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Countdown To Mayweather-Pacquiao: What Was Manny Pacquiao’s Signature Fight?



There are two types of show-stopping performances we’ve seen from many great fighters in which their performance on that given night are forever instilled into our memory. In order for their showing to really count, they must have achieved it against another formidable foe who wasn’t undersized, old and had to have been considered special or elite going into the bout. The signature showing for all great fighters must be forged against another great or near-great who is seen as their equal.

The first type of show stopping performance is the brutal knockout, especially if it occurs early in the bout ie: Thomas Hearns pulverizing Roberto Duran with a single right hand in the second round. The other type of eye- catching performance is the one where a fighter delivers a systematic beat-down over the opponent and the longer the fight goes the worse it gets ie: Bernard Hopkins dismantling Felix Trinidad before finally finishing him in the 12th round.

Manny Pacquiao 57-5-2 (38) has had a career littered with signature and near signature performances over the last decade. He looked terrific beating Marco Antonio Barrera the two times they fought. After being out-boxed by Erik Morales the first time they met, he came back and stopped him twice during their rematch and rubber match. He beat up and punched around David Diaz at will, annihilated a washed up Oscar De La Hoya, pulverized Ricky Hatton, spooked Josha Clottey into being afraid to throw a punch because he didn’t want to leave himself open and vulnerable to Pacquiao’s counter attack, and he took the bigger and stronger Antonio Margarito to boxing school.

That alone is hall of fame worthy and quite impressive, but that isn’t all of it. What’s missing is the one fight in which Pacquiao boxed perfectly, hit with power, put his combinations together beautifully, took the best his opponent had to offer and didn’t even change the expression on his face, and if that weren’t enough, how about how he attacked in the manner of a human buzzsaw and never took his foot off the gas until the end when he looked as if he felt sorry for the beating he doled out during the previous 11 rounds.

The date was 11/14/09, the place was the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nevada and the opponent was WBO welterweight title-holder Miguel Cotto 34-1 (27).

Cotto, 29 at the time, had only been beaten by Antonio Margarito who some suspect fought Cotto with loaded gloves. A year later Margarito was suspended from boxing for attempting to battle Shane Mosley with compromised gloves. After defending his newly won WBO title against Joshua Clottey, Cotto willingly agreed to defend it against Pacquiao 49-3-2 (37) at the time, in a 145 pound catch-weight bout. Not only was Cotto bigger and stronger than any fighter Pacquiao had ever faced at the time, it was also the belief of many boxing observers that Floyd Mayweather was doing his best version of the two step in order to stay on the other side of the street from where Cotto was.

Prior to the bout I was disenchanted when Pacquiao insisted on the 145 pound catch-weight and felt that Cotto would be hurt by having to shed those last two pounds. But in hindsight Pacquiao was so dominant that it’s unlikely the two pounds would’ve changed the outcome. Before the fight many assumed that Cotto would be too big and strong for Pacquiao, although Manny’s significant edge in hand-speed wasn’t discounted. However, the thought was Cotto could walk him into the corners, and then beat on his body with his vaunted hooks. And once that began to be a regular occurrence Manny would be slowed to a walk and would eventually become a sitting duck for Miguel to beat on and probably stop late in the fight.

Unfortunately for Cotto, he crossed paths with Pacquiao on a night that he put it all together and he may have never been better or fought more purposefully. As it turned out, Cotto’s walk-in style combined with his lack of speed was just right for Manny. Pacquiao’s blinding hand and foot speed along with his imaginative offensive assault, throwing punches in combination of five and six, totally befuddled Miguel. So much so that Cotto never had a clue from where the next punch was coming from. And if that weren’t enough, Pacquiao brought incredibly consistent power on that night. He had Miguel hurt and bloodied and after putting him down in the third and fourth rounds, Cotto came out and emptied his wagon and won the next round and kept Pacquiao from ending the fight early. And that’s what made the win so special for Pacquiao because Cotto definitely wasn’t shot or fighting from memory. He may not have been vintage Cotto, but it’s hard to imagine any other welterweight dominating Miguel like that. In fact no one has before or since.

However, Cotto’s gallant stand in the fifth round was about it for him as far as big moments in the fight. From the sixth round on Pacquiao out-thought and fought Cotto for the remainder of the bout and it was hard to watch at times because it was so decisive, it was almost scary. By the last third of the bout Cotto was almost flinching whenever Pacquiao feinted. It got to the point to where you could see Cotto really didn’t want to let his hands go because he knew it left him open to exchanges, and he was getting the worst of it nine out of ten times. In the 12th round the fight was stopped and no one who saw it will forget how great Pacquiao was that night against such a formidable and dangerous opponent.

It wasn’t so much that Pacquiao out-boxed and out-sped Cotto. What was so off-the-chart impressive was how he broke his will and by the midpoint of the fight Cotto was fighting as if he were the smaller man. And that’s something no fighter has ever done to Cotto before or after he fought Pacquiao. For Pacquiao to be able to dominate and break the will of the bigger Cotto, who was seen as a true ring warrior going into the fight, was truly remarkable. If you want to make a case for Pacquiao as an all-timer, you don’t have to look further than this fight. He looked like Roberto Duran on this night.

On the night Manny Pacquiao stopped Miguel Cotto, the realization of his greatness exceeded the expectation of it.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at


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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.



ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face



Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar



Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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