As it always does for a huge fight, it seemed like time was moving in slow motion over the last few weeks leading up to Pacquiao-Cotto. But it's finally here, and we'll soon see if it lives up to the hype.
Popular opinion seems to be suggesting that it won't. Pacquiao is a fairly large betting favorite, numerous observers are stating that Cotto isn't the same fighter he was before getting pummeled by Antonio Margarito, and there are questions about the skill of Cotto's corner. Pac Man trainer Freddie Roach (who, of course, may just be playing mind games) has changed his prediction to a first-round KO.
Yes, Manny will be faster than Miguel. It's possible he'll hit almost as hard too. But in boxing, everything is relative, and that's why I think this will be a closer, tougher fight than some believe.
Since Pacquiao has ventured above lightweight, he's fought two big names who in retrospect had no shot to beat him. Oscar De La Hoya was too old and too drained, while Ricky Hatton was way too slow and (surprisingly) too small as well.
Cotto is none of those things, so that alone makes me think he'll fare better than the Golden Boy or The Hitman. Inexperienced trainer or not, he's also capable of making mid-fight adjustments, though I am well aware that Manny's speed may render changes in strategy useless.
I think all outcomes are possible, though I think a Pacquiao KO is most likely and a Cotto decision least likely. I just see Cotto making Manny work really hard to earn this one, meaning I expect Pacquiao to win by late TKO.
Nothing would shock me in this fight, but I would be surprised if there was a KO either way. I think Cotto is an excellent boxer and a tough guy, so I don't see Manny getting a KO, and for sure not in the first round.
I feel like Roach has gotten very cocky over the last few years, but then again, Manny has been backing it up, so you could argue he's just telling it like it is. Does he truly believe Manny is getting a first round ko? I am not sure. What I am sure of is, Roach is going to be the better of the two trainers.
So, with the Roach advantage, and the weight limit being the lower 145 amount, I see Manny by unanimous decision. I believe he wins fairly easily, too.