Final Installment: The Destruction of Cotto

By Christian Giudice on April 29, 2015
Final Installment: The Destruction of Cotto
Cotto’s demeanor, a mix of exhaustion and reluctance, revealed a man thoroughly beaten.

If Pacquiao is going to be successful against Mayweather, he is going to need to exhibit the same escapability that he showed in this fight…

Hell is a place an opponent must be willing to travel when he fights Manny Pacquiao. At some point in the fight, the opponent will come to the realization of the uncompromising position that he is mired in. Conversely, when one signs to face Floyd Mayweather, it is not a hellish, unforgiving state that one is immersed in, but rather a part of a long, arduous affair replete with frequent moments of helplessness and despair. Against Mayweather, opponents face a fighter who brilliantly capitalizes on every little mistake; against Pacquiao, opponents must accept the sad fate that even an inaccurate Pacquiao is as dangerous as any fighter in the world.

Trying to fight — or fend off — a world-class fighter like Pacquiao for nearly every second of every round can systematically destroy one’s confidence. No one knew that feeling more than Miguel Cotto. By the time he realized what he had gotten himself into on November 14, 2009, it was too late to stop the slaughter. The only option left was to survive. By the late rounds of the fight, Cotto’s face, a stream of blood, was nearly unrecognizable; his demeanor, a mix of exhaustion and reluctance, revealed a man thoroughly beaten.

Cotto’s willingness to come forward and throw fluid combinations with speed might have surprised Pacquiao. Styles make fights, and Cotto employed a style that was perfectly suited to Pacquiao; Mayweather’s is not. Even though judges had Cotto winning that first round, there was no way to maintain that consistency of jabs and counterpunches against Pacquiao without facing severe repercussions.

After the break, Pacquiao made adjustments by the second round. Pacquiao asserted himself and made sure that his left hand would reach its mark much quicker than Cotto’s jab or right hand. If anyone is searching for glimpses of the vintage Manny look no farther than this round, which included vestiges of the killer instinct that some critics would later claim he lost. Against fighters who were more judicious with their punches, Cotto had ample time to think. Not against Pacquiao. A shuttering uppercut to cap off a three-punch combination. A right hand lead. A ravaging hook. Although Cotto landed a big hook of his own, Pacquiao’s quickness was front and center for the world to see. The seconds ticked off slowly as Pacquiao attempted and landed an assortment of punches, and closed it out with a piercing jab. This is the version of Pacquiao that must emerge May 2.

It did not take long for Cotto to succumb to Pacquiao’s power as he took a knee from a short right hook in the third round. Pacquiao did not need much room to operate when he landed the punch.

If Pacquiao is going to be successful against Mayweather, he is going to need to exhibit the same escapability that he showed in this fight. When Cotto tried to corner Pacquiao, it was useless as Pacquiao effortlessly slipped away to his right. Having recovered from the early knockdown, Cotto attacked, and, at his best, sent Pacquiao’s head back with a three-punch combination initiated by an uppercut, a punch Pacquiao is susceptible to. By the end of the round, there were no signs that Cotto was hurt.

Never one to back down from a fight, Cotto was revitalized in the fourth. Yet, when it appeared as if Cotto finally could do his best work (even switching to southpaw) seconds later Pacquiao spun him around and then sent him down with a looping left hand uppercut. The round ended with Pacquiao hunting Cotto down.

In the fifth, Pacquiao focused on angles, and reveled in the ability to place Cotto in vulnerable positions and then ravage him with pinpoint uppercuts.

The courage of both men surfaced in the sixth as they traded blows along the ropes to close out the round. Responding every time to Pacquiao’s ambushes, Cotto landed effectively, but also had to come to terms that Pacquiao was easily walking through his best counters.

The real deterioration of Cotto began in round seven. Amazingly Pacquiao threw 29 punches in a vicious 30-second surge. Multiple punches landed flush on a deteriorating Cotto, who, ever so brave and courageous, refused to back down. Sadly, Cotto was just punching to keep Pacquiao at bay; conversely, Pacquiao was punching to punish Cotto. Toward the end of the round, Pacquiao faked that left hand and banged a short right hook.

If Pacquiao commits to these types of combinations a week from now and masters his step back move in the process, he could give Mayweather huge problems.

Throughout the final rounds of the bout, Cotto moved through various phases. At certain points, he slumped over into Pacquiao to momentarily stop the pounding and get a break. At others, Cotto fiercely returned fire. Yet, but the ninth, Cotto, bloodied and battered, offered little resistance, a point that was lost on the referee, Kenny Bayless.

The beating continued in the corner of the ring early in the tenth. Cotto would land one punch and then escape until the next pounding.

The round represented the sad reality of the sport as Bayless watched on — a passive observer as another fighter got destroyed. It was difficult to comprehend if Pacquiao, clearly holding back, was taking pity on Cotto or had punched himself out. In the final seconds Pacquiao just stopped punching, shook out his arms and glanced at Cotto as if to ask, haven’t you had enough?

Despite objections from Cotto’s father, the answer was a resounding no.

Again to start the 12th, Pacquiao stopped the onslaught looked on again in disbelief. Finally, after one last straight left at the 2:06 mark, the fight was called off.

Fresh streaks of blood opened up and poured down the side of Cotto’s face as he embraced Pacquiao. The fight had all of the drama associated with a championship bout — the wary father, the reluctant referee, the aging warrior, and the merciful champ. But in the end, it was just pure Pacquiao, closing down the show as only he knows how.

What this means for May 2

There were always rumors that surfaced that Pacquiao had lost his killer instinct. Against Cotto, Pacquiao slowed down and let up at times, but the fight was never close. Pacquiao is fighting for something more against Mayweather and if he can trap Mayweather and cut off the ring as effortlessly as he did against Cotto, he can summon up similar offensive attacks. More importantly, Pacquiao needs to consistently shoot and land that jab through the late rounds of the fight to have a chance to beat Mayweather, who always gets that second wind in the later rounds.

In Attack Mode: Mayweather and Pacquiao in their Prime—Part One
In Attack Mode: What Knocking Out Hatton Means to the Megafight—Part Two
In Attack Mode: “And the Oscar Goes to…”—Part Three
In Attack Mode: The Cotto Experiment—Part Four
Final Installment: The Destruction of Cotto

Christian Giudice
Author: The Rise and Fall of Alexis Argüello
Author: Hands of Stone: The Life and Legend of Roberto Duran

Twitter Account:!/chrisgiudice
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Pacquiao vs. Cotto 2009 – Full Fight (HBO Boxing)

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  1. Steve 07:31am, 04/30/2015

    Looplou is dumb enough to buy into Frauds accusation that Pac was on PEDs. Looplou is as stupid as the other flomos or the hard core Cotto fans. Who are currently delusional.

  2. Brewmaster 03:24am, 04/30/2015

    “looplou” also fails to mention that Mayweather is on PED’s as well. Although Floyd has NEVER failed a test. No one can be that elusive in the ring, right Lou??? Interesting view of Manny Pacquiao you got there buddy. Seriously though I love this fight. Contrast of styles. Which man will impose their will and skill on the other on fight night. The defensive-minded fighter or the come forward aggressive one.

  3. looplou 08:27pm, 04/29/2015

    The writer fails to acknowledge two things; Cotto was weight drained, and Manny was on PEDs.(look at that picture at the top.) Neither of these two things are in Manny’s favor this time. He’s toast. It will be a total dismantling of a canard, made by PEDs and by catch weight drained fighters

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