by Alex P. Vidal
SAN FRANCISCO, California – Manny Pacquiao’s victory in the May 2010 congressional election in Mindanao in the Philippines is already “crystal clear” according to a member of his coaching staff, after the powerful Chiongbian family has decided not to field a candidate against him, but his battle against Miguel Angel Cotto on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas, Nevada will not be a walk in the park.
“Cotto is not a pushover,” volunteered Pacquiao’s trainer Ben Delgado in Tagalog. “Although I believe Manny will beat him, we must take note that he is younger by two years and has beaten Shane Mosley.”
Delgado, who lives in San Jose County, said the 30-year-old Pacquiao’s priorities are to put away Cotto this year and focus on his political plans which have unofficially kicked off with a series of “speaking engagements” in different areas in Saranggani Province.
Pacquiao’s attention won’t be divided, vowed the 75-year-old Delgado, as he will start revving up for Cotto (34-1, 27 KO’s) in August when all his social and commercial obligations have been ironed out in the Philippines.
Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 KO’s) had been dreaming to become a legislator but was waylaid by Rep. Darlene Antonino, a petite opposition stalwart, in the May 2007 election.
The reigning International Boxing Organization (IBO) light welterweight king is a supporter of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and has sworn in as member of Ms. Arroyo’s KAMPI party headed by a presidential timber and member of Ms. Arroyo’s cabinet, Ronaldo Puno.
The Cotto deal was clinched after the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 35 KO’s) and Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4, 37 KO’s) originally scheduled on July 18 in Las Vegas, Nevada, was moved to Nov. 17 after Mayweather suffered a cartilage injury while training.
Pacquiao was supposed to fight the winner although his main target is 32-year-old Mayweather nicknamed “Pretty Boy”.
Cotto is a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico and is currently crownholder of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight tiara he wrested on June 13 via split decision win over Joshua Clottey in Madison Square Garden, New York.
His name was beneath the long list of potential Pacquiao customers a month ago until the announcement of Mayweather’s injury that forced Top Rank boss Bob Arum to frantically shop for Pacquiao’s foe before the year ends.
Since turning professional on January 23, 2001, Cotto rolled into 33 straight wins before absorbing his first and only defeat.
The five feet and seven inches tall Puerto Rican tasted a humiliating 11th round TKO loss to Mexico’s Antonio Margarito (37-6, 27 KO’s) on July 26, 2008 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada and yielded his World Boxing Association (WBA) 147-lb belt before a highly partisan crowd.
Margarito, 31, was annihilated in the 9th round at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California in January 24 by Shane Moseley (46-5, 39 KO’s) who lost to Cotto by unanimous decision on Nov. 10, 2007.