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A little fury before fisticuffs

November 14, 2009|Lance Pugmire

LAS VEGAS — It was civilized for so long, this closely matched welterweight title showdown between underdog champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico and Manny Pacquiao, the dynamic Filipino who reigns as the world's top pound-for-pound fighter.

Then came Friday's weigh-in. After Pacquiao weighed in at 144 pounds, the taller Cotto stepped onto the scale and met the contractually obligated limit of 145 -- two pounds less than the typical welterweight limit.

"One hundred and 45, [expletive]," Cotto's trainer, Joe Santiago, sneered to Pacquiao's veteran cornerman, Freddie Roach.

Anyone who knows Roach understands it couldn't end there. He once punched out a customer at a Kinko's and was sued for it, and in a Sports Illustrated story this week Roach claims to have chewed the eyeball out of a man who was apparently ready to kill him in a fight.

So, on Friday, Roach barked back, "That's what he's supposed to weigh," and stepped toward Santiago to let him know there might be a physical reply to the unacceptable comment, even if Roach had publicly expressed doubts that Cotto could meet the 145-pound limit. Santiago assured a reporter later, "We're disciplined, we're ready."

With roaring masses of Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and other fight fans anticipating a pre-fight rumble at MGM Grand Garden Arena, people soon stepped in between the trainers.

"I was ready to go," Roach said afterward, backstage.

That's when fight promoter Bob Arum ordered Roach to cool it and shake Santiago's hand.

Roach did, but he later maintained he was ready to throw blows if it hadn't been for one nagging thought.

"Kinko's," he said.

Regardless, the bout that HBO executives expect to make 2009 the first year since 1999 when two boxing bouts exceed 1 million pay-per-view buys entered its final anxious pre-fight hours with both sides convinced they have a winning fight plan.

Roach said Pacquiao will unleash unrelenting blows on Cotto in the first two rounds, and if Cotto is still standing, he'll probably be finished by the ninth round, or later.

Cotto's father, Miguel Sr., said his son intends to produce an intelligent performance, punishing Pacquiao's body and reverting to the toughness he was known for before last year's loss to Antonio Margarito.

"Let everyone know this fight will be over before the ninth round, and that Manny will not win," Miguel Cotto Sr. said.




Tale of the tape

*--* Manny Pacquiao -- Miguel Cotto 30 Age 29 49-3-2, 37 KOs Record 34-1, 27 KOs 144 Weight 145 5-6 1/2 Height 5-8 67" Reach 69" 38" Chest normal 39" 41" Chest expand 41" 13" Biceps 13" 28" Waist 32" 16" Neck 16" 10" Fist 11" *--*

Source: L.A. Times

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