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5 strategies revealed: Pacquiao vs Cotto
5 strategies revealed: Pacquiao vs Cotto
November 12, 3:52 AM
Houston Boxing Examiner
by Marv Dumon
The November 14 "Firepower" fight resembles a lion (Manny Pacquiao) fighting a bear (Miguel Cotto). We simulated five key strategies both men will need to execute in order to win.
1. Manny Pacquiao will need to move to his left in order to attack Miguel Cotto's weaker right side. At the same time, that allows the Filipino to escape Cotto's venerable left jab and hook.
2. Freddie Roach's declaration of an early Pacquiao assault is a deception. Pacquiao needs to create space between himself and Cotto early in the fight. He cannot afford to trade blows with Cotto until Roach gives the signal, probably towards the middle of the fight (rounds 5 - 7). The Puerto Rican is the strongest opponent Pacquiao will have ever faced.
3. Roach has bragged about Manny's improved right hand. This is all smokescreen. The gameplan for this fight clearly calls for the Filipino's right to be his defensive block. That right hand will be crucial in guarding against and blocking Cotto's impressive left jab and hook. Manny's left will be the offensive weapon against Cotto's relatively weaker right side. On the other hand, Cotto was able to knock down the larger Joshua Clottey with a lightning left jab.
4. There has been much talk about Cotto's left hook, especially to Manny's body. But the Puerto Rican's zip left jab is just as risky for Manny. It is tough to tell when Cotto snaps that left jab. But he clearly telegraphs his left hooks and left power punches, which Manny should be able to see. (In an article tomorrow, we'll cover the three ways that Cotto telegraphs his punches. Pacquiao should see Cotto's left power punches coming . . . but not always Cotto's left jab. This is one of the x factors of the fight.)
5. Cotto does not always have to land flush on Manny in order to hurt the Filipino. Cotto punches that hard. Pacquiao, on the other hand, will need to land flush combinations in order to stagger Cotto. Roach likely won't give the green signal for attacking combos until the middle rounds, and only if Cotto gets hurt. Secondly, Roach's and Pacquiao's priority will try to win the first four rounds on points, thus they will showcase cautious, more active, early rounds. If they are up on the scorecards 4-0, Cotto will need to win six of the next eight rounds just to score a draw (assuming no knockdowns or point deductions). Therefore, Roach is devising a strategy to win first on points. Then, if Cotto slows down, then they can go for knockout (and that's an IF).
On November 14, the Roach-Pac battleplan should resemble a classic Sun Tzu Art of War doctrine: hit the enemy, then move (run). Do not engage the enemy head on or it will be a war of attrition, and many of your soldiers will suffer. Sun Tzu was an early Chinese general who lived until 496 B.C. He is also one of history's greatest military commanders. His victories over competing kingdoms almost always against much larger (and less mobile) armies than he did. Tzu employed a small precision force that was difficult to predict, or detect. He liked to strike only when there was a high probability of success in the engagement.
If Pacquiao darted in and out to avoid full engagement with Oscar de la Hoya, logic dictates Roach and Pacquiao will follow the same effective strategy with Miguel Cotto. Footspeed and handspeed are in their favor. Also, Manny's left vs. Cotto's right is in their favor. The x factor for Cotto is his quick and powerful left jab. Cotto needs to make it an emotional fight to try and bring Pacquiao off his game. Cotto telegraphs his power punches, and Pacquiao will see it coming. In a subsequent article, we illustrate how Cotto telegraphs his punches.
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