By Dennis Principe
Apparently legendary trainer Freddie Roach wants to “pull the trigger” and silence critics of the one-sided win scored by Manny Pacquiao over Oscar De La Hoya late last year. Interviewed by the Philippine radio show “Sports Chat” hosted by this writer, Roach said he wants his prized ward to battle a legitimate world welterweight champion who is at his prime and is not past the age of 30. “When we fought Oscar before the fight they said he’s going to kill Manny and then afterwards they say he was old. So after we beat (Miguel) Cotto what are they going to say?” said Roach during an overseas telephone interview from his Wild Card Gym. “So we’re going to beat another champion at that weight and that will be another achievement for Manny Pacquiao, another world title for the pound for pound king.”
The age factor is probably one of the reasons why Roach is seemingly disinterested in getting another world welterweight champion Shane Mosley as Pacquiao’s next opponent. Mosley, 37, holds the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight crown in knocking out Cotto’s lone conqueror Antonio Margarito in the 9th round last January at the Staples Center.
The 28-year-old Cotto (34-1, 27KO’s), who holds a 12-round decision win over Mosley (46-5, 39 KO’s), is the current World Boxing Organization (WBO) title holder.
“When we fought Oscar at 147 he was not the world champion. Cotto’s a world champion at 147 so he will definitely be our toughest fight to date,” said Roach “Shane lost to Cotto so who’s the better fighter? Stylewise Shane’s a little bit faster than Cotto. But either guy is fine but I think Cotto’s a little more marketable.”
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum is working on a Pacquiao-Cotto fight on November 14 in Las Vegas.
At the moment both fighters are studying the offers presented by Arum and that the astute promoter is expecting a deal within the next few days. Pacquiao’s emissary Michael Koncz recently arrived in the Philippines after a brief meeting with Arum in Las Vegas last week.
Initially Pacquiao wants an October fight date but a potential conflict with Baseball’s World Series is making it hard for Arum to seal a Pay-Per-View date that month.