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Classic Fight: Manny Pacquiao stakes his claim at 147 against Miguel Cotto

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There were still questions about Manny Pacquiao as a welterweight going into his 2009 fight with Miguel Cotto, and the Filipino answered them decisively.

It seems a little weird now, maybe, because Manny Pacquiao has been a welterweight for so long, and even today at 40 he holds the WBA title and is universally seen as the No. 3 man in the division behind Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr, in whichever order for those two younger bucks.

But back in 2009, there remained some question as to how viable Pacquiao would be as a true welterweight. He’d won titles at 112, 122, 126, 130, and 135 when he stepped up to welterweight in Dec. 2008 for a fight with Oscar De La Hoya.

Many thought De La Hoya would win that on pure size if nothing else, but Oscar proved to be truly shot — he couldn’t pull the trigger anymore, and Pacquiao’s speed of hand and foot was a nightmare for a drained De La Hoya, who hadn’t fought as a welterweight in seven years.

Some complain about hindsight, but hindsight is valuable. Oscar clearly wasn’t the Oscar of old when he fought Pacquiao, and the “Golden Boy” never fought again. Pacquiao showed him that it was time to go.

After taking the LINEAL!!!!!! 140-pound crown from Ricky Hatton via devastating one-punch knockout in May 2009, Manny made the move up to 147 for real to face WBO titleholder Miguel Cotto that November.

De La Hoya was old and drained. Hatton was, in a way, tailor-made for Pacquiao at 140. Cotto was a once-beaten — with some questions there, too — welterweight titleholder, a top fighter and star in the sport. There were reasons to wonder if Manny Pacquiao could really, truly beat an in-prime welterweight.

When they met at the MGM Grand, it was a big-time fight with the big fight feel. Maybe you haven’t watched it in years, maybe you haven’t watched it ever if you’re new to the sport or whatever. The full fight is up top courtesy Top Rank, and you can watch Manny Pacquiao stake a serious claim at 147 for really the first time.