October 6th, 2013 By Jason B. Nava
FREDDIE ROACH: OVERRATED OR TRULY GREAT?
San Francisco, CA- After Miguel Cotto easily dismantled game but outgunned Delvin Rodriguez on HBO this past Saturday evening, a friend of mine asked me, “What makes Freddie so good?” Of course he was referring to Cotto’s latest in a revolving door of trainers, Freddie Roach, the man who led Manny Pacquiao to a TKO victory over Cotto back in 2009. What my friend was insinuating was that it must have been Roach who was responsible for Cotto’s gargantuan performance after not looking good in two consecutive decision losses.
DON’T BE SO QUICK TO CREDIT ROACH
On the one hand my buddy did have a point. Freddie Roach is indeed a great trainer. Where he is understandably mistaken however, is in assuming that Roach is responsible for Cotto’s seemingly revitalized nature on Saturday. Although the owner and founder of Hollywood’s infamous Wild Card Boxing Gym did great work with Miguel for this training camp, we should be careful to give him too much credit.
DELVIN WAS PICKED TO WIN BY SOME!
Rodriguez is a solid fighter but he’s never been on the elite level of Cotto. In fact he was made to order for him this past weekend. He doesn’t carry too much pop in his punches, isn’t very physically strong (allowing Cotto to bully him to the ropes), has poor defense, never fought well going backwards, and of course he couldn’t handle the Puerto Rican’s power. Roach himself admitted throughout the buildup to this fight that he couldn’t do anything to change his pupil this late into his career, only focus on things he naturally excels at but perhaps has neglected recently.
IS FREDDIE ROACH OVERRATED?
Now I have a responsibility to be a good friend and answer my buddy’s question. What is it that makes Freddie so good? Well, every trainer brings a different area of expertise which they specialize in with their fighters. For the Mayweather’s it’s defense, for Nacho Beristain it’s counterpunching, Virgil Hunter, it’s about inside fighting, for the late great Emanuel Steward it was utilizing a fighter’s reach and leverage. Freddie is very offensive minded. He finds a fighter’s offensive strengths then maximizes their use. With Pacquiao that means lots of angles and in and out combinations. Same thing with Amir Khan. With Cotto it meant getting him to sit down on his punches more which allows for more power.
ROACH USUALLY HAS “SOLID” GAME PLAN
One thing Freddie also does well is set up an opponent for a punch. Cotto connected with some solid rights last night which caused his Rodriguez to move away from the path of that punch and stray directly into the path of Cotto’s infamous left hook. Back in 09 he had Pacquiao set up Ricky Hatton for his overhand left by first having the Filipino hit and hurt him with his right. Just as Hatton felt he had Pacquiao figured out by timing his right hook he was sent to sleep by an overhand Pacquiao left.
WHAT & WHO IS IN COTTO’S FUTIRE?
Immediately after Cotto’s hand was raised on Saturday everyone wanted to know what was next for the future Hall of Famer who
admittedly has only three or four fights left in him. The three most commonly mentioned names were Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, middleweight boss Sergio Martinez, and a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. The best possible scenario for Miguel is also the most likely, a win/ win showdown with Sergio Martinez on the East coast for a chance at the 160 lb. strap. If he loses to the naturally bigger man he is applauded anyway for daring to reach for greatness and can still pursue a match-up with his younger, fellow Mayweather victim, Canelo, adding to the historical Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry. If he pulls off the upset and wins however, he would be in a much better position at the bargaining table with Canelo and Mayweather, enabling him to lace his pockets even further before riding off into the sunset of retirement on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Jason B. Nava