Roach: Pacquiao must fight smart vs Cotto

By Dennis Gasgonia, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Jun 28 2009 12:57 AM | Updated as of Jun 29 2009 03:05 PM

American trainer Freddie Roach said Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao needs to engage world welterweight champion Miguel Cotto in an intelligent fight in order to win.

“Cotto's very strong, we have to fight a very intelligent fight,” said Roach in an interview over dzSR’s Sports Chat with Dennis Principe.

If Top Rank promoter Bob Arum succeeds in arranging the match between the pound-for-pound king and the Puerto Rican champion, the fight will take place on November 14 in Las Vegas.

“The thing is, he's big and strong and he's young,” Roach said referring to Cotto. “I think it’s a hard fight for us, Cotto is a strong puncher.”

Cotto, the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion, is 28 years old while Pacquiao is already 30.

However, Roach said Pacquiao’s current fighting level puts the odds in their favor.

“It's a tough fight, but the way Manny is fighting right now, it's a very winnable fight for us,” he said.

When asked about Shane Mosley’s insistence on securing a fight with the pound-for-pound champion, Roach said Pacquiao stands to gain more in fighting Cotto.

“You had the Mosley-Cotto [fight], [so] who's the better fighter? You gotta say it’s Cotto because when they fought, Cotto won,” said the American trainer.

In November 2007, Mosley tried to wrest the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title from Cotto but lost by a unanimous decision.

“So, style-wise Shane is probably a little faster than Cotto. [But] I think Mosley is just way overrated,” said Roach.

Earlier, revered boxing trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain said Pacquiao needs only six rounds to beat Cotto. He said Cotto lost the edge after receiving a brutal beating from Antonio Margarito last July.

"Cotto remained a little deteriorated after the fight that he had with Antonio Margarito. And to be up against Manny Pacquiao, with all due respect - since I respect and I admire Puerto Rican boxing, but I believe that Pacquiao should put him on the canvas in five or six rounds," he said.

Beristain, who crafted Pacquiao nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez into a technical fighter, said Cotto had a hard time beating Joshua Clottey.

"In the fight against Clottey, you could see some of the aftermath of what happened with Margarito. Clotty is not a top-level fighter, and nevertheless, in some moments, Cotto was put in predicaments and the punches were affecting him," he said.