Pacquiao stops Cotto to win seventh title

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Pacquiao stops Cotto to win seventh title

LAS VEGAS - Manny Pacquiao enhanced his status as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world with a commanding win over holder Miguel Cotto to claim the WBO welterweight title on Saturday.

The Filipino southpaw stopped his opponent 55 seconds into the 12th and final round to win a seventh world title in an unprecedented seventh weight class. Pacquiao twice knocked the Puerto Rican to the canvas in the earlier rounds at the MGM Grand Garden Arena before referee Kenny Bayless ended the fight after Pacquiao had pummeled his opponent with a flurry of combinations against the ropes.

“Our plan was not to hurry and to take our time because we knew his strategy,” a beaming Pacquiao said in a ringside television interview. “We knew he was going to counter and that’s what he did. We were very careful in the early rounds.”

Cotto, who was cut above the right eye and had his nose bloodied after being repeatedly battered by Pacquiao’s jabs and punches, said: “Manny is one of the best.”

Watched by a sellout crowd that included basketball great Magic Johnson and Hollywood actors Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, Cotto landed a couple of telling left jabs in the opening round to hold an early advantage.

Both fighters picked up the pace in the second round, exchanging thumping jabs and body punches before Pacquiao began to take control. Pacquiao, who improved to 50-3-2 with 38 knockouts, dropped Cotto to the canvas with a searing right hook in the third round and later pinned his opponent to the ropes with a series of combinations.

Cotto struck Pacquiao with a left uppercut late in the round and landed a right uppercut in the fourth before he was again knocked to the canvas by a Pacquiao uppercut. The frenetic pace continued in the fifth and sixth rounds, although the Filipino maintained overall dominance by cleverly mixing left jabs with right hooks. In the seventh, Pacquiao landed a thudding hook and then an uppercut to leave Cotto reeling and he kept the Puerto Rican on the back foot in the eighth, twice pinning him to the ropes with a flurry of jabs. In the ninth, Pacquiao forced Cotto to backpedal into the corner with a furious onslaught before twice more battering his opponent against the ropes.

In the undercard, unbeaten Yuri Foreman claimed the World Boxing Association super welterweight championship with a 12-round unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Daniel Santos on Saturday.

Foreman won his 28th consecutive fight with no losses and became the first Israeli to win a world championship title. Foreman outboxed Santos throughout the fight at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, knocking Santos down twice including once in the final round which helped clinch the victory for him on all three judge’s scorecards. Foreman was born in Belarus, raised in Israel but now lives in New York. He scored previous wins over Anthony Thompson, Andrey Tsurkan and Saul Roman. Santos (32-3-1, 23 KOs) was trying to make his first defence of the WBA title he won last year by beating Joachim Alcine.

Reuters, AFP
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