On Thursday, Avi Korine of The Rumble put up an interview with Freddie Roach in which Roach sounded as confident as ever heading into Saturday's fight between his charge Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.
As to how they'll battle Cotto, Roach says it's all about Cotto:
TR: Against De La Hoya it seemed like you planned even before the fight to use lead lefts and against Hatton it was right hooks. Do you have a specific plan for Saturday or are you just going to wait to make adjustments in the ring?
FR: Well, a lot depends on how Cotto wants to fight. If he wants to try to come at us we're ready for that. If he wants to try to be the counterpuncher, like Marquez, because Marquez gave Manny trouble, we can deal with that too. Whatever he brings we will adapt to it.
And his confidence level is soaring:
TR: Are you as confident going into this fight as you were before De La Hoya and Hatton?
FR: More. I just don't think he's that good. He's too slow. He cocks his left hook. He's got a good left hook, but he telegraphs it, he's not going to hit us with it. My guy is in great shape, everyone thinks because of the typhoon in the Philippines we didn't train but we never missed a day and he's in great shape.
Freddie's not done sniping at Cotto's trainer, Joe Santiago:
TR: Occasionally Cotto can get overaggressive and seems to follow his opponent rather than cut the ring off. Can you take advantage of that?
FR: Of course. Joe Santiago is his ring coach and he doesn't know anything about ring generalship! So we're really going to take advantage of that. You know, Cotto is too slow for Manny right now, he's got a good left hook, but no one is really watching him or is there to keep his fundamentals intact. He's got to train himself at this point to beat Pacquiao. And that's very good for us.
I love the roles Freddie will play. Like his fight plans, Roach adapts to the guy across from him. He's had a long-standing dislike of Nacho Beristain, and he once trained Oscar de la Hoya for a fight so he had that going for him last December. In May of this year, he allowed himself to look like the crafty high school nerd being bullied by arrogant jock Floyd Mayweather Sr., and like a character in a movie he wound up being too smart and too resourceful in the end, and he made the bully look a fool. This time with Santiago, Roach is using his standing as perhaps the most highly-regarded trainer in boxing to call out Joe Santiago's credentials, or lack thereof.
Roach finished with this:
The beating [Cotto took] from Margarito is still in his mind. And, to be honest with you, I think we're going to make him quit.
The thing is (as Freddie is fond of saying), Roach is sort of like Ozzie Guillen, the Chicago White Sox manager, except more good than lucky. What he's done for a while now, as Pacquiao has blossomed into a bigger and bigger star, is keep himself in the interviews, talk up big games, and more or less get the sidetracking attention stuff deflected to him instead of his fighter. It's smart. The biggest stories in Pacquiao's camp didn't involve Pacquiao directly, really. Roach feuding with Michael Koncz, Roach not being happy with where they trained, Koncz's fight with Alex Ariza, none of this had Pacquiao in the center. It was all someone else, and most of the time Roach was right there to absorb all the speculating and questioning. He's a brilliant trainer in more ways than just the in-ring stuff.