Friday, October 30, 2009
Freddie Roach is a master when it comes to mind games. He has been here so many times before and has successfully gotten into opponents' heads like Metal Gear's Solid Snake infiltrating enemy territory. If that doesn't ring a bell, think about computer viruses from visiting all those 'questionable' websites. Before you know it, it's already there.
Miguel Cotto on the other hand, is a stand-up guy who does not play games. Push the wrong buttons and you might end up like his uncle and former trainer/ manager Evangelista Cotto, whom the Boricua Bomber allegedly assaulted in a lawsuit filed in Puerto Rico last April.
So what happens when you put these two characters against each other on opposing sides? A recipe for an explosive night. As the slogan of Pacquiao-Cotto suggests- Firepower. But it's almost too easy for the three-time BWAA trainer of year Roach. If you asked me, Roach is playing Cotto like a fiddle as evidenced by Cotto's latest response to yet another statement by Roach saying his ward will knock Cotto out in one round.
"I'm going to make Freddie Roach eat his words. I can assure you that in the end I will be victorious," Cotto told Puerto Rico's Primera Hora. "I don't care what Freddie Roach says. The best thing he can do is prepare Manny Pacquiao to be at his best."
If I were the interviewer, at this point I would ask, are you sure Roach hasn't gotten to your head? Cotto further said in the same interview,
"Roach is not going to get in my head. He talks a lot and think the same thing will happen when Pacquiao fought Hatton. We will not fall into that game. None of the stupid things he says is going to affect me and nothing he says will change the outcome of the fight."
And again allow me to interject- Are you sure Mr. Cotto?
"The fights are won in the gym and we are working at 100%. In addition, nutrition has helped a lot and so the mood I am in is very different from previous times. In fact, we are very close to the weight. I've said from the beginning, Pacquiao is a great fighter, but he is a 126-pounder. Whether he is strong enough is one of the questions that he will have to answer when he steps into the ring with Miguel Cotto."
With all due respect to Cotto, Pacquiao just knocked out the universally recognized 140-pounder Ricky Hatton who was undefeated at a division just 5 pounds below the weight they will be fighting at come November 14. If Cotto truly feels Pacquiao is a 126-pounder, then he might want to readjust his thinking that his training camp is going 100% smoothly. Do you see Juan Manuel Lopez challenging the Timothy Bradleys and Shane Mosleys? I don't think so.
With that said, Roach is denitely inside Cotto's head. As much as I agree that he will only be facing Manny Pacquiao inside the ring, allow me to ask, how can that proposition be any less frightening? And if Roach's verbal jabs have already gotten under his skin, Pacquiao's physical jabs will definitely do far more severe cutting into his skin.
As much as I admire and respect Cotto as a fighter, I got to give the psychological toughness edge to Pacquiao on this one. Not only has Cotto shown in the past that he is susceptible to quitting when he went down on one knee against Antonio Margarito and when he skated his way to avoid Joshua Clottey in the final rounds of their fight last June, with all the comments and response Cotto has made, Dedham Freddie has definitely exposed Mr. Cotto's onion skin.