By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao can win not one but two belts should he beat Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto in their welterweight title fight scheduled at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on November 14.
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz told BoxingScene.com, insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports in an overseas telephone conversation from Las Vegas on eary Saturday, that both the WBO title as well as the newly-minted Diamond Belt which WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman told us was approved by the WBC board of governors and was created for ”elite fights” even at catch-weights, would be on the line.
The Diamond Belt itself will cost in the vicinity of $50,000 while we understand from Koncz that the WBO has agreed to bring down the original sanction fee of $150,000 demanded of each fighter for a total take of $300,000.
Koncz told us he was not sure by how much the original sanction fee was reduced but said that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum had agreed to pay the sanction fee as well as the cost of the Diamond Belt.
The Pacquiao-Cotto fight will be at 145 pounds which is a demand that Team Pacquiao made and which Cotto eventually accepted although reluctantly.
Cotto is one of those fighters who always stays in shape and this time is no exception. After his tough twelve round battle with Ghan’s Joshua Clottey who moved one division to challenge Cotto, the popular Puerto Rican has remained in shape.
He was recently reported to be weighing around 165 pounds which is some 20 pounds above the agreed upon catch-weight which should pose no problems once he begins hard training in Puerto Rico sometime in mid-September before flying to Florida to wind up his preparation for the Pacquiao fight.
Meantime, boxing writer Mark Vester says Cotto is seriously considering an offer from countryman Ivan Calderon, the little WBO light flyweight champion to h elp Cotto train for Pacquiao in a strategy to neutralize the Filipino southpaw’s renowned hand-speed.
However, Calderon who was lucky to salvage a sixth round technical draw in his last title defense against Rodel Mayol faces the comparatively hard-hitting Filipino in a rematch in Puerto Rico on September 12. Claiming that he can’t expect a fair decision if the fight goes the distance, Mayol has vowed to go for a knockout against the undefeated Calderon whose quickness and southpaw stance is what Cotto is looking at.
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach may have unwittingly given Cotto the idea of using Calderon when he claimed that that the light flyweight boxed Oscar De La Hoya’s ears off when “The Golden Boy” was using the Puerto Rican as a sparring partner while preparing for his historic clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2007.
Primera Hora quoted Cotto as saying it was “something that I am going to consider. Ivan has everything and he moves very fast.”