With only three weeks left before the event every regular Las Vegas tourist booked months ahead for, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto are intensifying their trainings in preparation for what each of them considered "the fight of their life".
At nearly only 29 years of age, Cotto's already battling issues such as rumors that his career is on the downside already. After the battering he sustained from Margarito who handed him his only career loss, Cotto was gifted with a confidence-rebuilding bout at the expense of Michael Jennings. However, psyche scars of the Margarito loss was evident with Cotto's recent fight with Joshua Clottey, where Cotto got away with a Split Decision win not so much for his performance, but for Clottey's own over-hesitant approach.
Despite somewhat tarnished on his three recent outings, Cotto's out to prove to the world that he's still the top welterweight there is right now, and is aiming to topple Pacquiao from the P4P throne.
Pacquiao on the other hand is gunning for his seventh world championship title and is aiming to surpass Oscar De La Hoya's feat he currently share with. Though his recent outings are highly remarkable in terms of personal performance, Pacquiao couldn't get total respect due to controversies with regards to his opponents' conditions prior to the fights.
So, just how will this bout turn-out? A lot of articles have been written showing the numbers with regards to their physical attributes, and they don't differ much. The discrepancies will be further narrowed down as the weigh-in date nears, as the bout is set on a catch weight of 145lbs., with Cotto going south and Pacquiao going north of the scales.
Both fighters have distinct skills, with Pacquiao leaning on the speed-side, and Cotto having the notoriety in neutralizing one. Pacquiao have the ability to evade as fast as he comes in to launch peppering shots. Cotto is very well-known for his stalking and the ability to somehow make his opponents feel like the ring's actually smaller.
In terms of power, Cotto have a slight edge in terms of career KO percentage over Pacquiao. However, precision and volume have always been Pacquiao's fighting trade mark.
Cotto's motivation for this fight is deeper than that of Pacquiao. Though both fighters carry their nation on their shoulders on their fights, Cotto's out to salvage his career, which makes this event personal for him.
However, there are doubts whether Cotto's new trainer can really help him tap into that motivation. Unlike Cotto, Pacquiao had been under the tutelage of Freddie Roach since making his debut into the world stage.
Regardless of how this bout will turn out, only one thing's certain for now. These are the types of bout the Boxing Sport needs. Not much hype, but highly anticipated. No temper-raising trash-talk, and no promises issued, but with the smell of sinister intentions emanating from both camps, we can almost hear the explosions this early.
This will indeed be a fight, and even with a year to go, may just be the decade's greatest, and not just a money scheme.