By Jake Donovan
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach is busier than ever these days, and also loaded with more star power than any other point in recent memory. His absence was noted during Tuesday’s press stop in New York City promoting the Nov. 23 pay-per-view event in Macau between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios, though also a reminder of how well Top Rank is doing business with its other clients.
Roach will join Pacquiao in the Philippines for his upcoming training camp. This fight marks the first time in years that the former pound-for-pound king will not spend any portion at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, where Roach is presently situated to train Miguel Cotto for his own ring return.
The former three-division champ looks to end a two-fight losing streak, when he faces Delvin Rodriguez on October 5 at the Amway Center in Orlando. Cotto normally spends his training camp in Orlando, where he relocated his family from his original hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico.
Cotto will be training 3,000 miles west, where he arrived over the weekend and has already begun training. The fight itself marks the first time he plays Magic City. The reaction to the homecoming has been overwhelming, already surpassing Top Rank’s expectations for the event, which will air live on HBO.
“Something like eighty-something percent of the tickets have already been sold,” noted Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, while explaining Roach’s absence during Tuesday’s press conference in the Chinatown region of New York City. “Tickets are going unbelievably well.”
Officials from Top Rank have confirmed that the upper deck of the Amway Center – home to the NBA’s Orlando Magic – has been made available to the general public due to overwhelming ticket demand.
Cotto (37-4, 30KO) hasn’t fought since suffering a points loss to then-unbeaten 154 lb. titlist Austin Trout last December in New York City. The setback marked the first time Cotto has ever lost at Madison Square Garden, a venue where he sold more tickets than any current active fighter. His previous defeat – a 12-round loss to Floyd Mayweather the preceding May – ended a near two-year stay as 154 lb. titlist.
The 12-round non-title fight with Rodriguez will air live on HBO as part of a planned tripleheader. Also appearing on the telecast will be unbeaten Terence Crawford against an opponent to be named, as well as a same-day encore showing of the World heavyweight championship between Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, which takes place in Russia and will air live earlier that day on HBO.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox