Freddie Roach suddenly sounded cranky and irritated when a pack of writers from the Philippines asked him about the brewing battle between him and Joe Santiago, Miguel Cotto’s taskmaster. Roach and Santiago have been trading verbal jabs lately as the excitement over the Nov. 14 showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Cotto intensified further with the American strategist questioning the qualifications of his Puerto Rican counterpart. “This young coach said he wants me to put all my trophy on the line because he is the best trainer in the world. Well, we’ll see about that after the fight,” said Roach, saying that he’s been told that Santiago has been bad-mouthing him. “I have got a thousand, a million trophies from boxing and he’s never fought before. Pretty funny. He’s never fought in his life and he has no idea what it is like being in the ring. He’s got a towel on his shoulder and gives water and all of a sudden he is a coach,” said the 49-year-old former fighter.
“Cotto trains himself,” added Roach.
Earlier in the interview, Roach’s mood was nice and calm, especially when asked about the condition of the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound.
“He (Pacquiao) was playing around a little bit but when he wanted to turn it on, he was there and I was very happy with the sparring and we’re right on schedule,” added Roach.
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While Roach was critical of Santiago, Pacquiao’s conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, was all praises for Cotto’s strength coach, Phil Landman.
“I give the guy (Cotto’s conditioning coach Phil Landman) credit for a lot of things that Cotto overcame in some of those tough fights where I thought he wanted to quit but he didn’t and I thought that that was his conditioning that got him over that hump,” noted Alex Ariza, the Colombian-born LA-based fitness expert.
But in the end, Ariza said, it’ll be the man in the corner who will play a pivotal role in the outcome of the scheduled 12-rounder.
“The guy (Landman) is doing a great job and I think his guy will come in shape and my guy is coming in shape and it’s going to boil down to who you have in the corner and I have Freddie Roach and he’s got whoever that is and that is where it’s going to come down to.”
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Buboy Fernandez, Pacquiao’s childhood friend and training assistant, said Cotto’s left hook is their main concern.
“Cotto’s left hook is what we’re watching,” said Fernandez.
Still, Fernandez said they have devised a plan that will prevent Cotto from inflicting damage with that money punch.
“We know that they studied Manny’s fight with Juan Manuel Marquez and they supposedly saw some weakness there but we have remedied that. We know what they’re thinking.”