'Call Em Out Fridays': Pacquiao/Cotto - Where's The Beef?

Manny PacquiaoBy Vivek Wallace: This weeks 'Call Em Out Fridays' segment shines light on perhaps the only topic in the sport able to effectively divert attention from last weeks sudden and tragic loss of warrior Arturo Gatti (RIP). Prior to Puerto Rican phenom Miguel Cotto's questionable victory over Ghanaian Joshua Clottey, it was said to be practically etched in stone that a victory for Cotto would result in a Fall showdown between he and Filipino phenom Manny Pacquiao. Fast forward a few weeks, and reality tells us that either that once cemented stone has been reduced to rubbish, or that it was simply cast into an ocean, swallowed by the politics of the sport in a way that rarely ever resurfaces. As we look at the ever-evolving details surrounding this topic, it brings to mind a few names of the past. The Oscar De La Hoya's and the Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s to be more precise; as both men most recently sat atop the highest seat in all the land, and during their time there, every potential opponent was forced to dance to their cadence, whether the final product was music to the hardcore fight aficionado's ears or not..

In the case of Oscar De La Hoya, rumor has it that the demands placed upon Floyd Mayeather jr. at the time ranged from a smaller ring, to particular glove types, to money, to future fight promotional rights, and the list goes on. In the case of Mayweather, (the Hatton fight), this list was a bit more modest, but at the end of the day, the two most critical factors (and the only two that Mayweather has historically cared about - money and weight) fell under his ruling, as well. As we sit in the midst of tense negotiations for a mega fight once again, several of the other details have been worked out, but this time with Pacquiao at the helm - despite a short list - we learn there's one major point of contention that in his mind can not be denied. So often we're used to hearing that money is the separating factor between two mega stars in the sport. Well, for once and perhaps the final time, we can say that isn't quite the case. The issue this time....3 lbs. In the minds of many, this three pounds serves as little to debate over, yet when you talk to fans surrounding the respective fight camps, these three pounds of separation could be make or break. When you review the Pacquiao perspective, there's a surprisingly strong and extremely durable case to be presented. After all, this is a fighter who has come up in weight from the tender range of 106lbs. He's single-handedly responsible for some of the sports most biggest memorable recent moments, but when the rubber hits the road, the reality is that this is a guy who has never spent a day of his life over 155lbs. Ever! That's goofing off, away from the ring, celebrating on a remote island with family and friends without a care in the world. No matter how he lets himself go, his bodily capacity to expand is purely at it's brink. Another strong argument to parallel this one is the fact that he now - by everyones admission - has the rights to call the shots, based on the fact that he holds the P4P torch in the post-Mayweather era. Collectively, these two fine points go a long way for a small warrior, but a perspective from Mr. Cotto would beg to differ.

From Cotto's angle, many can immediately remember how lethargic he looked in his days under 147lbs, and despite his solid victories, if honest, we all can attest that there was no way he could remain in that range with total success, as evidenced in the visuals of him being frequently wobbled, and even touching the canvass a time or two. Cotto went on to evolve from a fighter perceived to have chin deficiencies, to a fighter durable enough to sustain powershots from Shane Mosley and a potentially glove-loading Antonio Margarito (in all but the final two rounds). That increase in weight was a direct benefit, as it clearly gave him more strength. Whose side of the argument one falls on depends on who they support, but the reality here is that both men have perspectives that carry a lot of weight - (pun intended). With the month of July closing in and time getting short - as it relates to having a successful promotional tour and training camp - the focus is now shifting to the possibility of other opponents stepping in. A Mayweather fight is the biggest possibility to be made, although you can expect more issues to rise between the two than we currently have. A Mosley fight is potentially the best, considering the great come-straight-ahead styles, and would also be the easiest to make considering that he has already conceded to critical points like weight and money. As great as both of those fights would be, there's a huge Puerto Rican contingent who now stands on the brink of being pushed aside as a result. But pushed aside for what? 3 pounds.....a mere 48 ounces! Being a Miami, Florida native, I can remember a time when the term 48 ounces was received with pure admiration, as famed Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula created a huge buzz by rewarding locals who could gorge away a complete 48 ounce steak. It was pure fan fave. Sadly enough, as it relates to the sport of boxing, that same 48 ounces is a not-so-welcomed term, as it now stands in the way of a colossal showdown waiting to happen. When the fat-boys (and girls) of Miami showed up at Shula's Steakhouse restaurant, they lined up one by one to ask the chef, "Where's the beef"? And in a political era of the sport where hardcore fight fans could care less about all the fuss found in 3 lbs of separation between two warriors, we all collectively find ourselves echoing their sentiments by stating to both Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto: "Fellas.....3 pounds?...48 ounces? What's the problem?...(and in an ode to Miami's hometown gordito's)......WHERE IN THE HELL IS THE BEEF"?

(Vivek Wallace can be reached at, 954-292-7346, Facebook, and Myspace).

Article posted on 17.07.2009

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