Though many boxing fans across the world continue to doubt Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao has joined Freddie Roach in saying that Cotto will be the toughest test of his amazing career.
From Sky Sports:
"This will be my toughest test as a professional boxer," he said. "I know he is an excellent, smart fighter and a great world champion.
"We also know that he is good in body punching and that he's strong so we have to study that, how to counter it and fight that in the ring.
"We also need to use our own advantage over Cotto. Everybody knows that I am faster than Cotto so how can I use that speed in the fight? I will do my best in this fight to capture my seventh title belt."
Freddie Roach chimed in with many of the same thoughts he's been harping on for weeks now:
"It's going to be a much more tactical fight than people think because he (Cotto) is a very smart fighter," Roach said.
"It's who can implement their game plan and use it to the fullest advantage.
"I think this is going to be a 12-round fight, no knockout. This guy (Cotto) is very resilient. If a knockout comes, it comes but if you go out there looking for a knockout, you might get caught yourself. We have to be very tactical."
This is a HUGE change from how Roach talked before Pacquiao's fights with both Oscar de la Hoya and Ricky Hatton. Roach said they'd stop Oscar, and he said they'd stop Hatton very early in the fight. He was absolutely correct both times. Oscar couldn't pull the trigger, just like Freddie said, and Hatton was simply overwhelmed, just like Freddie predicted.
In San Francisco, both Cotto and Pacquiao were greeted warmly for a press event:
Cotto, in an elegant brown suit, spoke in Spanish and was cheered on, while Pacquiao, more casual in a white shirt, blue jeans and running shoes, spoke in English.
Even the Puerto Ricans cheered him on, and there were even chants of "Man-ny! Man-ny!" as he took the microphone. He said, "I’m sure you will all root for Cotto because he’s your countryman. But thank you for supporting me, too."
Before their explosive stage appearance, Pacquiao and Cotto held separate interviews in separate rooms with the Puerto Rican media. Cotto came with his lovely wife and four kids, while Pacquiao was with his lean entourage.
At one point, however, they ended up in the same room when they were not supposed to, and Pacquiao sat beside Cotto, shaking hands and again smiling, talking to one another like they were old friends.
I think people that are selling Cotto short in this fight are missing the opportunity to revel in a truly big, important, and exciting fight for boxing. Almost everything "wrong" with Mayweather-Marquez is "right" about Cotto-Pacquiao. I do think this fight will do 2009's biggest business, and I also think it promises to be the Fight of the Year contender it really should be. Come on, everybody, get on the bandwagon. This one's gonna be special.