By Robert Morales

Freddie Roach had just received the news Monday that Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto would be getting it on Nov. 14 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. By the sound of his voice during a telephone conversation, Roach was already rife with anticipation.

Roach - Pacquiao's legendary trainer - is partially responsible for the fighter Pacquiao is today. Eight years ago he took the vicious, yet wild-swinging and relatively unknown Filipino and helped turn him into a power-boxing superstar.

Pacquiao is the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and a national hero - to put it mildly - in the Philippines. Don't mind Roach, then, if he gets a little charged up when he is about to embark on another journey with Pacquiao that figures to be filled with the ultimate in big-stage hype.

"I think it's a good fight and I'm glad we have something scheduled," Roach said. "The thing is we have the press tour that is going to start in September. The Puerto Ricans are great boxing fans and very knowledgeable.

"And the Filipinos, they are very proud of Manny. It makes for good excitement for the fight, and the fight is going to be in Vegas. Cotto won't have the Puerto Rican audience he would have in New York, but I think he will have a lot of people come out and support him for the fight."

Roach said he is looking forward to the beginning of the process of getting Pacquiao ready for yet another big challenge.

"Cotto is a strong guy," Roach said. "He beat Shane (Mosley). His last fight (against Joshua Clottey) was a close fight; I think he had the edge. We are looking for some weaknesses. I'll get all the tapes together this week and start doing my homework."

Arum: This One A No-Brainer

Staging Pacquiao-Cotto is Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters. He said it won't be difficult to get the public to buy into this fight. He didn't say it, but we're assuming he meant buy as in HBO pay-per-view.

"One guy is a powerful, strong welterweight," Arum said of Cotto. "And then the other is a bit less strong because he is not as big a man, but he makes up for it in speed.

"It is going to be a highly entertaining fight. Everybody knows that. You don't have to sell it that way."

Twin Bill Almost Set

We caught promoter Dan Goossen during a layover on his way to the Caribbean on Wednesday. He said he was headed there to work on some fights other than the proposed doubleheader featuring two Goossen Tutor Promotions fighters - interim junior middleweight champion Paul Williams and No. 1 heavyweight contender Chris Arreola.

On tap would be Williams taking on Sergiy Dzinziruk of the Ukraine for his world title and Arreola squaring off with former champion and fellow top 10 contender Oleg Maskaev.

Goossen said the date would probably be Oct. 3. The event would likely be held at either Home Depot Center in Carson (near Los Angeles) or Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario - which is about 45 miles from downtown L.A. Williams stopped Verno Phillips and Arreola knocked out Travis Walker there in November in the first boxing card at the new arena.

"I could have everything done by tomorrow," Goossen said. Asked if the fights would be televised by HBO, Goossen said, "Yeah, that's what we're working on."

Roach: Hatton Should Hang 'Em Up

One thing about Roach, he is never afraid to speak his mind, no matter whose feathers he ruffles. Even though there has been a bit of talk about a fight between Ricky Hatton and junior welterweight champion Amir Khan - who is trained by Roach - it was therefore not surprising to hear Roach's feelings regarding the future of Hatton.

A fight between Hatton and Khan - both of the United Kingdom - would most likely do very well at the box office and on television. But Roach is of the mind that Hatton should not fight any longer based on what has happened to him in two of his past four fights - a 10th-round technical knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a second-round knockout loss to Pacquiao.

"I think Ricky should retire," Roach said. "Getting knocked out like he did against Floyd and Pacquiao is unhealthy. He has been a (three-time) world champion. I don't don't think he has anything else to prove in boxing. But if he should fight again, I think he has a good style for my guy. I think it is at  least a possiblity.

"It's a fight I hope doesn't happen because I think he should retire. But if he does fight again I think he's going to come our way."



Eric Gomez is the matchmaker at Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Hatton. He said this week that he does not necessarily agree with Roach.

"Look, Oscar is like my brother and I know what it feels like, through him, when people tell you that you shouldn't be doing it anymore," Gomez said in reference to De La Hoya, who recently retired. "It's something you've done since you were a kid and that's all you know how to do. And you know how to do it well and sometimes it's those demons inside that want you to come back.

"I know that many fighters have been knocked out cold and they come back and they win titles. So you never know. Amir Khan (is one). You have guys like Arturo Gatti. How many times did he get knocked out? He came back and won big fights. At one point he was considered the top 140-pounder in the world after Oscar knocked him out and Ivan Robinson had knocked him out. So you can never count anybody out. There are guys that Ricky can still beat."

Actually, Robinson never knocked out the late Gatti, but he did win two decisions over him in 1998. And Gatti did become a 140-pound world champion after those losses and his fifth-round technical knockout loss to De La Hoya in a 147-pound fight in 2001.

Anyway, Gomez said he recently read somewhere that Hatton is not all that interested in Khan. Apparently, there is someone else on his mind.

