By Dennis Principe
If Manny Pacquiao were to fight Miguel Cotto this weekend, there is no doubt in the mind of Freddie Roach the Filipino boxing sensation could still win the highly-anticipated bout. This was how Roach described Pacquiao’s conditioning as soon as the two linked up for the first time since their 2nd round demolition of Ricky Hatton last May in Las Vegas: “He was very sharp. If I didn’t know better I would think he was in the gym for a month. His combinations are fast and his power is already there. His mindset, we’re on the same page that we know how to fight Cotto,” said Roach moments after their training.
The legendary trainer arrived Tuesday morning in Manila along with conditioning coach Alex Ariza and immediately proceeded to Baguio City where they arrived just before lunchtime.
Wearing a T-shirt with the face of national hero Jose Rizal, Roach took charge right away in Cooyeesan Hotel’s Shape-up Gym.
“Without a doubt, this is our best start. He’s now in great shape and I’m fine with that,” said Roach.
The whole time they were inside the ring, Roach and Pacquiao apparently were trying to work on the fighter’s counter shots as well as his footwork.
From time to time though Roach and Pacquiao discussed about their technique by whispering at each other.
After their more than two hours of work out Roach cleared to Fightnews that training in Baguio was never an issue in their previous discussions.
“It has nothing to do with the Philippines. The only problem I have is the jetlag and going back so I want to make sure we’re going to have enough time to come back and adjust and be 100%,” said Roach.
Roach insists they have to be back in the United States at least two weeks before the fight.
“That’s the minimum and we might go straight to Las Vegas and skip Wild Card because going from one gym to another gym and another gym gets a little bit crazy,” said Roach.
This weekend four sparring partners led by American undefeated boxer Shawn Porter who are scheduled to arrive and all, according to Roach, are capable of simulating the style of Cotto.
“Porter is my main guy right now. He’s 11-0 with 10 knockouts and is a light middleweight who’s got a strong left hook,” said Roach.
Pacquiao ( 49-3-2, 37 knockouts) will battle Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs) for 12-rounds with the Puerto Rican’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown at stake on November 14 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. Both combatants agreed to fight at a catch weight of 145lbs.