Dirty Work: Will Miguel Cotto's nasty tactics be a weapon against Manny Pacquiao?

Miguel Cotto has shown against Zab Judah and in other fights his willingness to fight dirty if he has to. Will that be a not-so-secret weapon against Manny Pacquiao? (Photo by Will Hart, via www.hbo.com)

Let's not make Miguel Cotto out to be something more honorable and classy than he is once the bell rings. Truth be told, we all know Miguel Cotto is a dirty fighter, and an unabashed dirty fighter at that.

It's not that Miguel glorifies his "roughhouse" tactics. He doesn't. But when Miguel has had the chance, or when the temper has flared, or when he's simply needed a momentum swing, we've seen him take advantage.

Low blows against Zab Judah. A near bodyslam on Joshua Clottey. He'll lift his elbows when he has to.

When Manny Pacquiao stands across the ring from Cotto on November 14, he better be prepared for exactly that type of fight.

Cotto is an excellent fighter, a guy who adapts to his opponents as well as anyone in boxing today. After arguing and giving it thought, I might be underestimating the size advantage that Cotto will have against Pacquiao, though I still feel it's overstated by many. Bottom line, I don't think size will win the fight for Cotto. He'll have to earn it with skill.

Pacquiao, lightning fast, very strong, and very intelligent, will make Cotto work. He's a southpaw with a distinct advantage in hand speed, much like Judah was against Cotto. When Zab challenged Miguel, some vicious low blows came into the equation. Cotto, iceman that he is, showed no emotion over his foul play.

It is what it is.

What happens when Miguel brings these tactics to Pacquiao? Could this be a not-so-secret weapon to try and turn the tide should Manny's speed dominate the early going?

I think you have to expect it, and I think Pacquiao and Freddie Roach have to prepare to combat it, and to stay out of the wheelhouse, as it were, as much as they possibly can. What Cotto may not have in speed, he might make up for by getting into Pacquiao's head and taking him into a fight he simply doesn't want.

As if Manny doesn't have enough to worry about against Cotto, the fighter Freddie Roach is calling the toughest Manny has had to date.

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