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Lance Pugmire's Round-by-round : Manny Pacquiao Vs. Miguel Cotto

November 15, 2009|Lance Pugmire

It was no short story, but a long beat-down. Manny Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach had speculated that an early Pacquiao onslaught and Cotto's recent history of first-round trouble made the bet of a first-round KO one of Saturday night's best Vegas gambles. Cotto had other plans, obviously, and the quality of the Puerto Rican's recovery from his only loss, an ugly beating by the heavy hands of since-tainted Antonio Margarito inside this same MGM Grand Garden Arena in July 2008, was about to be severely tested against the 2008 fighter of the year who needed only two rounds to smash his last foe, Ricky Hatton, in May. The showdown between the Filipino idol and the pride of Puerto Rico made for a festive prelude for the sellout crowd of 16,200, with vocal throngs saluting their favorites as promoter Top Rank unveiled an Ultimate Fighting-like video montage before the ring walks -- Pacquiao to "Eye of the Tiger," and Cotto to Kanye West's "Stronger." The hype was now officially over.

ROUND 1

* What happened: After a soft touch of the gloves, Cotto lands a jab. Cotto flashes powerful lefts to the face, and he's strongly defending his head. Pacquiao sneaks in a left, but Cotto throws a combo to the body. Cotto lands a double-jab to the head. Pacquiao tries a flurry but Cotto blocks it.

* Pugmire's take: This is Cotto's formula to win. Can it last against Pacquiao's relentless reputation?

* The judges: Adalaide Byrd, 10-9 Cotto; Duane Ford, 10-9 Cotto; Dave Moretti, 10-9 Cotto.

ROUND 2

* What happened: Cotto returns to the body, bangs a left to the head, buries two more shots to the body before Pacquiao rallies with a combination. Cotto's punch of choice is the left. Pacquiao charges and lands, but Cotto answers with a combination. A late Pacquiao rally, I thought, gave him a very close round.

* Pugmire's take: All week we've been hearing these guys are never in bad fights, and this round is proof.

* The judges: Byrd, 10-9 Pacquiao; Ford, 10-9 Pacquiao; Moretti, 10-9 Pacquiao.

ROUND 3

* What happened: Cotto opens with jabs. Pacquiao throws a right-left, then unleashes a big right to knock Cotto down to a knee. Cotto looks up, assuring referee Kenny Bayless he's OK. Pacquiao goes to the body, but Cotto responds with a scoring left. A head butt causes a brief delay. Cotto attacks the body, his trademark, but Pacquiao goes jab, right, right. Cotto is cut under the right eye.

* Pugmire's take: Pacquiao's precision punching has him in boxing's stratosphere. He displayed it here to effectively answer Cotto's strong start.

* The judges: Byrd, 10-9 Pacquiao; Ford, 10-8 Pacquiao; Moretti, 10-9 Pacquiao.

ROUND 4

* What happened: Cotto jabs again, throws a scoring left. Pacquiao comes back with another left. The pair engage in an impressive exchange. Pacquiao has a nice combination, Cotto wraps up, then punches Pacquiao in the gut. A big right by Cotto, and someone says, "Manny's hurt." Cotto's body work is strong. Yet, like Cotto tells Larry Merchant in the ring afterward, he couldn't see all the punches coming, and Pacquiao decked Cotto again with a strong left uppercut with about 20 seconds left. Pacquiao wants to finish the fight, but the bell sounds.

* Pugmire's take: The second knockdown hurts Cotto, whose game plan is now unraveling because of Pacquiao's power and speed gifts. Why does every opponent underestimate those strengths?

* The judges: Byrd, 10-8 Pacquiao; Ford, 10-8 Pacquiao; Moretti, 10-8 Pacquiao.

ROUND 5

* What happened: The pace settles slightly, and both guys need that. Cotto lands a hard left uppercut. Pacquiao comes back with a combination. Cotto slowing, both guys taking a breather. Pacquiao delivers a combination to the belly and jaw.

* Pugmire's take: Not a lot of action here, but Cotto's inactivity will be repeated, while Pacquiao was just resting up for additional onslaughts.

* The judges: Byrd, 10-9 Pacquiao; Ford, 10-9 Pacquiao; Moretti, 10-9 Pacquiao.

ROUND 6

* What happened: A Cotto jab sets up a right to the face, but Pacquiao shows his power with a hard left that nearly lands flush. A big right by Pacquiao, another, then a damaging left with Cotto on the ropes. Pacquiao combination, and Cotto is cut near left eye, wiping the blood. Another Pacquiao left precedes another that staggers the WBO welterweight champ.

* Pugmire's take: Blood from both eye areas, the face is getting bad as many expected.

* The judges: Byrd, 10-9 Pacquiao; Ford, 10-9 Pacquiao; Moretti, 10-9 Pacquiao.

ROUND 7

* What happened: A nice right by Pacquiao, and it's obvious he wants to finish Cotto, but the tough Puerto Rican stands, takes a shot. Pacquiao lands jabs and a left uppercut. Pacquiao attacks Cotto on ropes, and withstands a nice left by Cotto.

* Pugmire's take: At this point, you get the feeling it's just a matter of when the knockout or TKO is coming.

* The judges: Byrd, 10-9 Pacquiao; Ford, 10-9 Pacquiao; Moretti, 10-9 Pacquiao.

ROUND 8

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