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BOXING:

Bruised and battered, Cotto says he will fight again

Despite losing his belt in lopsided defeat, Miguel Cotto tells crowd he will be back

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Steve Marcus

Miguel Cotto remains in the ring following his 12th-round TKO defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao on Saturday, Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Pacquiao vs Cotto

Manny Pacquiao captured his unprecedented seventh title in a seventh weight division with a twelfth-round TKO of Miguel Cotto Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Pacquiao vs. Cotto

Miguel Cotto (L) takes a punch from Manny Pacquiao during their WBO welterweight title fight Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Launch slideshow »
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Las Vegas Sun boxing/MMA writer Brett Okamoto sits down with fellow sports writer Ryan Greene and videographer Christine Killimayer to discuss what they all thought about the history making night for Manny Pacquiao.

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Those in Miguel Cotto's corner on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena made the executive, majority decision to send their fighter in for a 12th and final round with Manny Pacquiao.

The fight was called 55 seconds into the frame and awarded to Pacquiao by TKO. But, in reality, the fight ended much earlier, as Cotto was gradually worn down after two solid rounds to start the fight.

Speaking in bigger picture terms, Cotto told his fans afterward that the fight goes on in regards to his career.

Despite having both eyes nearly swollen shut and blood coming out from both his nose and a nasty cut above his left eye, Cotto remained in the ring for several minutes following the bout.

"I will continue," he said defiantly in concluding an interview with HBO's Larry Merchant. "I will continue fighting."

Though Pacquiao stole the spotlight — as expected — Cotto certainly lived up to his billing throughout the main event. He proudly displayed the iron chin and the incredibly strong will which he'd long been known for in the welterweight division.

"He has always been a courageous fighter," Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said. "A great fighter, a courageous fighter.

"It wasn't one-sided until about the seventh round. That was the round where Miguel hurt Manny."

It was earlier than that, however, when it became apparent to all in attendance that Pacquiao had taken control of the fight.

Cotto was given a 10-9 decision across the board from the judges following a first round in which he engaged at will with Pacquiao and displayed quickness which was far better than advertised.

But Cotto was stung once significantly in the third round, going down to his hands, and then went to the canvas officially in the fourth.

From that point on, he became visibly worn and couldn't defend nearly as efficiently as he had at the onset.

"I didn't know from where the punch was coming," Cotto said of his trouble seeking out where Pacquiao's attacks were coming from. "I didn't protect myself from the punches.

"That really made the difference."

It appeared as if pride was keeping Cotto going in the later rounds, as he tried to avoid Pacquiao's flurries by simply moving away.

After the 11th round Miguel Cotto Sr. tried to stop the fight in his son's corner. Cotto even sounded a bit unsure of going any further.

Referee Kenny Bayless looked for the first sign of trouble in the 12th to call the action, with Cotto showing no resistance to the decision when it came.

"I've fought everybody," Cotto said immediately afterward. "Manny is one of the best boxer's we've had of all time."

His words over the arena's public address system were the last any members of the media heard from Cotto, as he was taken to University Medical Center afterward for body scans. His representatives said Cotto generally felt fine and was able to walk under his own power from the dressing room to his team bus after visiting with his family.

There's every reason to believe that Cotto will continue to fight, even though regaining his previous stature in the welterweight division might be impossible.

When all was said and done, he fared better against Pacquiao than both Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton, plus his power can still be a draw, even though it didn't get him very far on Saturday night.

His warrior-like ability to stand toe-to-toe with Pacquiao for so long, too, may have quelled a bit of the controversy surrounding his split decision victory over Joshua Clottey back in June.

He also caused more damage to Pacquiao's face than most challengers have in recent memory, as he was quick to point at the puffiness surrounding his eyes and the wrap around his freshly-drained right ear during the post-fight press conference.

Pacquiao said that, despite trainer Freddie Roach's disapproval, he laid against the ropes a bit during the middle rounds just to test Cotto's power. He obviously paid a small price for it, though the outcome was never in serious danger.

Will the 29-year-old Cotto — now with a still-impressive record of 34-2 — fight again? It certainly appears that way.

It just might be a little while before that happens.

"Cotto, I think, against a normal, great welterweight, would do OK still," Arum said. "But he obviously has to take off a considerable amount of time because he did take a beating tonight, and he has to rest his body."

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