There was a long pause before words – just nine of them actually – came out Freddie Roach's mouth.
"If he stays on the ropes, he'd get beat."
Roach had been asked what would prevent Manny Pacquiao from winning his Nov. 14 bout with Miguel Cotto and that's what the venerable cornerman told the Bulletin after presiding over the Filipino's final workout Saturday afternoon, just hours before they flew to Los Angeles for the final push of their preparation.
Roach wasn't pleased with the way Pacquiao conducted himself up the ring and the 49-year-old trainer said he expects the mood to change when they begin training under familiar conditions at the Wild Card in Hollywood beginning Monday afternoon (Tuesday in Manila).
Two new sparring partners – Raymond Serrano of Colorado and Ray Beltran from Arizona – have been signed to replace Urbano Antillon and Jose Luis Castillo.
"He has to stay focused and he can't afford to take Cotto lightly," said Roach, a bit disappointed that Pacquiao opted to horse around with Shawn Porter and Urbano Antillon than focus at the task at hand.
"If Manny does that," said Roach, referring to the many instances when he let himself get pummeled while pinned on the ropes, "Cotto's going to beat us."
Although Pacquiao has resorted to such antics many times before in training camp including at the Wild Card, Roach insisted the 30-year-old lefty has no other choice but to concentrate fully on Cotto.
"We can't afford to take it easy in sparring because Cotto's not going to be easy on us. Cotto's going to be hard on us."
Still, Roach is more than confident Pacquiao will not resort to allowing himself getting caught with his back on the ropes come fight night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Asked why Pacquiao is going to emerge victorious, Roach only had one thing to say.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao was mobbed by his legion of fans when he finally arrived at LAX on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila) from the Philippines.
Pacquiao will take the day off on Sunday as he resumes training camp this time under familiar conditions at the Wild Card in Hollywood owned and operated by his trainer Freddie Roach.
Noted orthodontist Ed de la Vega, who customizes Pacquiao's mouthpiece, was on hand to welcome Pacquiao.
Pacquiao will train in Hollywood until Nov. 9, the day a customized bus will bring Pacquiao and his team to Las Vegas.