“If he doesn’t run, we’ll knock him out”

pacquiao cotto

Pacquiao wins by TKO

These were the words spoken by Coach Freddie Roach as he discussed Pacquiao’s strategy for the fight against Miguel Angel Cotto. What happened was the inverse. Cotto got knocked down, then he ran.
Pacquiao proved two things in this fight. First, he once again showed that his power is intact and that he can drop bigger men such as the natural welterweight, Cotto.  Second, he also once again showed that he is a great student of the game, as he adjusted, changed and adapted to the situation he faced, without deviating from his over all strategy.
Cotto went on all fours twice in this fight. The first from a right hook and the second from the power left hand of Pacquiao, thrown as an uppercut.  Although he wasn’t hurt as he did stand up immediately, he was visibly stunned. The second knock down in the fourth changed his fight plan completely. Cotto started to fight defensively.  He was content with not getting hit and was not as concerned about throwing his own left hand. As the fight progressed, Pacquiao’s confidence doubled which further made him stronger and faster.
The key to the fight however is this. The seeming lack of activity of Pacquiao in the first 2 rounds provided Coto a false sense of security. Pacquiao appeared sluggish to the point of allowing Cotto to hit him as he leaned against the ropes. At this point, Pacquiao achieved three things. He determined for himself that he can take Cotto’s punches.  He baited Cotto to fight closer than he did in first 2 rounds and, it tired out and frustrated Cotto.
The fourth round onward was simply the ending of a well implemented plan and strategy. Manny began to take charge as he pummeled Cotto with 8 to 10 punch combinations every time he had the chance. Cotto tried vainly to throw his left and counter but was caught flat-footed most of the time.
The fight was really over at the 8th round as this is where Cotto’s face started to swell and his cuts began to open. This is where Cotto got on his bicycle to pedal away from Pacquiao. It never is a good thing to say this about a warrior like Cotto, but yes, he did run away.
He was running away from the physical pain inflicted by Pacquiao’s punches and he was also trying to avoid the shameful agony of being knocked down. In the end, Cotto did achieve a more noble ending to his valiant attempt. Referee Kenny Bayless, stopped the fight right after Pacquiao connected with an uncontested 1-2 combination only into 55 seconds of the 12th round.
It was evident that after the 4th round, Cotto knew, that if he doesn’t run, he will get knocked down.