/ 18 September 2009

Roach tips Mayweather to win ‘boring’ contest

Trainer Freddie Roach, uncannily accurate in his predictions of recent high-profile fights, has forecast a points victory for Floyd Mayweather Jnr over Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday.

Although Mayweather will be returning to the ring after a 21-month retirement for the non-title welterweight bout, Roach believes the undefeated American holds a significant advantage because of his lighting hand speed and footwork.

”I like Mayweather to win on a decision, although it might be a boring fight because they are both naturally counter-punchers,” Roach told Reuters in the build-up to the 12-round bout at the MGM Grand.

”Marquez is obviously going to have to take the lead and force the fight but he is more comfortable in the counter-punching mode.

”That is why he did well against [Manny] Pacquiao because Pacquiao was so aggressive at that time. He just travelled right into his game.”

Marquez has twice fought Pacquiao, earning a draw when they first clashed in May 2004 before losing his WBA super-featherweight title to the Filipino in a controversial split decision in March 2008.

”Marquez is most effective when he fights a guy coming to him,” Roach said of the Mexican, a five-time world champion who has a 50-4-1 career record with 37 knockouts.

Going forward
”Now he’s going to fight a runner [in Mayweather] and he’s going to be going forward for the first time in a long time.

”It’s going to be difficult for him because of Mayweather’s speed and movement.”

Mayweather, 39-0 (25 KOs), was widely regarded as boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter until he retired from the ring after his 10th-round stoppage of Britain’s Ricky Hatton in a WBC welterweight title bout in December 2007.

That mythical pound-for-pound tag has since passed to Pacquiao, largely because of his December 2008 defeat of 10-time world champion Oscar de la Hoya and his demolition of Hatton five months later.

On both occasions, Roach was Pacquiao’s trainer and he accurately forecast the results of each of those fights — virtually to the round.

While Roach is backing five-division world champion Mayweather to win his 40th professional bout, he is unlikely to be watching the contest on television.

”I’m not really excited about this fight, to be honest, because it’s between two counter-punchers,” Roach said with a smile.

”Styles make fights and, as a match-maker, I think it’s a poor choice. But I’m not the match-maker so it’s not my fault.” — Reuters