Manny Pacquiao was sensational tonight in Las Vegas, knocking down Miguel Cotto twice, battering him throughout the majority of the fight, and forcing Kenny Bayless to stop the fight in the 12th round of a dominant performance, giving Pacquiao his 50th career win and arguably his most impressive.
Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KO) floored Cotto on timing shots in the third and fourth rounds, but after Cotto looked sharp, strong and fast early, he was dominated over the latter half of the fight. Pacquiao proved that there is no questioning his power at this weight, and no questioning his ability to take a good shot, either. He walked through some strong punches from Cotto (34-2, 27 KO) and seemed to barely feel them. Pacquiao, on the other hand, was able to hurt Cotto consistently.
He was faster, stronger, and better. Miguel Cotto isn't old, wasn't drained, isn't "overrated." Cotto did all he could tonight, but he was laid to waste by a superior fighter.
Pacquiao is now the WBO welterweight titleholder, the seventh weight class in which he's won a major title, the first man to ever do that.
Pacquiao's return has been rumored to be March 13, 2010, but that may move. Promoter Bob Arum had floated the idea of a Cotto-Pacquiao rematch if it was a great fight. It was an entertaining fight, and a masterful performance from Pacquiao, but it was not a great fight, and a rematch would be useless. There was no doubt. Cotto was pulled out of the fight by referee Kenny Bayless almost as soon as he was hit hard one time by Pacquiao in the 12th.
Bayless, unlike Cotto's corner, protected the fighter. Cotto was on his bike most of the latter rounds, straight-up running from Pacquiao. He was demoralized and in some ways embarrassed. His pride took a hit tonight. Cotto showed clear fear of Pacquiao in many rounds, and there's no disputing that.
Manny Pacquiao is a fighter unlike any other in the world.
There will be much more tomorrow, perhaps tonight, and in the coming week. But is there any other fight besides Pacquiao-Mayweather now? As Pacquiao avoided the question of having a preference for his next opponent, the public will respond: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
There is no other fight for either man.