By Dennis Principe
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao to beat Miguel Cotto by decision? Trainer Freddie Roach is having second thoughts.
Impressed by the frenetic pace by which Pacquiao is attacking his preparations for his fight against the Puerto Rican, Roach now believes that the Filipino ring icon has what it takes to knock out the reigning World Boxing Organization welterweight champion.
“I picked him to win by decision, but until I started working with him to this camp, the way he’s punching, his speed, we will knock this guy out,” Roach said of Pacquiao, who announced over national television Tuesday that he was donating P1 million to relief drives for the victims of Tropical Storm “Ondoy.”
“I commiserate with the victims of the tropical storm,” Pacquiao told a news station in Filipino, adding that he will try to fly to Manila on Sunday during a break in training to distribute relief goods to victims of the flash sloods triggered by Ondoy. “We will be giving rice, noodles and other relief goods.”
Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 knockouts) will battle Cotto (34-1, 27 KOs) over 12-rounds for the Puerto Rican’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown on Nov. 14 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. Both combatants agreed to fight at a catch weight of 145 lb.
Things picked up in Team Pacquiao’s preparation for that bout with sparring sessions kicking off Tuesday.
Pacquiao’s sparring partners Shawn Porter and Urbano Untillon hit the Philippine summer capital yesterday, with Freddie Roach describing Porter as the one who can really mimic the Puerto Rican Cotto.
Porter, who is bigger than Cotto, moves like the Puerto Rican star. Porter, a middleweight, is listed as 5-foot-7 and owns a record of 10-0 record, with eight wins by knockout.
Antillon, a former Pacquiao sparring partner who owns a victory over the Filipino’s younger brother Bobby, owns an impressive record of 26-1, with 19 knockouts.
“Basically we’re going to have a fast start and we’re not going to give [Cotto] any momentum,” said Roach. “The way Manny is really fighting right now, I guess we’re going to frustrate Cotto with his speed.”
Meanwhile, Jeff Mayweather, uncle of undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr., feels that a Pacquiao loss to Cotto will not rub off the luster from a showdown between the Filipino ring icon and the undefeated American.
“Just as long as he doesn’t lose in a devastating manner it would still be the biggest fight out there,” said Mayweather.
With a report from Francis T.J. Ochoa