Will Pacquiao reverse the fortunes of Freddie Roach?
By John F. McKenna (McJack): Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO’s) is determined to return to the form which enabled him to win world titles in eight different weight divisions when he tangles with Mexican legend WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO’s) on December 8 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
Nothing would please Pacquiao’s trainer, five time trainer of the year Freddie Roach who has seen his fortunes turn around in the last year. Last November Pacquiao won a hotly disputed decision over Marquez in a fight even many of Manny’s ardent fans thought he lost. Then in December, Roach’s other star pupil Amir Khan (26-3, 18 KO’s) lost a controversial decision to Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KO’s). Khan followed up that loss with a devastating TKO loss to Danny Garcia (24-0, 15 KO’s).
What made Amir’s loss to Garcia so painful was that as recently as a year ago Roach was touting Khan as a future super star and was telling everyone who would listen that within eighteen months Amir would be the top pound for pound fighter in boxing.
After losing to Garcia, Khan threw Roach under the bus by firing him as his trainer. In reality it should be noted that Amir failed to follow Freddie’s instructions in both the Peterson and Garcia losses.
The unkindest cut of all for Roach however came last June when Pacquiao lost his WBO welterweight title belt to Timothy Bradley (29-0-1, 12 KO’s) in one of the worst decisions seen in boxing in modern times. Pacquiao clearly dominated Bradley in a fight in which most boxing pundits were able to give Bradley only two of the twelve rounds. Still the fight goes into the record book as a loss for “Pacman”.
It is especially noteworthy that Manny has not scored a KO in three years. Even though he still maintains his blinding speed Pacquiao seems to have lost the killer instinct which literally made other fighters fear him. To some extent Manny now seems to be content with winning a convincing decision as he did with Antonio Margarto and Shane Mosley.
Roach has already gone on record to warn Pacquiao that he will probably not win a 4th fight with Marquez if the fight goes to the scorecards. The fact that Manny will train exclusively at Roach’s Wild Card Gym seems to be an acknowledgement on his part that he is taking Marquez far more seriously then he did for their 3rd fight. Both Roach and strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza had predicted an early KO by Pacquiao in the trilogy fight.
Roach has indicated that he and Pacquiao will work on different strategies for defeating Marquez on December 8. It is likely however that another Pacquiao – Marquez fight will yield results similar to the first three fights.