Saturday, October 24, 2009

'Beat Marquez, Mayweather, be the greatest'

By Abac Cordero
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Get rid of Miguel Cotto, face Juan Manuel Marquez a third time, beat Floyd Mayweather Jr., then call it a day.

If he could have his way, this is the course of action Freddie Roach wants Manny Pacquiao to take before the Filipino pound-for-pound champion retires as the greatest boxer of his era.

Roach said Pacquiao, barely three weeks before he takes on Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, is now 90 percent ready, and should be at his peak by next week in Los Angeles.

Pacquiao leaves tonight for LA to resume his training at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. After another two weeks, they head to Las Vegas for what should be the year’s biggest fight.

“Manny is 90 percent now. There are two weeks to 100 and we will hit that next week in LA,” said the three-time Trainer of the Year at the packed Scoop Sa Kamayan forum.

Less than a month ago, at the start of training camp in Baguio City, Roach watched Pacquiao on top of the ring, and said he was only 40 percent of his ability. Last week, the boxer said he was at 70 percent.

Roach said he was impressed with how the camp went on, and despite some lulls brought about by a string of typhoons that hit the country, he couldn’t ask for anything more.

“There were one or two days that went bad but overall the camp was good. We managed to limit the distraction. Everybody respected my decision to keep the camp closed,” he said.

Roach is so confident of a victory over Cotto, and had gone out with statements that they can knock the WBO welterweight champion from Puerto Rico “in the early rounds.”

Then he looked forward, saying he wants Marquez as Pacquiao’s next opponent. Top Rank’s Bob Arum said Pacquiao will fight next on March 15, and then run in the May 2010 elections.

“I want Marquez because he’s been crying a lot and I want to shut him up. Manny can knock him out,” said Roach of the Mexican counter-puncher who, to this day, believes that he has beaten Pacquiao twice.

They had a very controversial draw in 2004 and last year figured in another close contest with Pacquiao escaping with a split decision. In those two fights, Pacquiao knocked down Marquez four times.

This time, if the fight is held at 140 lb, one where Pacquiao’s IBO light-welterweight crown will be at stake, the Mexican will stay down on the canvass for good.

“I want it at 140 because that’s where Marquez is at his best. So we can shut him up,” said Roach.

And Mayweather Jr.?

“The fight is difficult to make because of the money issue,” said the American trainer of the fight the world wants to see, but one that the world may never get to see.

This early, there’s a million-dollar disagreement on how the purse should be divided as both boxers want a bigger piece of the pie. Not even an even 50-50 split is acceptable to both as of the moment.

But if by any chance the fight happens, then it’s the one which Pacquiao can’t affort to lose.

“Because if he wins, then he retires as the greatest of his time. Then he can run for President,” said Roach.

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