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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cotto no pushover - Roach

MANILA, Philippines - Freddie Roach has started doing his homework in anticipation of a big match between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas.

The three-time Trainer of the Year told the Philippine radio program Sports Chat that Cotto, the WBO welterweight champion, is no pushover as others would think.

“He is a very strong fighter and puncher. We have to pay attention to that. That is my biggest worry,” he said of Cotto, who’s younger, taller and heavier.

Roach, the hottest trainer in the sport today, is not wasting time.

“We have to come up with a game plan to defeat this guy. I studied his fights last night. I’m going to see his previous fights and see if we could pick up some habits that we can take advantage of.”

Negotiations for the fight are on, and Top Rank’s Bob Arum, who handles both boxers, said it’s close to being sealed. He said it should be done next week.

Roach feels it’s just a matter of time before the fight is formalized, whether it’s held at 145 lb or less, and whether Pacquiao gets 65 percent or everything or more.

Pacquiao, at 30 two years older, should concentrate on the body if he wants to chop down Cotto early. Nacho Beristain, the Mexican trainer, believes that Cotto may go down in six rounds.

“Manny should take advantage of the body. He’s not strong to the body. He has a pretty good chin. He can take punches in the head. But I think we have to break him down in the earlier rounds and work at the body a lot,” said Roach.

Pacquiao was at ringside when Cotto survived Josh Clottey a few weeks ago at the Madison Square Garden, and he probably liked what he saw – a beatable 147 lb champion.

“I think it is a hard fight for us. But I think it is a winnable fight. I think Manny can now box him,” Roach said.

“Whether it is 143, 144 or 145 pounds, it does not matter. I have no problem with 145 pounds. Cotto is a welterweight champion of the world. When we fought Oscar (Dela Hoya) at 147, he was not a world champion. Miguel would be the toughest fight to date at least on paper.”

Another concern for Roach is what people might say after Pacquiao, who has won his last four fights in different weight classes, beats the Puerto Rican champ.

He said Dela Hoya was favored to win against Pacquiao but when the American legend lost in eight rounds people came up with excuses.

“They say he (Dela Hoya) is going to kill Manny. After the fight, they say he is old. After we beat Cotto, what are they going to say?,” Roach told Sports Chat.

Source: philstar.com

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