From growing up in a poor town in the Philippines to becoming a boxing superstar, Manny Pacquaio has overcome adversity with his fists. On Saturday night (Nov. 14), he earned his place in boxing history with a TKO over a noticeably bigger Miguel Cotto in 12 rounds for his 7th title in seven different weight classes.
The 30-year-old Pac-man gave a dominating performance from early on. He unleashed a big right in Round 3 to knock Cotto to a knee, recording the first knockdown of the evening. Then later that same round, Pacquiao landed a three-punch combo, opening up a cut under Cotto's right eye.
In Round 4, the two fighters went through a series of exchanges, but it's a devastating left uppercut from Pacquaio at the end of the round that rocks Cotto, sending him to the canvas once again.
From here on out, it's evident that the power--not to mention speed--of the Filipino fighter has made an impression on Cotto, but he wills on to no avail. Even in the post-fight interview, Cotto admits that Manny's punches were coming in so fast, he couldn't even see them.
"I didn't know where the punches were coming from," Cotto said. "And I didn't protect myself from his punches."
Throughout the later rounds, it was almost all Pacquiao, with Cotto showing some brief signs of life. By the last two rounds, Cotto was tactically retreating and backpedaling, just trying to survive each barrage of punches Pacquaio lets off.
The beating was so brutal, Cotto's wife and son left ringside after the eighth, simply because they couldn't bare to see their husband/father take so much punishment.
At the end of Round 11, it's almost certain that the fight would be called, but Cotto emerges from his corner to try to finish out the fight. After more devastating blows, referee Kenny Bayless steps in and puts an end to the fight at 55 seconds into the round. The crowd roared with cheers of "Manny! Manny!"
"He hit harder than we expected," Joe Santiago, Cotto's trainer, said after the fight. "He was stronger than we expected. Manny broke him down."
Manny improved to 50 wins, 38 by KO, 3 losses and 2 draws; while Cotto drops to 34 wins and two losses, both coming in the last two years.
"We were very careful in the early rounds because we know what could happen," said Pacquiao, following the fight. "We were trying to taste his power in the early rounds. We were looking for a KO shot, that's why I didn't throw lot of punches early. I was timing him."
Cotto was tough, though. He did not get KO'd, despite Manny trying his "best to knock him out."
"That's what I had heard, he's bigger than me and stronger than me, so we tried to accelerate the fight and look for one punch, keep pressuring him and looking for a counter," Pacquiao said. "We tried our best to knock him out."
While Cotto's boxing future is in question, Manny Pacquiao is peaking. Right now, he's the man to beat. However, after the fight, he did reveal that he would not fight at any higher weight than 145.
With the win over Cotto in the can, is Floyd Mayweather next in line?
After the fight, Manny wasn't thinking that far ahead. He had a concert scheduled at Mandalay Bay just two hours after winning, where he'd perform a full eight songs, and then it's vacation time back in the Philippines with his family.
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