By Chris Robinson
During Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s open media day at the Top Rank Gym on Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada, myself and other media members caught up with the WBC middleweight champion's trainer Freddie Roach to discuss their September 15th date against Sergio Martinez in-depth.
During some down time, Roach and I again had dialogue, this time about his star fighter Manny Pacquiao and that status of his next fight. Pacquiao is slated for a December return to the ring and at the moment he has three realistic options in Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto,and Timothy Bradley.
Pacquiao was upset by Bradley on June 9th in a highly-controversial bout that the majority of those watching had in his favor. The Filipino icon defeated Marquez this past November in a fight that he looked to be in danger of losing and he holds a 12th round TKO over Cotto.
Roach gave his thoughts on who he would prefer at this point.
"Bradley, I feel there's no need for that fight because the whole word knows we beat him," Roach revealed. "Marquez, we've already done three times. Cotto makes the most sense to me because he just went the distance with Mayweather. If we can knock him out again at 150, which he said yes to, and if we could knock him out again, our negotiating power with Mayweather would be a little stronger."
Just as quickly as Roach was letting his preference be known, he too admitted that a Cotto rematch was unlikely at this point.
"I think it's the most sensible fight out there but Marquez is closer to being made though, because Cotto wants more money," stated Roach.
Cotto fought valiantly with Pacquiao during their November 2009 encounter at the MGM Grand but he was dropped in rounds three and four before being dominated the rest of the way out, with referee Kenny Bayless jumping in to save him from any further punishment in the final round.
Still, Cotto has rebounded nicely since that defeat and he is coming off of a great effort vs. Floyd Mayweather on May 5th in a fight he lost on the scorecards.
"Well, I just have to sit down and watch what he's been working on with his new trainer and so forth," Roach stated of Pedro Diaz, who seems to mesh very well with Cotto. "He does have that Cuban trainer now who is very, very good with the counter-punching style. That usually poses the biggest problems for Pacquiao. We just have to watch tapes and identify what he's working on and try to nullify that."
Roach seemed beside himself following Pacquiao's split-decision loss to Bradley a few months back but he admits he holds no ill will over how the fight was scored.
"I was never upset," Roach claimed. "It's part of life. Manny hugged me after the fight and said 'It's ok, we'll get him next time'. There's nothing we can do about it."
A Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is the dream bout that the boxing world has wanted for nearly three years now and Roach would have preferred such a scenario for later in the year despite Floyd just recently having gotten out of jail.
"We want Floyd to come to the table and try and negotiate that," said Roach. "That would supersede any other fight."