his eyes were beginning to swell shut.  In the other corner, Pacquiao looked like he was just warming up, though he seemed to be still focused on the game plan.

From that point on, Cotto just wasn’t the same.  He put in a good effort for the start of the 5th, but Pacquiao’s speedy combinations proved the difference.  Without watching the fight again, I can’t recall exactly when it happened, but at some stage in the second half of the bout, Pacquiao suddenly became the aggressor.  It was a complete role reversal.  Pacquiao, the smaller man, was backing Cotto up, and Cotto, the supposedly stronger boxer, was back-pedaling more than De La Hoya did against Trinidad.  By this point, Cotto was simply trying to survive until the end.  Every time Pacquiao had Cotto in the corner or against the roles, it looked like Pacquiao would end the fight right there, but to his credit, Cotto somehow managed to evade danger time after time.

Pacquiao was still sticking to the game plan and fighting with caution, though I’m not sure Cotto even had a puncher’s chance from the 8th round onwards.  He still had heart but his will was gone.  It was just a question of whether he’d be able to survive till the final bell.  Pacquiao was visibly frustrated by Cotto’s dancing and unwillingness to engage with him, at times standing still and dropping his hands, as though questioning Cotto whether he really wanted to continue.

Cotto back-pedaled his way into the 12th round.  Pacquiao continued to be semi-cautious, but was definitely going for the knockout.  About 50 seconds into the round, Pacquiao finally caught up to Cotto and trapped him against the ropes.  Another combination flooded down upon Cotto, though most of them were probably blocked.  Pacquiao was ready for more, but referee Kenny Bayless stepped in to protect Cotto, calling the fight with 2 minutes and 5 seconds to go.  I thought it was a questionable stoppage as Cotto may have been able to survive till the end, but there was no doubt that Manny Pacquiao would have won the fight by a wide margin if it went to the scorecards.

Pacquaio landed 336/780 (43%) punches overall, including 276/560 (49%) power punches.  As Cotto barely threw any punches for the last third of the bout, he only landed 172/597 (29%) in total punches, with 93/300 (31%) in power punches.

In the end, all the talk about Pacquiao’s disrupted training camp, Cotto’s inexperienced trainer and everything in between didn’t really manifest in the fight.  Cotto gave Pacquiao more trouble than David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton (Pacquiao’s last 3 opponents) combined, but Manny was still a cut above him.  And the catch weight of 145 pounds had little effect – Cotto looked better than he ever had at the weigh-in and on the night of the fight.  It was evidently a very successful weight management campaign, which probably led to Cotto having up to 10 pounds on Pacquiao by the time they entered the ring.  It made no difference in the end.

pacquiao roach

Bring on Floyd Mayweather Jr!

Cotto was very gracious in defeat, approaching and hugging Pacquiao.  “I didn’t know from where the punches were coming,” Cotto said later before heading to the hospital for tests. “Manny Pacquiao is one of the best boxers I ever fought.”

As for the new welterweight champion and pound-for-pound king, there is only one fight fans want to see.  As Freddie Roach said: “I want to see him fight Mayweather.”