By Rick Reeno
BoxingScene.com spoke with trainer Freddie Roach about the controversy surrounding Miguel Cotto's willingness to defend the WBO welterweight title against Manny Pacquiao on November 14. Cotto has publicly refused to defend the title because the Pacquiao fight is being contested at a catch-weight of 145-pounds. If Pacquiao agrees to bump the weight by two-pounds [full welterweight limit of 147], Cotto will put the title on the line.
The WBO has been pushing for Cotto to defend the title. It’s easy for the WBO to push when Cotto has to pay them a six-figure sanctioning fee. Roach is not losing any sleep over Cotto’s refusal to defend the title. He doesn’t see any of this as a big problem. Even if the WBO puts pressure on Cotto, and the title is vacated, Roach is confident the title will be at stake on fight night.
“If [Cotto] gives it up, I think the WBO will make Manny the number one. We'll pay the sanctioning fee and the title will be on the line. That's what I think will happen. I haven't spoken to Manny [about it] but if it was me, I would ask for the title to be on the line. I think regardless of what Cotto says, the title will be on the line,” Roach told BoxingScene.
Based on Roach’s scenario, the title would only be at stake for Pacquiao. If Cotto were to win, the title would remain vacant.
The fight will be the biggest boxing event of the year. The money in the pot, for both fighters, is more money than most boxers will ever see in a lifetime. The WBO title is a minor piece of the puzzle but Roach views the title as a major piece to cement Pacquiao’s legacy.
“I want it for Manny's legacy. Manny won titles at 112, 122, 126, 130, 135, and 140. I want to see him become the first fighter to win seven world titles in seven weight divisions,” Roach said.
Source: http://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=21368 (August 1, 2009)