Many critics are quick to write off Bellator featherweight prospect Aaron Pico following his upset loss to Henry Corrales at Bellator 214. But don’t count famed boxing coach Freddie Roach as one of them. Roach worked with Pico leading up to his Bellator 214 co-main event matchup and is the former boxing coach to superstar Manny Pacquiao.
Speaking with Fightful MMA, Roach says it was just simple mistakes that lead to Pico’s knockout loss.
“We spoke and the thing is…he made a mistake, he’s a very good puncher and even a better wrestler,” he said. “He made the choice to just go in and bang him out of there, when he should’ve made a choice to go wrestle and do what he does best. He had the guy out, its just a young man decision…they rush into it. With a little more experience and (if he) takes his time, he’s gotta realize he has more than just one game. He has very good hands…yes, but he has a lot more than that. He’s one of the best wrestlers in the world and he should’ve finished the fight with wrestling, in the heat of the moment…things happen.”
Aaron Pico (4-2) has now been finished in both of his professional MMA losses. The 22-year-old was submitted in the first round in his MMA debut against Zach Freeman at Bellator NYC in June 2017. After that setback, Pico would go on a four-fight win streak finishing all of his opponents in highlight reel fashion. Despite the loss on Saturday, Roach liked the way Pico handled himself and is optimistic for his future.
“I’m a firm believer in this (losing) makes or breaks you, the thing is he’s a good enough boxer to be Miguel Cotto’s sparring partner for his last two fights. He has a lot of skills…yes, but he’s an even better wrestler than boxer. I told him that I want to see the wrestler one day, I’ve only seen the puncher. So the thing is, we just made a bad decision at the wrong time. He got caught, he’s crying after this saying ‘I’m embarrassed that I’m crying.’ I told him ‘this (the crying) means you care, if you didn’t cry, I would be worried.”
What do you think the future holds for Aaron Pico after Bellator 214?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/29/2019.