"What he has told (Golden Boy CEO) Richard (Schaefer) in the past is that if he ever comes back, he wants it to be a meaningful fight," Gomez said. "He doesn't want to be anybody's steppingstone. He has expressed interest that if (Juan Manuel) Marquez can pull off the fight against Mayweather (on Sept. 19), he would want to fight Marquez. And Marquez has been wanting to fight him for a year now. That's a possibility."

Hatton is just 30.

Promoters Mum on New Group

This week a bunch of promoters got together in New York City and announced they had formed an association that included all the major companies as well as those considered mid-level.

We asked Gomez on Tuesday what it was all about. And he said that for now, it's hush-hush.

"It's confidential," Gomez said. "Everybody was made to sign a confidentiality agreement, so I can't really go into it. But all I can say is, it was very, very positive. It's basically, you know, looking at the state of boxing and wanting to work together with other promoters and making the big fights and the fights that the fight fans want to see."

One of the things big-time promoters have complained about in the past is that it seems any boxer who wants to start a promotional company, can. Promoters have intimated that boxers want to find a way to cut out the big man so they can pocket more money for themselves.

Since neither Mayweather Promotions nor Marquez Promotions were in attendance in New York, we asked Gomez if this association was formed as a way of keeping companies like them at bay.

"I can't comment on that," Gomez said. "Look, it's confidential. But I can say this: any guy out there who wants to start a promotional company, they have the right to do it. They're realizing quick how tough it is. It's not the easiest thing. But they have the right to try.

"We feel that working with these other promoters, even Mayweather Promotions, there's a lot of business to be made. Mayweather has got a couple of fighters signed. We are doing a fight with him this Friday (in El Paso) - (Antonio) Escalante versus (Cornelius) Locke. That's a hell of a fight. He (Locke) is under contract with Mayweather Promotions.


"A guy like Mayweather, he's got an eye for talent. Whether he's going to build up his company to become something like Golden Boy, more power to him. If he can get it done, great."

(Mayweather's company is the lead promoter for his fight with Marquez; Golden Boy has second billing).

Same with Marquez of Marquez Promotions, Gomez said.

"He's already looking at a couple of prospects and he wants to get a series done in Mexico," Gomez said. "He's having talks with Televisa out there. Look, the more boxing, the better for everyone. As long as they follow the rules and do things the right way, that's what we're going to look at.

"If we're going to work with other promoters, there are certain rules that can't be broken and there are certain things that you gotta do right. Pretty much everybody agreed that no more slandering or talking bad."

Gomez was asked if, considering the recent war of words between Golden Boy and Top Rank Inc. regarding Victor Ortiz, that was possible.

"I think so," he said. "I think so."

Two companies present this week started by fighters who are or were still fighting when their entities were born were Golden Boy and Roy Jones Jr.'s Square Ring Inc. But they have both been around a while now.


Just Running a Game

Much has been made of the contracted weight for Mayweather-Marquez. Most believe it to be 143 pounds, four under the welterweight limit. But every time Leonard Ellerbe, Mayweather's top executive at Mayweather Promotions, is asked to be more specific, he says, "It's a welterweight fight."

Gomez was asked again this week, and he said the same thing.

Here's why: He said both fighters signed an agreement not to talk about any numbers regarding the fight.

"That's why we really can't say," Gomez said.

What the hell is going on here? We have promoters signing confidentiality clauses not to discuss their new association, and fighters doing the same so they can keep people in the dark about the weight at which they are going to fight. Pretty darn galling, and not good for the sport. We contacted Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. He was asked if the contract for this fight had been filed with the commission. Since it is public record, he would have no choice but to divulge the information. It had not.


"We expect to see that in about a month and a half," Kizer said.

And what about the fight itself?

Gomez would say one thing - Marquez is just the man to beat Mayweather.

"I'm in constant contact with Marquez," Gomez said. "The guy is working good, man. Very sharp. He is working on speed, combinations. The way he is going about the game plan, I like it.

"Mayweather has never fought a guy like this guy. He's fought typical Mexican guys who think they're just going to go at him and run him down. That never works. But this guy's going to give Mayweather something to think about."

Judah-Matthew Hatton Still Possible

There has been conflicing information regarding the status of Matthew Hatton, younger brother of Ricky. One minute he is supposed to fight Zab Judah on the undercard of Marquez-Mayweather. (Some websites have that on their respective schedules). The next minute Hatton is supposed to challenge Lovemore N'dou for his fringe IBO title in South Africa.

Gomez said Wednesday everything is up in the air in this regard.

"It's not 100 percent yet because something came up with Matthew," Gomez said said of a Judah-Hatton bout. "They offered him a title fight with Lovemore N'dou. We are trying to work through that right now. It's a little bit of a bump in the road. We are trying to keep it together. We should know shortly."

Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, and