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Friday, August 7, 2009

Roach: We don't need the fight if the title is not on the line

"If Pacquiao wants the fight to be for the title, it will have to be at 147 pounds". That was WBO welterweight titleholder Miguel Ángel Cotto’s vehement declaration when interviewed by Puerto Rican newspaper Primerahora last week. Cotto does not believe that a catch weight of 145 lbs. merit staking the title he valiantly defended against Joshua Clottey, all bloodied and bruised with a nasty gash practically the whole fight. That is his prerogative and no one can take that away from him. It may also be a concession tactic. Wisely using the title belt to boost his purse share completely mindful of how important the belt is to the whirlwind from the Philippines.

Meanwhile, there is no way in hell that Manny Pacquiao will budge and go north of 145 lbs. "We don't need the fight if the title is not on the line," so asserts Freddie Roach. A title win will give the Pac-Man a record breaking 7 titles in 7 weight classes. That will separate Manny from Oscar Dela Hoya and will move a few spots closer to Sugar Ray Robinson in the all-time greatest list. It is not ludicrous to assume that team Pacquiao will not make the date with Cotto if Cotto’s not bringing the trinket.

So what now? Top Rank’s Bob Arum is trying to work this out before the scheduled kick-off news conference on September 10 at Yankee Stadium. The only solution is to get Cotto to stake his belt. Arum, a member of the distinguished hall of fame, knew better going into the negotiations that there are historical implications if Cotto defends his title against Pacquiao yet played it down and instead declared that "nobody in the US cares about the belts". He was not mindful of Pacquiao’s legion of fans who clamored for the title supporting their idol’s quest for boxing immortality and a permanent place in the sweet science record books. Pacquiao is a definite shoo-in to the hall of fame and will most likely get every vote when his time comes. The chance to take this record-shattering recognition is arguably a step above it. This is unheard of and will take another generation to break, if that’s even possible.

So let’s work on a hypothetical. Let us say the November 14 fight is not yet signed while Cotto will stand by his pronouncement and Pacquiao eventually backs off their scrap. Who are Pacquiao’s alternatives? Who are the other title holders that can give Pacquiao a shot at the unbelievable 7 division titles?

Source: 8countnews.com

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