Nope, Freddie Roach hasn't watched the PPV from Saturday night, the Canelo-ErislandyLara bout. But from what he's heard, from pals, it confirmed what he already knew: that Lara is a skilled boxer, with more of an amateur style than a professional one. Also, that Canelo deserves props for choosing to scrap with a pugilist with a style not best suited for him.
Regarding “Cinnamon,” Roach mentioned him in relation to his middleweight champion, Miguel Cotto. Cotto, you know, is in search mode for his “next.” We've heard a Cotto-Tim Bradley clash, December, at Madison Square Garden and on pay-per-view, is in the works. Has Roach heard the same? Dedham Freddie said he's been talking to Cotto advisor GabyPenagaricano, and they've discussed option for the Puerto Rican fight stud.
“Gaby asked me who I wanted, before Canelo fought Lara, and I said I wanted Canelo for Cotto. Canelo is still my number one choice. He's still the biggest on pay-per-view. I want him for Cotto, because Cotto is up in years a bit, and I want him to make the most money for himself at this point. But Canelo might need one more fight, or maybe two, to learn a bit more. He's a good fighter, but still very green, he's still got a lot to learn.”
Such as doing better at cutting off the ring, shrinking the ring, we both agreed..
Miguel, Roach said, is simply getting better and better, as we've seen in his last two fights.
“Cotto is not afraid to fight Canelo,” he stated. “I told Gaby that's who I wanted, and Gaby said, 'Let's see how he does.'''
I asked Roach if Cotto is inclined to fight next at 160, or do a catchweight, or what. He said there are some options at 160, such as Gennady Golovkin. “They say he's a great fighter, but I've never seen him fight, how great can he be? He's a very nice man, a good puncher I guess, I've heard good things about him, but until he fights (an A level fighter we can't know for sure.) HBO just signed him for a six fight deal, so they love him. We're waiting for the dust to settle, and we'll see who's available. Then Gaby will give me a couple names to consider. As of right now, (between Bradley and Lara), I'm not sure if Canelo is the number one option.”
As for Bradley, does Roach think he's a stiff test for Miguel? He's coming off that conclusive loss to Roach's guy, Manny Pacquiao, and he isn't blessed with great pop…
“Tim is a tough guy,” Roach said, “but I think he's too small. Would Cotto fight him at 154? And then if Cotto beats him, he's supposed to beat him….” Clearly, Roach sees some of the downsides to a fight versus Bradley as looming over potential pluses.
Roach and me are in accord, thinking that the catchweight stuff is sort of silly, though undeniably part of the culture today, one of the ways the A side exerts leverage and tilts the playing field in their favor. “I'm old school, I think a middleweight fight should be fought at 160,” he said, music to my ears. “But that's not my job. Gaby negotiates for Miguel. That stuff is too big for me, I can't change that stuff. But since TV will accept it, then we have to go along with it.”
Freddie touched on something there, a notion that is picking up steam, with me, and ThomasHauser, and Lou DiBella, and countless others noting the same thing…the balance of power SHOULD reside with the folks cutting the fattest checks. That's HBO and Showtime…and it often seems like they maybe could put their foot down a bit more, rather than capitulating to promoters and advisors. If they smashed their shoes down on the negotiating table a bit more, and said no to catchweights, and non-title fights, and the like, then we'd see a healthier and more compelling and growing sport more than we do. Why don't we? It's a baffler to me, I admit…
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