Wednesday, December 07, 2022  |



2009 Ring Fan Poll: Pacquiao-Cotto 3 is Round of the Year



Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto 3: 74 percent
Marcos Maidana-Victor Ortiz 1: 12 percent
Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez 11: 11.5 percent
Luis Carlos Abregu-Irving Garcia 4: 2.5 percent

Note: These are not the official RING awards. Those will be announced next month in the magazine.

I remember leaning toward colleague Doug Fischer in the middle of Round 2 of the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight and saying, “Man oh man, it looks like we have real fight here.” And that was only the start.

Cotto, an underdog going into the much-anticipated Nov. 14 fight in Las Vegas, came out for Round 3 – the 2009 Ring Fan Polls Round of the Year – as the aggressor. The once-beaten welterweight titleholder, utterly confident at that point, calmly stalked Pacquiao as if he and not the Filipino idol was the man to beat.

However, it was Pacquiao who scored first about 47 seconds into the round, catching Cotto with a hard right that knocked him off balance and caused the Puerto Rican to touch his gloves to canvas. The knockdown would give Pacquiao a 10-8 edge in the round.

I, along with everyone else it seemed, wondered whether that was the beginning of the end for Cotto but he wasn’t hurt. He continued to attack and score and Pacquiao, waiting to counter, did the same as the crowd – swept up in the building drama – buzzed.

Then, with about a minute to go in the round, the fighters picked up the pace. Pacquiao’s amazing quickness was plainly evident, as he darted in and out and landed fast, hard punches. Cotto, although somewhat slower, was able to score both to the head and body of his opponent as the buzz turned into cheers.

The fight probably hit its competitive peak at this point, as it wasn’t’ at all clear that this would evolve into a one-sided demolition. It was everything the fans could ask for – a huge event that was also very competitive through three rounds. It seemed as if we were in for an epic war.

When the bell rang to end the round, we had no idea that the fight would turn dramatically in Pacquiao’s favor in the following round.

The pound-for-pound king put Cotto down again in the final seconds of the fourth, hurting him this time. From then on, it was Pacquiao’s fight. He would gradually break Cotto down with his speed and power and then stop him the 12th, capping yet another great performance.

For three-plus rounds, though, we had a hell of a fight. And it didn’t get any better than a memorable Round 3.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]