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Freddie Roach denies ducking Yuri Foreman

The word in boxing circles recently has been that trainer Freddie Roach doesn't want to match Manny Pacquiao against WBA super welterweight champion Yuri Foreman because of Foreman's size advantage and excellent boxing skills. But Roach flat-out denied ever saying that when asked about that potential matchup Friday after Foreman and challenger Miguel Cotto weighed in at Yankee Stadium for their Saturday night fight.

Of course, Roach and Pacquiao are focused on trying to get into a ring with Floyd Mayweather Jr. next November 13 for what certainly would be the richest fight in history. If those negotiations haven't already begun, they likely will get underway very soon.

"I hope so," Roach said of Pacquiao-Mayweather talks. "Whoever they deliver, I'll get Manny ready. I'm tired of wanting, guessing, hoping. Obviously, we all hope we get the big fight, but if negotiations don't prevail, we'll fight somebody else."

If a fight worth upwards of $100 million can't be made because of Mayweather's insistence on blood testing or asking for more than half the purse, Pacquiao must look elsewhere, and that usually means facing another member of promoter Bob Arum's stable. That's where Foreman could come in if he defeats Cotto on the big stage at Yankee Stadium and launches himself to a new level of stardom.

Pacquiao has won titles in seven weight classes, but in two welterweight bouts, the most he has weighed is 145 3/4. Moving up to 154 would be quite a stretch, and he would be giving up almost five inches in height and four inches in reach, as well, if he fought Foreman.

But Roach said: "I would take that fight in a heartbeat. It would be Manny's eighth world title. I think Yuri would be a difficult fight but a winnable fight."

Asked if he considers that the most likely scenario for Pacquiao if a Mayweather deal can't be made, Roach said, "To me, it's logical, but I don't call all the shots."

Roach is predicting that Foreman easily will win a decision over Cotto, but he doesn't believe Foreman has the power to win by a knockout. If Pacquiao-Mayweather does get made, Roach still could wind up in the opposite corner from Foreman. The Los Angeles-based trainer has NABF and NABO 154-pound champion Vanes Martirosyan, who faces New York's Joe Greene in the semi-main on the Yankee Stadium card.

"We're going to box this guy and win every round," Roach said. "Greene's a pretty good puncher and well-protected. He's never fought anyone the caliber of my fighter. We have a good gameplan to win every round. Vanes says he's going to knock him out, but I'll be happy if Vanes sticks to the gameplan and beats him up every round."

If he defeats Cotto, Foreman might want to face Antonio Margarito, but Roach would like to see Martirosyan against Foreman in a battle of unbeaten fighters. "I want the winner of Foreman-Cotto," Roach said. "They're all looking at Pacquiao, but I think this is more realistic."


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