"If Manny Pacquiao beats Miguel Cotto, I'm telling you, man, he might be the best fighter ever."
In a Boxeo Mundial Interview, posted the 25th of October, 2009, Paulie Malignaggi was asked to breakdown the upcoming ubermatch between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto. The breakdown, in retrospect, contains at least one highly surprising quote. Maybe, I should say instead that it's particularly surprising if you've only been aware of Malignaggi's comments on Pacquiao in the past few years, which have become notorious and negative. Here is the full quote:
"If Manny Pacquiao beats Miguel Cotto, I'm telling you, man, he might be the best fighter ever. I'm telling you. At this point, he's beaten Oscar, he's beaten Ricky, and I don't think Ricky's as good as people give him credit for, even though you're gonna say 'Oh, he killed Paulie' but, you know what? I'm telling you. Paulie, for two years, wasn't Paulie. You know what I mean? You know? I needed to get away from my ex-trainer Unfortunately, I realised that a little too late.
But, regardless of the fact, if Manny Pacquiao beats Miguel Cotto, you have to consider him maybe the best fighter in history, man, because, now he's done it. And it means he's done it all. Really, he's done it all. I mean, this is a welterweight who might be the best welterweight in the world in Miguel Cotto-and legitimately. Legitimately. He's definitely the strongest. You know what I mean? And he probably should be undefeated. You know, we saw what happened with Antonio Margarito, and, uh, you know, it probably happened in the Cotto fight.
One thing about Cotto though: He's not unbeatable. Anybody can beat him. Obviously, we're all human, and we can all be beat. The thing about Miguel Cotto is that you will be in a fight to beat him. Whether you beat him, or you don't beat him, it's a fight. And even Margarito, who did beat him, was in a fight to beat him. I don't know if Manny has the size and the kind of body to withstand an assault, to be in a fight with Cotto. It might be a fight. You know what I mean?
Can he withstand that? Because, Cotto is a strong fighter. Cotto's a dirty fighter. And he's not just a guy who comes forward, like Ricky. Ricky just comes forward, walking into punches. You know what I mean? Manny was too smart and too skilled for that. You know, and not that he's not too smart and too skilled for Miguel, because, I think, at times, Manny's going to show some good moments. I just think, um, at the end of the day, the size and the strength is just going to be a little too much for Manny to deal with, and, um, and people shouldn't look down at Manny for it though. You know what I mean?"
Some interesting thoughts from Paulie Malignaggi came from this interview. Especially, considering Paulie has now spent years of Pacquiao's career helping to heap suspicion upon him and downplay his continually demonstrated abilities throughout. The suspicion, of course, is largely based on PED's, although, I am not sure which performance-enhancing drug would make Paulie point to Pac's success with smartness and skillfulness. That doesn't mean Paulie's suspicions since then have been wrong, but I'm certain some of his arguments have been (pointing to imaginary size increases, for instance), and it's certainly interesting to look back on how well he rated Pacquiao before these controversies. His "might be the best fighter ever" is not something I think he said lightly.
It is a shame for the sport that those tests weren't agreed to, immediately, upon initial request, and that one of the best commentators in the sport, in my opinion, has developed this very public disdain for one of the sport's best fighters. It's not something that benefits boxing, and it is maddening that the major sanctioning bodies haven't gotten on one page, years ago, and said "Here is the testing, you take it or you don't get sanctioned to fight, and you don't get to pick your personal choice of testing agency. This is THE agency, these are THE tests. This is not for you to bicker about amongst each other." To do that, have a unified front, and also have the tests be reasonably clever, so that we don't have storylines like this developing the way they did, I don't see how it's that much to ask for a major international sport. A sport that boasts some of the highest-paid athletes in the world, and the single highest-paid athlete in the world. Sort of like, why instant replay for contested referee calls on televised fights seems like an obvious one. But, that's another can of worms we can open on another day!
Interview page address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZiBa0L123k
Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing
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