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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Roach: Pacquiao-Cotto gig will be a title fight

Miguel Cotto wouldn’t want to stake his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight (147-lbs) belt against Manny Pacquiao in their November 14 showdown in Las Vegas.

But Pacquaio’s trainer Freddie Roach expressed belief the Cotto’s strap would eventually be placed on the line in the fight set at a catchweight of 145-lbs – whether the Puerto Rican fighter likes it or not.

“If (Cotto) gives it (welterweight crown) up, I think the WBO will make Manny the number one. We'll pay the sanctioning fee and the title will be on the line. That's what I think will happen," Roach said Sunday in an interview with BoxingScene.Com.

Cotto had publicly expressed his refusal to defend his title against the Filipino ring icon, saying the 145-lb catchweight is “not a category" and that if Pacquiao wanted a title fight, it had to be at the welterweight limit of 147-lbs. He even said he’s willing to give up the strap if the WBO would insist on making it a title fight.

WBO president Francisco Valcarcel himself said it could still be a WBO-sanctioned welterweight title fight, citing a similar precedent, the Oscar De La Hoya-Bernard Hopkins duel for the middleweight (160-lb) crown which was fought at 158-lbs.

Pacquiao, realizing the opportunity to win an unprecedented world title in seven divisions, had instructed his lawyer, Jeng Gacal, to coordinate with Valcarcel and promoter Bob Arum to make the necessary arrangements, including payment of the $150,000 sanction fee.

“I haven't spoken to Manny (about it) but if it was me, I would ask for the title to be on the line. I think regardless of what Cotto says, the title will be on the line," Roach said in the BoxingScene interview.

“I want it for Manny's legacy. Manny won titles at 112, 122, 126, 130, 135, and 140. I want to see him become the first fighter to win seven world titles in seven weight divisions," he added.

Pacquiao, the current International Boxing Organization and Ring Magazine light-welterweight champion, had previously owned titles at flyweight (World Boxing Council), super-bantamweight (International Boxing Federation), featherweight (Ring Magazine), super-featherweight (WBC), and lightweight (WBC).

Source: gmanews.tv

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