Miguel Cotto is by far the best opponent that Manny Pacquiao has ever faced. No, Cotto doesn't have the accomplishments of Oscar De La Hoya, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, or Erik Morales but he has something none of them ever had and that is depth.
Miguel Cotto can beat you going forward, he can beat you going backwards. He can lead or he can counterpunch and he can do all of that in both the orthodox and southpaw stance. Manny Pacquiao has gotten
better over the years but it's been a rare occasion when he has had to switch gears in a fight. Actually, I don't believe he has ever been in that situation. He will be when he fights Cotto.
This fight is going to come down to a few things:
-Who can take who's punch better?
Cotto has shown that he can take punches at 147 from legitimate welterweights. Pacquiao has not really been tested at 147. Add the fact that Cotto has power in both hands and I think Pacquiao is going to fail in that department.
-Who sets the pace?
Pacquiao fights a faster pace than Cotto, but I believe that will all be disrupted by Cotto's defense and counterpunching.
-Who has the bigger bag of tricks?
Pacquiao used to be a one dimensional fighter. More recently, he has added some depth to what he does. Cotto has had depth since the beginning.
I will finish by saying that Pacquiao cannot fight going backwards. He folds when punches are thrown at him in combination. I seriously doubt his small frame will be able to deal with Cotto's hooks to the body.
My Final Prediction:
I can't see this fight going any other way than Cotto by knock out in less than 5.