By Mark Vester
During a recent interview with BoxingScene.com’s Robert Morales, trainer Freddie Roach went over the three possible opponents for Manny Pacquiao on October 17. The possible candidates are Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley and Floyd Mayweather Jr. In the opinion of Roach, Mayweather is the easiest fight of the three. He views Cotto and Mosley as much tougher opponents.
According to Roach, the proof is crystal clear when taking a look at Mayweather’s performances against Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton.
“The easiest fight out of those three, in my opinion, is Mayweather," Roach said. "The other two guys are way stronger, way more physical.
“Look at Mayweather; he struggled against De La Hoya and his fight with Hatton was competitive. And Manny killed both of those guys. I don't care what the excuses are. A fact is a fact. He (Mayweather) won a split decision against De La Hoya. We didn't lose a round to either."
Between Cotto and Mosley, Roach told BoxingScene that “Sugar” Shane, based on his style, is the tougher guy to beat.
“Mosley is fast, he is aggressive, he is strong and it looks like he would be the toughest fight out there. But then you have to take into consideration that Cotto beat him. Both are bigger than Mayweather, size-wise. Mayweather can make 140 easy. He is just lazy," Roach said.
When sizing the guys up, is Mayweather really the easiest option? Cotto will be right in Pacquiao’s face, which should give Manny plenty of opportunities to land his power punches. The same can be said for Mosley. Both are physically stronger than Mayweather, but they lack the biggest advantage – speed. Mayweather is the only fighter who is just as fast or maybe more so, than Pacquiao. Both Cotto and Mosley will be more than happy to stand and trade, Mayweather will not.
Cotto has been rocked several times in the past, and knocked down, and he does have stamina issues in the late rounds. Mosley looks quick against guys like Margarito, but he is still much slower than Mayweather.
Mayweather, stylistically, is the toughest opponent. Pacquiao will be forced to work very hard to find him. Few opponents have been able to land more than one clean punch at a time. Floyd rarely takes a clean punch because he always stays on the move. Floyd has fought, and beaten good boxers in the past. Pacquiao has really struggled with the purest boxer on his record, Juan Manuel Marquez. Even when cornered, Mayweather is always on the defensive. His defensive guard is one of the best in the sport and makes it very tough fight for anyone.
Roach is making the bulk of his analysis on the duel performances by Mayweather and Pacquiao, in their respective fights against Hatton and De La Hoya. Many experts made similar opinions when Jeff Lacy was heading over to England to fight Joe Calzaghe. Lacy had destroyed several of Calzaghe’s past opponents. Calzaghe, an underdog in his own country, dominated Lacy for twelve rounds. Some of Calzaghe’s key attributes were being underestimated and I believe Roach is doing the same with Mayweather.