By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – As much as some fans and media might’ve wanted to see Mikey Garcia move up two more divisions to challenge Miguel Cotto, Freddie Roach is glad it didn’t happen.
Roach is confident Cotto would’ve beaten Garcia and just as sure his fighter wouldn’t have received the appropriate credit for giving Garcia his first defeat because Garcia is “too small.”
Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) revealed last week that he turned down a shot at Cotto on December 2 at Madison Square Garden because he didn’t want to sign a long-term contract with Golden Boy Promotions, Cotto’s promoter, to get that high-profile fight.
Puerto Rico’s Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) settled for a farewell fight against Sadam Ali (25-1, 14 KOs), a welterweight contender from Brooklyn who’ll move up from 147 pounds to 154 to challenge Cotto for his WBO super welterweight title.
“[Cotto-Garcia] could’ve been a big fight, but I’m not really sold on it,” Roach told BoxingScene.com before the Cotto-Ali press conference Tuesday at The Garden. “A Puerto Rican against a Mexican is good value, but how well does [Garcia] draw? I’m not really sure. It would be a big fight for him, but if Miguel beats up on a little guy, then people are gonna say the guy was too small anyway. So I don’t think he would get the proper credit.
“So instead he’s fighting a guy who’s popular here in New York, the fight’s here at The Garden and it makes good sense. He’ll have a good fan base, we’ll have a good fan base and it should be a great night.”
Roach also indicated that he’s not sure Garcia, the WBC lightweight champion, really was willing to move up to 154 pounds to face Cotto. Garcia went up from 135 pounds to 140 for his last fight – a 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over four-division champion Adrien Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) on July 29 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
“Mikey Garcia is making a lot of noise and stuff like that,” Roach said. “But he’s calling everybody out. He called Pacquiao out, too. But he’s a little guy and we can’t go in there beating up little guys.
“Obviously, they don’t like me, him and his brother and trainer [Robert Garcia]. They called out Pacquiao and they called out [Cotto], so whoever I have they’ll call out. But who does he really wanna fight? He’s been called out by a couple of guys, also, and he’s not going there.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.