Wednesday, December 07, 2022  |



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



Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight: 75 percent
Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez fight: 5 percent
Oscar De La Hoya's retirment: 13 percent
Super Six Boxing Classic: 7 percent

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

Big events in boxing generally fall into two categories: competitive matchups between elite fighters and “super fights” involving at least one star who attracts the attention of the world outside of boxing whether the fight is competitive or not.

Once upon a time the biggest boxing event of the year was often a combination of the two categories — such as Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns I or Marvin Hagler-Leonard — but that hasn’t been the case in recent decades, not until this year’s showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.

The Nov. 14 welterweight bout, which Pacquiao won by 12th-round stoppage, was a hardcore fan’s dream match that received extensive coverage in the mainstream sports media.

It was a significant bout garnering significant attention, which translated into significant numbers. The live pay-per-view event sold 1.25 million buys, which generated $70 million in revenue, making it the most lucrative bout of the year.

The fight, which matched the sport’s pound-for-pound king against the most formidable fighter he’d ever faced above 130 pounds, was an easy sell to hardcore fans.

However, HBO, which produced and distributed the Pacquiao-Cotto pay-per-view show, made sure that casual fans knew as much about the fight and the combatants as possible via its 24/7 program and comprehensive digital marketing of the bout on its various internet and social network platforms.

High-quality video ads of Pacquiao-Cotto that were featured on, HBO You Tube, HBO Facebook, HBO My Space, HBO Twitter and major websites such as I-Tunes,,,, and garnered tens of millions of views in the final weeks leading into the fight.

However, those media platforms were only as good as the fighters and the stories of their careers.

Pacquiao-Cotto was the story of a Filipino idol finally crossing over into the consciousness of the American sports fan.

It was the story of a fallen Puerto Rican star climbing his way back from defeat and trying to prove to the boxing world that his first loss didn’t ruin him.

The story was the challenge. Cotto was the first real welterweight Pacquiao had faced. Pacquiao was the most dynamic opponent Cotto had ever fought.

The story was about history. Pacquiao was vying for an unprecedented seventh title in seventh weight class.

Pacquiao-Cotto was a story worth telling and for the first time in a long time a significant fight involving two non-American boxers was written up in major U.S. magazines and newspapers such as Time, Sports Illustrated, the Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.

And the best thing for the sport occurred the night Pacquiao and Cotto touched gloves in the middle of the ring — the fight lived up to its hype.

For four rounds the welterweights engaged in fight of the year-caliber action, but after scoring two knockdowns, Pacquiao asserted his dominance and set into motion an eventual showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. that could rekindle general interest in boxing that great matches like Leonard-Hearns and Hagler-Leonard once generated.

Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]