Count trainer Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, among those who weren’t surprised that Victor Ortiz beat Andre Berto last Saturday.
Roach’s reasons? The weight at which they fought and a sparring session with Manny Pacquiao in 2008, when Pacquiao was preparing to face David Diaz in a 135-pound matchup.
Ortiz moved up from 140 pounds to 147 for the Berto fight, which he won by unanimous decision to take the WBC welterweight title.
“I picked Victor to win because I like him at that weight,” Roach said Wednesday at an open workout to promote Pacquiao’s fight against Shane Mosley on May 7. “My reason is one day that he sparred with Manny Pacquiao when he weighed around 155 pounds.
“… He and Manny Pacquiao had one of the best sparring sessions I’ve ever seen in my life. Manny started to get to him at the end but it was a great sparring session. I told him then, ‘Victor, you’re killing yourself to make 140 pounds. You’re making yourself weak.’ I told him at 147 he’d be a better fighter.
“I told him that for years. I told him at 147 he’d be a more resilient, stronger, better fighter. It was like Manny Pacquiao killing himself to make weight. Making weight is overrated. Fight at a weight you’re comfortable at. It’s healthier and makes you a better fighter.
“Vic is a guy who walks around at around 165 pounds. To get down to 140 is too much."
Ortiz also sparred at Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club in the process of making the junior welterweight limit. Things didn't go as well.
"He got stopped by a body shot once and knocked down by a head shot once. I said a higher weight would be better for Vic, and it surely was," he said.
Roach was asked whether he ever questioned Ortiz’s courage after he quit against Marcos Maidana in 2009.
“He’s a tough kid,” Roach said. “I wouldn’t underestimate him.”