MANILA -- With his “Firepower” match up with boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao barely two weeks away, Miguel Cotto has exuded confidence befitting a world champion regardless of the “underdog” many have tagged around his neck.
Cotto believes that his 3-month preparation is more than enough time for him to ensure his victory over Pacquiao, who is now considered as today’s “King of the Ring”.
“This is probably the best training camp I've ever had,” said Cotto, who will stake his World Boxing Organization title against the pound-for-pound champ.
“The communication between team members, all the focus I have for this fight make this the best ever,” added Cotto.
Fuelled by ‘motivation’
His training ground in Tampa, Florida has shown evidence of how much motivation the Cotto team has provided to aid the Puerto Rican champ.
A streamer of “Pacquiao on target” was shown hanging on the gym's wall. The streamer said, “On November 14 the world will witness who will be the new king of the ring.”
Even some of Cotto’s punching bags have pictures of Pacquiao drawn on them, allowing the Puerto Rican to “familiarize” his opponent.
The Puerto Rican welterweight king even has boxing “greats” choosing his side.
Former three-division champion and fellow Puerto Rican Felix “Tito” Trinidad said he is certain that Cotto will upend the current pound-for-pound king. He thinks has never faced a “natural welterweight” like Cotto.
"On the night of the fight, Pacquiao will still not be a full welterweight. And Cotto is very strong,” Trinidad told El Nuevo Dia as quoted by Mark Vester of BoxingScene.com.
“As the fight plays out, around rounds 7, 8, 9 is when Cotto starts taking over. I think Cotto will win [by] decision but he might even get a knockout. With all of my heart I think Miguel Cotto will win,” he added.
Even Angelo Dundee, the legendary trainer of boxing great Muhammad Ali, thinks Pacquiao won’t win this time.
“The style, I think his style is going to mess with Pacquiao. I think he's going to nail Pacman with some shots he's never been hit before,” he said.
Dundee made a similar prediction prior to the Filipino’s matches against Oscar de la Hoya and Ricky Hatton. Pacquiao, however, disproved Dundee in both fights.
Team Cotto already made its way to Las Vegas, where Cotto and Pacquiao is scheduled to go toe-to-toe.
‘Cotto is hittable’
Acclaimed trainer Freddie Roach, meanwhile, downplayed Cotto's chances against Pacquiao, size advantage notwithstanding.
He said it is irrelevant whether or not Cotto makes the 145-pound catch weight limit. “He can weigh whatever he wants. Manny will kick his butt at any weight,” Roach told David Tyler of DoghouseBoxing.com.
The American trainer pointed out that the disparity in size between Pacquiao and Cotto is not “that big”, dispelling the notion that the Puerto Rican will step into the ring a “giant”.
“They are a half inch apart. When you look at the pictures of them together, they look very similar in height and weight,” said Roach.
Roach, who has scrutinized Cotto’s fighting style even before the "Firepower" match was officially announced, said he knows the WBO champ’s weakness.
On this weakness they have based Pacquiao’s strategy, said Roach.
“I know him (Cotto) better than he knows himself at this point,” Pacquiao’s trainer remarked.
“Strength and height does (sic) not win fights, ability wins fights. Manny is a better boxer than Cotto,” he said.
The Trainer of the Year earlier predicted that his ward will score a first-round knockout against Cotto.
“He is very hittable. Any fighter going up against Manny Pacquiao that is hittable will not last long,” the trainer stated.
Roach also said that Cotto’s longer training period does not guarantee a win for the Puerto Rican.
“However, it will be a good excuse when he loses the fight. His group will say they overtrained for the fight,” added Roach. - With a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News