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Freddie Roach would have liked the sparring partners he thought he had set up for ZouShiming in Macau to actually be there. But they weren't…and Dedham Freddie isn't getting grumpy about it.

Coach Roach said on Monday evening (US time) Shiming, the 33-year-old amateur stud, who won medals at three Olympics and turned pro in April 2013, is about a pound and a half over the flyweight limit right now. Shiming, who Freddie says is still polishing up some of the edges he gained fighting as a non-pro, is due to fight Luis De la Rosa, a Colombian, on Saturday. The bout, for the WBO International flyweight crown, will be shown on HBO2 Saturday in the US.

“Zou was ready when we left America,” said Roach in a phoner. “This is a big step, if he wins this his next fight is for a world title.” And is De la Rosa going to be stiff competition? “I think Shiming is a little too fast for him,” the trainer told me. Shiming, he continued, is approximately “a hundred percent better” now than when he debuted, Roach said, but some wrinkles are still being ironed. For instance, last week, Freddie was talking about timing and distance, and the optimal distance from which to launch a power punch. Shiming looked lost and his translator couldn't find the right words right away to translate from Roach-ese to Chinese. But the words were found and the point was made…

Roach says that he will be on the lookout for Shiming getting a bit anxious, trying to do too much too soon on Saturday. He likes how he's setting down on his shots, and fighting in a manner which is more likely to get him a stoppage, or at least love from judges who seem to reward points-gathering more than they used to.

For sure, right now, Shiming is a big star in China. “He's more popular in China than Manny Pacquiao,” he noted. And that goes a long way in telling you why the most successful boxing promoter of this era, Bob Arum, spends so much time, effort and money on taking shows to Macau. He knows to go where the eyeballs are, because those eyeballs are attached to wallets.

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