With the 50th and perhaps most difficult victory of his career,
Cotto was game early, controlling distance with the left jab and keeping Pacquiao from getting inside. It was clear the Filipino respected Cotto's punching power. Pacquiao looked more comfortable in the second round, circling the ring and penetrating Cotto's defense with straight lefts and rights. Midway through the second, Cotto lost the plot and starting trading. Pacquiao dropped Cotto in the third with a left to the body and a right hook upstairs -- and again in the fourth with a right hook and a vicious left to the jaw. Cotto was never the same again. He spent the next seven-and-a-half rounds just trying to get to the finish line -- ostensibly trying to counter-punch and box but, in reality, hovering like a fly waiting for the windshield on the freeway.
The stage for Saturday's history-making showdown was set over the past year-and-a-half with Pacquiao's three-pack of victories over
You've got to give Cotto credit. A modern-day Boricua folk hero in the mold of
Now Pacquiao can turn his attention to his personal Everest: