By Karl Freitag
Legendary Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach spoke to Fightnews.com Tuesday prior to Miguel Cotto’s workout on Tuesday at the Don Miguel Boxing Gym in Orlando, Florida. Roach spoke about training Miguel Cotto, plus gave his views on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s most recent fight and Manny Pacquiao’s upcoming showdown with Brandon Rios in Macau, China, and much more.
I guess nobody asked you yet, what do you think of the Chavez fight?
I watched it last night for the first time, I didn’t have HBO at my house (laughs). My TV room is under construction so I watched it last night. I thought he lost the fight. He got a gift. He didn’t look too good in the fight and he needs to get back down to 160 or 168 lbs and take things serious to be a contender with the top people in the world.
So do you think he’s 160 lb fighter?
I would say ’68 is a better weight to be honest with you. He struggles to make ’60 a little too much, but I think 168 would be a good weight for him, but, again we had three great fights together. His work ethic was great and so forth but I can’t find that guy. He’s become his own boss now and as long as he’s the boss, he won’t do well.
He indicated that he’s planning on getting back with you possibly, is that going to happen?
Well, before this last fight, a month before he called me and told me that he wanted to meet me in the gym at 7 PM, and I waited to 7:30 and I went home and he never showed up. So I’m not sure how serious he really is.
Moving on to the business at hand, Miguel Cotto. You trained Manny Pacquaio to fight Cotto a few years ago, compare the Miguel Cotto of then to the Cotto that you’re training now.
Well, I think Miguel’s really made a great comeback in our training camp. He brought back a lot of what he used to do and what I knew Manny had to be careful to watch out for in the fight. Miguel has really, really trained hard for this fight, he’s very disciplined, he’s one of the most disciplined people I’ve ever met. When he called me it was kind of a surprise, but it was a great surprise for someone at that level to think I could help him and I think that I have helped him and I think you’re going to see Miguel Cotto do really well and I don’t think his career’s over yet.
You said you brought back what he used to have. Why do you think he lost it?
I think just sometimes we forget about fundamentals and so forth and sometimes we lose track of that. We get so caught up in what we’re doing and so forth, so the thing is sometimes you have to go back to the fundamentals and I think that’s something he had to do and get back to basics and I think the fundamentals always work for you.
So after this fight you’re going to head off to the Philippines and you’re going to be there for the next month or so?
I’ll be there for the next six weeks in General Santos City and the last week in Macau, China and get Manny ready for his fight and it’s going to be a lot of traveling but, you know, being busy is like the best thing in the world for me.
Coming off his last fight, two straight losses, are you going to change anything for this fight?
We definitely have to make some changes and Brandon Rios is a young up-and-coming fighter and is pretty strong and pretty good chin. There are some adjustments we have to make but overall I think Manny should destroy this guy and if he doesn’t look really impressive in winning this fight, I’m going to talk to him about it maybe being over.
What about the possible Mayweather fight. Is that still something?
You know, last time we offered a 60/40 split and he came out with these excuses why he doesn’t want to fight us and so forth, but like Manny said, I’m not going to wait for him any longer. A 60/40 split is as far as we could go. I felt it was more than fair and he turned that down. I don’t think the fight is ever going to happen to be honest with you.
As far as a rematch with Marquez, there are reports out there that he [Marquez] turned down $13 million. Do you think that fight will ever happen?
He would have made $10 million more than he’s making in this fight [against Bradley] and he didn’t give us a rematch and we gave three rematches. Me and Manny were very disappointed with him, we didn’t get the rematch but maybe somewhere along the line we’ll get that. There are two fights out there we want. We want the rematch and we want Mayweather. Those are the fights we want but will we get them? I’m not sure.