MANILA, Philippines – American coach Freddie Roach said he will make sure he will protect his prized fighter, WBO welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao, by barring challenger Antonio Margarito from using illegal hand wraps.
In an interview with Telegraph’s Gareth Davies, Roach said that although Margarito has already served his one-year ban from boxing for illegal hand wraps, he remains wary of what the Mexican may resort to.
“They can’t get away with that against us. It won’t happen in this fight, I can tell you,” he said.
Margarito was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission for at least year after a plaster-like substance was found in his hand wraps ahead of his fight against Shane Mosley in January 2009.
This has tainted some of Margarito’s boxing victories in the past, including one over Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto whom he battered to a technical knockout for the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title in April 2008.
“The Commission gave him a one-year suspension,” said Roach. “But deep down, you know, I’m the kind of person who thinks that if you do something like that, you should be suspended for life.”
After being denied a boxing license in California, Margarito has applied for a license in Texas.
The fight could eventually land in Texas if he will be given a license there.
Training in September
Meanwhile, Roach said he will fly to Manila on September 11 to start Pacquiao’s training against Margarito.
The Filipino boxer, who holds the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title, also sits as a Philippine congressman of the province of Sarangani, which is why he has to kick off his training in Manila.
“I’ll be out in the Philippines from September 11. We’ll train out there and have four weeks here in Los Angeles, and the last five days if it ends up in Texas,” said Roach.
Roach said that among the considerations they are having is projecting Pacquiao’s weight in time for the fight which will take place on November 13.
The fight will be at a catch weight of between welterweight (147 lbs.) and junior middleweight (154 lbs.).
“You know what kind of size Manny is. He’ll come in at 149 lbs in the ring,” Roach said.
The American trainer said he doesn’t want Pacquiao to come in too big because it could affect his speed which will be his biggest advantage against Margarito.
“He can’t come in too much heavier than that, and anyway, any extra weight would not help him. Manny will start fast with this guy, and we will finish with him fast.”