Thursday, August 11, 2022  |


Arum: Pacquiao-Cotto no wipe out


Manny Pacquiao has set the bar very high for himself the past few years.

The Filipino idol destroyed his last three opponents — David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton — in a fashion so devastating that knowledgeable observers began to compare him to the great Henry Armstrong.

However, Miguel Cotto, who faces Pacquiao on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas, is not expected to be the pushover his predecessors turned out to be. He’s a big, talented guy at least near his prime.

“Of course he won’t be as devastating as he was against De La Hoya and Hatton,” said Bob Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Cotto. “Other than a suspect loss to (Antonio) Margarito, Cotto has fought anybody and hasn’t lost.”

Now, it’s important to note that Arum is his promoter mode. He needs you to believe the fight is extremely competitive so you’ll buy it on pay per view.

Experts agree with him, though. Most observers seem to be picking Pacquiao because of his superior movement and speed but some are picking Cotto because he’s naturally bigger and also a fine boxer.

So what happens to Pacquaio’s career if he loses for the first time since 2005? Arum says his fighter will be just fine.

“This fight will be like the (first) Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran fight,” Arum said. “Duran won the fight but Leonard wasn’t diminished because it was such a great fight. Trust me, there’ll be no loser in this fight.”

Again, Arum was speaking as a promoter. He might be right again, though.

Pacquiao is a delight to watch. That won’t change unless he turns in a dismal performance, which doesn’t seem likely. And as long as Cotto puts up a good fight, he’ll remain marquee fighter some time.

Cotto slipping? Some boxing writers suggested after Cotto’s narrow victory over Joshua Clottey in June that the Puerto Rican has never fully recovered from the beating he took from Margarito, illegal wraps or not.

I didn’t see it that way. I thought Cotto turned in an exceptional performance give his horrible cut and a very tough opponent. Of course, we’ll have a much better idea on Nov. 14.

“People don’t realize how good Clottey is,” Arum said. “I think Clottey would be competitive with any welterweight out there, including (Shane) Mosley and (Floyd) Mayweather. And Cotto beat him with blood pouring into his eye. He showed a lot of guts.”

Pacquiao-Mayweather: Arum has serious doubts that Pacquiao will fight Mayweather next if he beats Cotto. Mayweather, he suspects, would be a prohibitively difficult negotiating partner.

Arum would prefer a Pacquiao-Mosley fight.

“I don’t think (Pacquiao-Mayweather) will happen within the next year,” he said, “because of all of Mayweather’s posturing, the trash talk. That impedes any realistic negotiations. It would just be too difficult.”

Of course, if Pacquaio wants to fight Mayweather, Pacquiao will fight Mayweather.

And if he does, is there reason to believe he will suffer a similar fate to that of Juan Manuel Marquez? After all, Pacquiao and Marquez fought on even terms and Mayweather embarrassed Marquez last month.

Arum doesn’t think so. And he gave another example from the distant past to illustrate his point.

“Styles make fights,” he said. “Mayweather is a defensive specialist and Marquez is a counter puncher. Mayweather forced Marquez to be aggressive, which isn’t his game. Marquez needs his opponent to be aggressive. When Manny fought Marquez — and it’s not the same Manny now — Manny was the aggressor. Marquez was able to win a lot of rounds because he’s a good counter puncher.

“Just because A beats B and B beats C, it doesn’t mean A will necessarily beat C. Styles make fights. Look at the heavyweights from years ago. George Foreman could fight Joe Frazier and Ken Norton a hundred times each and the result would be the same, a Foreman knockout. Muhammad Ali could fight Joe Frazier 100 times and every one would be a war. The same with Ken Norton; he just couldn’t figure out his style.

“Then you put Ali in with Foreman and he’s able to knock him out. Manny is a different type of fighter than Marquez. I think Pacquiao and Mayweather would be a fascinating fight.”

A lot at stake: Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams are both putting their standing in the boxing world at serious risk by facing one another on Dec. 5 in Atlantic City, N.J., on HBO Championship Boxing.

That’s not all that’s at stake, though. Arum believes that if Pavlik-Williams gets good ratings on HBO, it could give the sport a big boost.

“I know it’ll be sold out at the gate,” Arum said. “What we’re hoping for is a humongous rating on HBO. If we do that, maybe the powers that be will increase their budget for boxing rather than decrease it. It would be good for everyone.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]