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Freddie Roach has a game plan versus Cotto

News - Sports Articles

MANILA, Philippines - Start fast and finish strong.

As simple as that, Freddie Roach laid out part of the gameplan when Manny Pacquiao shoots for the WBO welterweight crown against reigning champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico on Nov. 14.

“We need to be fast and aggressive at the start,” said Roach, noting that Cotto, being a slow starter, may be thrown off track if Pacquiao jumps on him right on the opening bell at the MGM Grand.

“Miguel is a slow starter. We must not give him the momentum because he gets stronger,” added Roach.

After five weeks of training in three separate gyms in the Philippines, Pacquiao arrived in Los Angeles Saturday evening, took a rest the following day, and should be at the Wild Card Gym today.

It will be two weeks of intense workout in Roach’s Hollywood sweatshop, where the number of sparring rounds will get to as high as 12 before they start tapering off heading to the final week before the fight.

Roach, who’s been working in and out of the ring making sure he prepares the right plan against Cotto, said he’d love to see Pacquiao jumping on the younger, bigger and stronger Puerto Rican.

Based on his previous fights, the hottest trainer in boxing today said Cotto is most vulnerable in the early going, and against Zab Juddah the 27-year-old champion was in trouble midway through the first round.

Juddah is not Pacquiao, and Roach believes that if caught early, Cotto may find himself in bigger trouble against the heavy-handed Filipino pound-for-pound champion.

Before training camp started last Sept. 21, Roach said the coming fight might last the distance, but after a couple of weeks at the gym in Baguio City he said they’re going to get Cotto “in the early rounds.”

A few days ago, Internet stories came out saying Roach is even looking at a first-round stoppage. However, he said he was just “playing round” when he said that.

“The thing is I feel that if we go after him and pressure him right away we can get him out of there. If you see his tapes, he’s been hurt in the first round at least seven times he’s been down a couple of fights,” Roach was quoted as saying.

But Cotto refused to be cowed, saying he’s “never seen a boxer win fights with the talking of his trainer.”

Joe Santiago, the man in charge of Cotto’s training, said on Nov. 14 they will pull off “the greatest upset of the year.”

Roach believes that’s not going to happen if Pacquiao does what he likes doing – start fast and finish strong.


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