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Take Five:

Boxers, others weigh in


Steve Marcus

Manny Pacquiao, left, and welterweight champion Miguel Cotto pose after their weigh-ins Friday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Pacquiao, Cotto weigh-in

Manny Pacquiao, left, of the Philippines and WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico pose during an official weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday, Nov. 13, 2009. The boxers will fight at the arena on November 14.  Launch slideshow »

Ending With Firepower

Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and their camps share their final thoughts leading up to the final major boxing match of the decade.

Pacquiao, Cotto press conference

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman poses with Manny Pacquiao, left, of the Philippines and WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico after presenting them with ceremonial keys to the city during a news conference at the MGM Grand Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009.  Pacquiao and Cotto will fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday. Launch slideshow »

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1. Six the hard way

After turning pro as a 106-pounder in 1995, Manny Pacquiao has won world championships in six weight divisions and could win a seventh by taking Miguel Cotto’s welterweight belt. Most recently, he beat Ricky Hatton for a title at junior welterweight (140 pounds). “I feel stronger at this weight than I ever have,” Pacquiao said. “My punches are harder. My speed is intact. I keep getting warned about Cotto’s body attack. Cotto should be worried about my body attack.”

2. So long Erik

Pacquiao’s most recent loss was to Erik Morales in 2005 — a loss Pacquiao avenged twice by beating Morales in January and November of 2006 at the Thomas & Mack Center. In the first fight of the trilogy, Morales won a decision by putting on a clinic of counterpunching. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, all but dared Cotto to try to emulate Morales’ style. “Everybody wants to become Erik Morales because he had the most success against Manny,” Roach said. “But when people try to become someone else, it makes me very happy, because it’s not going to happen.”

3. On deck

Cotto is 14-1 with 11 knockouts in world championship fights. He has an impressive string of victories on his resume against world titleholders including Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, Paulie Malignaggi and Cesar Bazan. Cotto had a clever comeback when it was suggested Pacquiao might be thinking ahead to a potential showdown against Floyd Mayweather Jr. next year. “I don’t know what’s inside his mind,” Cotto said, “but once I beat him he can fight Floyd Mayweather all he wants.”

4. Hard drive

In a quotation that has entered boxing lore, Marvin Hagler said it’s hard for a boxer to get up at dawn and do road work when he’s sleeping on silk sheets. Even with all of Pacquiao’s astounding success, that has never been an issue with his fighter, Roach said. “When we would check into hotels in the Philippines, I always stayed at a hotel that was really nice,” Roach said. “He stayed in a hotel that wasn’t so nice. I said, ‘Manny, this is kind of a dump.’ He wanted to get back to his roots and the grittiness of it. The thing about Manny is he never gets soft and he’s never satisfied.”

5. What about Bob?

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters, said he’s having a difficult time predicting the outcome of the bout. In his mind a first-round knockout by Cotto (a 40-1 shot at the MGM sports book, for what it’s worth) is just as likely — or unlikely — as a first-round knockout by Pacquiao (25-1). “I think Miguel is going to have Plan A and Plan B,” Arum said. “Plan A is fight like Miguel Cotto usually fights, as the aggressor. If that doesn’t work, he’ll go to Plan B and be a counterpuncher, because Manny has difficulty against a pure counterpuncher.” Alluding to Cotto’s best punch, Arum added: “If Miguel wins the fight, he’s going to do it with his left hook.”

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