Pacquiao faces his biggest test

It’s rare for a two superstar fighters to meet when both are in their prime, such is the nature of big-time boxing nowadays.

So fight fans the world over will stop and savour the clash between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto tomorrow night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas tomorrow night.

Few Filipinos in Cayman will be working either and the few that are will be glued to TVs praying for another fabulous performance from their national hero.

Puerto Ricans will be rooting just as fervently for their best fighter and although Cotto starts the slight underdog despite being the naturally bigger man and holding the WBO welterweight belt, plenty of those in the know are backing him.

It’s actually made at 145 pounds – two pounds under the welterweight limit – which should favour Pacquiao.

One pundit firmly behind Cotto, 29, is Charles ‘The Killa’ Whittaker who believes he will be too strong for Pacquiao. ‘Cotto on points and if he catches Pacquiao early it could be a late knockout,’ he said.

Coach Donie Anglin is an avid Pacquiao, 30, fan and can only see it going one way. ‘Pacquiao will bust Cotto up and win on cuts or a late stoppage,’ he said.

Local amateur Dariel Ebanks thinks Cotto will be too powerful for the Pacman whereas another amateur, Kendall Ebanks (no relation) favours the Filipino on points.

Troy O’Neil said: ‘Pacquiao will have to use his speed to move around and pick Cotto off to win on points.’

Karate instructor Bob Daigle said: ‘Pacquiao’s amazing footwork is the key. I think Cotto is ready to be taken out and Pacman could knock him out in the latter rounds.’

Squash coach Dean Watson said: ‘Pacquiao is going to get lucky and knock him out in the fourth.’

Sunset football coach Paul Macey reckons Pacquiao will wear Cotto down very quickly within two or three rounds and blow him away.

Whatever the outcome, this is one is guaranteed to entertain from the first bell.

Cotto is effectively still an undefeated fighter because his sole loss in 35 bouts was when Antonio Margarito cheated with reinforced hand wraps. Pacquiao has lost three times in 54 bouts, twice by knockout.

Despite that, Pacquiao looks the more complete fighter and from his southpaw stance he will pick off the more powerful but slower Cotto and grind out a clear points win.