Vivek Wallace Speaks on Pacquiao, Cotto, Mayweather, and Margarito's Potential Innocence
PacmanIn the aftermath of last Saturday nights triumphant moment for fightin' Filipino Manny Pacquiao, many things have become blatantly clear. Perhaps the major one of them all is the fact that Manny Pacquiao is clearly as good as advertised, and has cemented his position in the historical landscape of the sport. The old adage says that a good big man beats a good little man. That holds true, however, in this case it was a good big man versus an amazing little man, and that amazing performance left no room to question precisely how amazing Pacquiao really is. Now that the fight is over, the focus shifts. This time against a totally different type of puzzle. That puzzle being none other than master stylist Floyd Mayweather jr. March 13th appears to be the approximate date, although cornerman Freddie Roach has already stated that he will need more time to prepare Pacquiao, citing in all honesty that he feels the style of Mayweather could very well pose some very difficult problems to dissect for his star pupil. That extra time will be well suited, because in reality, Mayweather will need to adjust to Pacquiao's ability as well..
As we turn our focus to a potential showdown between the two men, I revisit a few of the questions posed in the days following the mega showdown, as they relate to both Pacquiao and Cotto, as well as Floyd Mayweather Jr.:
1. MAYWEATHER/PACQUIAO: WHO'S BETTER?
It's very difficult to answer this question, and technically, no one truthfully knows until they get in the ring and settle it. Despite the outstanding performance generated by Mayweather over a man who made Pacquiao struggle twice (Marquez) it's still difficult to say that he has the edge; And in contrast, despite the amazing performance generated by Pacquiao over Cotto, it still isn't a bonafide lock that he's the better man. Mayweather has proven that he can handle many different templates as opponents, but he's never faced one with this type of hand speed, power in both hands, and warrior-like spirit in his ENTIRE career. EVER! Pacquiao was astonishing, but as duly noted by Freddie Roach, he (Pacquiao) has never faced someone like Floyd, either. It's very common for people to see such dynamic performances and immediately shift their train of thought, but I would caution the use of that trend. When Mayweather dismantled Marquez, there were Pacquiao fans in high numbers stating that he was in fact "too big" for Pacquiao, and that Mayweather should instead seek a fight with Mosley because a Pacquiao fight was not of any interest. Suddenly, Pacquiao has proven his mettle again, and the same people are now saying he would dismantle Mayweather with ease. These type of rush decision making campaigns remind me of when Kelly Pavlik looked at Hopkins' performance against Calzaghe and took the opportunity to face him, thinking Hopkins was capsulized in that "last performance". Pavlik got that chance, and hasn't looked the same ever since. Neither man has an edge going in, and that is what makes this such a great fight.
When it comes to legacies, both men still have questions. Mayweather fans say that he's the most dominant, yet we still have not seen him in against some of the true welterweights of his era; wherein Pacquiao is said to be the most powerful and complete fighter under the 154lbs limit, yet his team continues to demand catch-weights, where he is able to face these guys outside of the boundaries in which they reached their true dominance. If Mayweather is as supreme as we would like to believe, he needs to prove it against that level of competition, and if Pacquiao is as great as we're led to believe, he enters the ring 149lbs or better every time, he needs to face these men at their natural weight and remove all doubt. Until then, both men have questions, despite immaculate performances.
2. WHO COMES CLOSER TO THE TOP AS AN ALL-TIME GREAT? MAYWEATHER OR PACQUIAO?
Pacquiao has to be considered an all-time great at this point. Where he falls within that list, depends solely on who's doing the speaking. Pacquiao has demonstrated his worth against high level competition. Mayweather has also done some amazing things. If we view things based on the ability to excite and perform, some would say Pacqiuao is closer to the top. If we judge fundamentally, it would be Mayweather. If we look at resume, some would lean to Pacqiuao, but there's also a contingent that feels Mayweather has successfully defended his titles against a better level of competition. At the end of the day, who remains closer to the top spot is all in the mind of the beholder. Some felt the NFL's Barry Sanders was the epitome of what a football running back should be; but his own Father maintains that there has never been and never will be a better running back than Jim Brown. That's a blinding example of how people of different era's all maintain that the guy in their era was 'thee guy', regardless of how good one is (or isn't). This is typical "around the cooler" talk, that will never be settled on, therefore the debate continues.
3. MIGUEL COTTO: BIGGEST REASONS WHY HE LOST?
The NFL's Miami Dolphins once had what was known as the "Killer B's". Well, Miguel Cotto now suffers from the "Killer C's'. Referenced by the fact that he was doomed by his CORNER and his CONFIDENCE. There were lingering issues after the Clottey fight about cornerman Joe Santiago, and in hindsight, there should have never been a continuation of his tenure in that role. During the whole 12 rounds, Cotto was NEVER ONCE given strategical input on what he could change to get the job done in the ring. Instead, he was peppered with statements like "Junito, we're here for you"! That emotional confidence and kiss pecking on the cheek of his Dad was brilliant for a kid in 3rd grade being dropped off at school unaware of the location of his bully classmate; but on this grand stage in a sport where fans are quick to use the "E" word, (exposed), there is little room for this type of correctable era. Cotto chose a "yes-man" to work his corner, rather than someone who could not only demand his attention, but command his performance. As a result, he was hit where it hurts. To the benefit of Santiago, it should also be duly noted that Cotto tried to slug it out at times when he should have simply boxed, which is the one thing some do recall Santiago telling him.
Secondly, it became pretty obvious that Cotto has yet to shake the webs of Margarito. The lingering effects were very obvious when he began to take repetitive shots and retreat, rather than execute. Some fighters never recover from that type of humbling loss. (Ask Kelly Pavlik and Ricky Hatton). Speaking of Margarito, no one has said this, so allow me to be the first. PACQUIAO'S PERFORMANCE SCARRED COTTO FAR WORST THAN MARGARITO AND WE KNOW PACQUIAO HAD NO LOADED GLOVES. THAT BEING SAID, CONSIDERING THE VISIBLE BLOOD ON THE KNUCKLES OF MARGARITO AFTER THE COTTO FIGHT (VISIBLE THROUGH THE HAND-WRAPS), I WOULD VENTURE TO SAY THAT MARGARITO MAY NOT HAVE USED ILLEGAL WRAPS IN THAT FIGHT, DESPITE ATTEMPTING TO USE THEM AGAINST MOSLEY.
4. PACQUIAO: SOMETHING AMAZING, OR SOMETHING 'ELSE'?
Recently, Floyd Mayweather Sr. and a number of others around the sport have silently began to speak on the possibility of Pacquiao using illegal substances to achieve his recent mastery in the ring. These notions breed from the sight of Pacquiao being a man whom started at only 106lbs, whom we've seen visibly buzzed by fighters in the 130lb ream who he couldn't always KO; suddenly, not only knocking out full welterweights, but showing no effects from their power shots in a vision highly reminiscent of the movie 'Scarface', where a cocaine-infused "Tony Montana" stood tall despite being riddled with bullets. On a personal note, no question, what has taken place in recent years with Manny Pacquiao is very far outside the realm of anything I've witnessed in my era. However, it is outside of my belief that Pacquiao would extend this deep to make history. At the end of the day, I had a hard time believing Mosley, Holyfield, or Jones would ever go there, but we all later learned they did when the truth came out. As it relates to Pacquiao, my belief is that he has complete innocence until something comes out on him like it did with the others. Darkness can only cover truth for so long. If it is true, it will come to light.
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEK747), Facebook/Myspace).