By Keith Idec
Freddie Roach wants Juan Manuel Marquez to beat Mike Alvarado on Saturday night.
The famed trainer just isn’t sure the Mexican legend will be able to do it, not after what he saw from Marquez during his loss to Timothy Bradley.
“It depends on which Marquez shows up – the one that fought Manny or the one that fought Bradley,” Roach told BoxingScene.com. “I’m not sure. But I think it’s a very good fight. I honestly think it’s about 50-50.”
The 40-year-old Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs) is nearly a 3-1 favorite over the 33-year-old Alvarado (34-2, 23 KOs) as they approach their 12-round, 144-pound bout, an HBO “World Championship Boxing” main event at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Both boxers are coming off losses – Marquez by split decision to Timothy Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs, 1 NC) on Oct. 12 in Las Vegas and Alvarado by technical knockout to Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) following 10 mostly one-sided rounds Oct. 19 in Broomfield, Colo.
Roach, Provodnikov’s trainer, is very familiar with Alvarado and Marquez, who has fought Roach’s highest-profile fighter four times. The winner is expected to face Pacquiao for the WBO welterweight title sometime in the fall, according to promoter Bob Arum, and Roach really wants Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) to receive an opportunity to avenge his sixth-round knockout defeat to Marquez 17 months ago in Las Vegas.
“I would like to get that fight back one more time, even though we’ve already fought six or seven times,” Roach joked. “But I’m happy with [fighting] the winner. I’m not sure who’s going to win it, because I do think the fight is a toss-up. Whoever brings their ‘A’ game to the table will win that fight. It’s just about discipline now because you have a 40-year-old and you have a younger man who’s coming off a knockout loss. So there’s a lot of factors involved there. Sometimes coming off a knockout loss can affect you quite a bit. So I guess I would pick Marquez to win the fight. It’s not going to be easy, though.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.