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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Roach bets on Pacquiao victory by KO

HOLLYWOOD — The joke among journalists huddled around trainer Freddie Roach Tuesday afternoon at the Wild Card gym was that they were betting on Manny Pacquiao stopping Miguel Cotto either in the first, ninth or 10th round.

Anybody hoping to make a little money on the side knows that Roach has been spot on with his predictions concerning the Filipino champion lately.

And “I put a thousand on the first, ninth and 10th rounds,” said Roach.

Pacquiao hunts for Cotto’s WBO welterweight belt on Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the cerebral Roach believes his ward will snatch the crown from an opponent pasted to the canvas.

“Cotto gets hit early and once we hit him early, we’ll take him down,” Roach said.

Pacquiao, who is tapering off as fight night approaches, fought eight more rounds of sparring with Raul Beltran and Urbano Atillano and Roach hopes to have just 10 more rounds—six on Thursday and four on Saturday—of simulated matches before Team Pacquiao heads for Las Vegas.

After the session, Pacquiao went off to his first nationally televised appearance in the United States via the Jimmy Kimmel show where, according to Top Rank in its official website, the reigning pound-for-pound champ even belted out a ballad.

Pacquiao is slated to hold his media workout Wednesday afternoon at the Wild Card gym.

“I’m happy with everything and he’s where I want him to be,” said Roach, who has been on target with his predictions in Pacquiao’s last two fights.

Against Oscar De La Hoya in December 2008, Roach predicted a knockout by Pacquiao in the ninth round. After helplessly staying on the receiving end of a relentless barrage, De La Hoya did not answer the ninth-round bell.

Five months later, Roach predicted a second-round KO victory by his ward over British sensation Ricky Hatton. True enough, Pacquiao ended Hatton’s night—and possibly the Briton’s career—in the second round with a powerful left which his current foe, Cotto, described as a punch that could have brought down even Mike Tyson.

Roach said the only way Cotto is going to escape the fury of Pacquiao is to fight dirty, but the multiawarded mentor said he is counting on Kenny Bayless to keep things clean on fight night.

Roach said the game plan is to stay off the ropes and to keep the fight in the middle of the ring. The American has also tipped off Pacquiao on a Cotto mannerism that may help in fulfilling his predictions.

“Cotto cocks the left hook before he throws it,” Roach said of the Puerto Rican champ’s pet punch. “He basically tells you it’s coming.”

Source: inquirer.net

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