(AP Photo/ABC, Adam Larkey)
By Glenn Wilson
Dancing With The Stars is sweeping the nation once again. Would you believe it is at least sweeping my house? No? Well, I do watch it with my lovely wife Michelle. And yes, I’m even in a DWTS pool at work.
I admire dancers, it is definitely something I can not do that I wish I could. Right after Chel and I got together we went dancing. Well, we sat and watched other couples dancing.
After about ten rum and cokes, I had finally built up the nerve to , for lack of a better term, dance. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t artistic, plain and simple, it just wasn’t much good. The thing that shocks me the most was that I was a jock growing up. I played football, basketball, high school baseball and went to boxing gyms and sparred. I had always, until the fat attacked my body, thought of myself as a good athlete.
Then we started watching DWTS. Other than a select few, most the athletes on the show were fairly poor dancers. On the field and in the ring their footwork was amazing. Then it hit me. The problem was that in sports, athletes react. Dancing isn’t reacting, it is a series of steps. Athlete’s brains work on reaction to sudden situations.
And that is where the Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight will be determined, footwork.
If one of these men can make the other start thinking about adjusting their footwork, they may have taken the first step in winning the fight. Boxers have tendencies, strengths and things they are comfortable doing in the ring. Make that strength a weakness and the rest of the fight will fall into place.
Start with Miguel Cotto, he is very relaxed in the ring. He holds his hands high and throws good, power punches. He has very good footwork. But his tendency against the upper echelon fighters has been to move side to side, plant and then start punching.One of his biggest problems against Antonio Margarito, other than the possible handwraps, was that Margarito was quick to follow Miguel from one side of the ring to the other.
Much of the fight saw Margarito in Miguel’s face before Cotto had a chance to set his feet and unload his punches. Cotto’s punches didn’t have a huge effect on Antonio, but some of that can be traced back to his feet not being set.
Manny Pacquiao, on the other hand, is a fighter that doesn’t have to have his feet set to attack. He reminds me of a waterbug. He is there, now he isn’t. He is over here, hold on, now he’s over there. His biggest advantage against the bigger fighters is his ability to jump in and land devastating punches. His feet then carry him out of harm’s way before his opponent can land his shots.
People saw how quick he was against Oscar De La Hoya. What was fascinating was how quickly he attacked and then moved out of range of Oscar’s power. De La Hoya, like Cotto, must be set to be effective. Manny did not let that happen. Will Cotto?
So who will lead in this dance? Manny wants to perform a quickstep, while Miguel would prefer something in the waltz category. If Cotto is allowed time to plant his feet, he may catch Manny with some strong shots while coming in.
If Manny doesn’t allow Miguel time to get set, he may become like the little brother that is a constant pain in his older brother’s neck. He will do enough to frustrate Miguel to the point where Cotto is ready to tackle Manny.
Either way, the best dancer that night will win. It is all in the footwork.
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Glenn grew up in local boxing gyms and still worked out and sparred as recently as 2004.
Follow Glenn Wilson at Norfolk-Boxing-Examiner