MANILA – Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach has debunked reports that Puerto Rican boxer Miguel Cotto will spar with Filipino ring icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao in General Santos City.
“That is false,” Roach said upon his arrival in Manila on Sunday. “Cotto might come here if we stay long enough, to come and see the Philippines and train with Manny. But (Cotto will) not spar with him.”
Roach pointed out that Cotto now fights at 160 pounds and above, while Pacquiao continues to campaign at the 147-pound weight class.
Pacquiao and Cotto memorably fought in November 2009, with the “Pacman” beating Cotto via technical knockout in the final round.
Instead of Cotto, another former champion, Kendall Holt, will likely be Pacquiao’s sparring partner once the Filipino sets up the second part of his training camp in the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
Roach said Holt cannot come to the General Santos City, where Pacquiao is holding the first part of his camp. “He has passport issues,” he explained.
The trainer said he has two sparring partners in mind for Pacquiao. One fighter, Lydell Rhodes, is already in General Santos City.
“We’ll set the ground work, and he’ll start sparring next week for sure,” Roach said of Pacquiao.
The Filipino icon is attempting to avenge his June 2012 defeat against unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr. on April 12, a bout that will also be for the WBO welterweight title.