This is a look back at some of Manny's career defining fights in the lead up to his blockbuster bout vs Tim Bradley coming up on the 12th April..... 

Manny Pacquiao vs Miguel Cotto

Manny Pacquiao was now at the zenith of his popularity and his next opponent would be Miguel Cotto. In his previous fights he had relied mainly on single weapons. That is his straight left against Oscar De La Hoya and his right hook against Ricky Hatton. Against Cotto he would require all his tools to win.

Manny had shocked the boxing world by rising up weight classes so quickly and still destroying everyone in his path. He was now a fixture in the welterweight division which meant he would constantly be fighting naturally bigger men, and in theory stronger. Of all his previous opponents no one would doubt that the hard hitting Cotto was the epitome of this notion. In his rise to super stardom each one of his fights would throw up a new doubt about his ability to deal with the problem in front of him and he stormed through every challenge. The Cotto challenge was no different.

The big question this time? ….Could Manny take Cotto’s power? Surprisingly against De La Hoya and Hatton he was not tested in this regard as neither could touch him. There was little doubt though that Cotto would present a bigger challenge. Manny would have to deal with his power. And deal with it he did.
 The big question for this fight....          Could Manny take Cotto’s power?

Manny seemed to take offense to the notion that he couldn’t take Cotto’s punches and his trainer Freddie Roach kept imploring his fighter to ‘Stay off the ropes !!! Don’t fight his fight’. In a display of machismo the very next round Manny would then go on the ropes and show everyone Cotto could not hurt him…..’Manny knows’ indeed.

The following video highlights start by showing most of the heavy shots he took from Cotto, and he did take quite a few. Anyone human would have been slowed by these shots. But Manny is a superhuman and nothing had any effect on him as he absorbed Cotto’s shots and fired back harder. He never slowed down the entire fight and the second half of the highlights show the menagerie of shots he used to beat poor Cotto to a pulp. By the seventh round Manny had brutally knocked down Cotto two times and Cotto was in survival mode. Rather than the bigger ‘stronger’ man pressuring Manny, the tables were turned and Manny spent the rest of the fight stalking and menacing a retreating Cotto. Who would have thought?
The tables were turned and Manny spent the end of the fight stalking and menacing a retreating Cotto. Who would have thought? 

Manny as always disguised his punches and Cotto acknowledged this in his post fight interview. He ‘did not know how to defend himself’. The HBO commentators reffered to this throughtout the fight as ‘throwing from weird angles’. Manny often throws his left hand power shot from his hip and it is impossible for his opponent to know if it is going to be a body shot, an uppercut, a straight left or a looping hook. Early in the fight it was clear Manny could take the power of Cotto with ease and once this was realized it was all over. The rest was just a spectacle for Manny’s excitement inducing skills and aggression.

Weird angles : Manny disguising punches. Both punches start from the hip but the first lands at the body the second at the head. Directly inverse to where Cotto's guard is.

Something else interesting happened this fight though. Cotto’s obvious strategy was to pressure Manny and not give any ground. But as it became clear that Manny would turn the tables on that theory, Cotto started to box and move. It was too late by this stage, but Manny was clearly getting frustrated by the lack of engagement and this ironically might have been Cotto’s best strategy if employed right from the beginning. While this is not Cotto’s style it is however the style of other future Manny Pacquiao opponents…….  

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