Ronnie Nathanielsz reports today that there may have been a bit of mercy shown last night by Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao's strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, believes that's exactly what happened.
"What you saw tonight was mercy. I thought Manny could have finished him so many times but he just didn’t want to hit him anymore."
Ariza also criticized Cotto’s corner saying "his father should have stopped that fight. Shame on him for letting his pride possibly injure his son."
However, Ariza said Cotto "deserves a lot of credit. He showed up, he was in shape. No more excuses. I don’t think anybody can ever say anything about Manny. He fought the best 147 pounder out there and destroyed him."
Point-by-point? Sure, why not?
First of all, I think he's probably right overall here. In the latter stages of the fight particularly, Manny seemed like he wanted to quit beating up a man he had to chase around the ring. By that point the fight was 100% in his favor and he was laying into Cotto, who wanted nothing to do with him. I thought Manny showed mercy against Oscar, too. There were times he blatantly let Oscar get off the ropes when he could have continued beating the crap out of him. And I thought he showed a ton of mercy for Marco Antonio Barrera in their 2007 rematch, too.
As great a finisher as Manny is, I don't know that I'd say he has a truly killer instinct. He has a lot of respect for his opponents.
Second, Ariza was probably unaware of this when he said it and might learn of it now -- after all, why would he know? -- but Miguel Cotto Sr. was trying to get the fight stopped. The fighter wanted it to go on and the rest of the corner talked Sr. down a little bit.
And on the final point, Miguel Cotto is not and was not the best 147-pounder in the world. That is Floyd Mayweather Jr., and that's not a stab at Cotto or a knock on him. Cotto was without question one of the three best in the world at 147, but not the best. That's just not a true statement, and it feels cheap to try to make an incredible win out to be even more than it is. There is no reason to exaggerate.