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Pacquiao splits with Freddie Roach

By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao has split with his longtime trainer Freddie Roach ahead of his July 15 fight against WBA World welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse. Pacquiao, 39, will be trained by Buboy Fernandez and Raides Neri for the Matthysse fight, which will be taking place in Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia.

As talented as Pacquiao is as a fighter, he might not need Roach’s help in the corner for the Matthysse fight. Pacquiao obviously knows a lot about fighting after 23 years as a pro. Matthysse’s fighting style is a come forward type that Pacquiao understands well, so he doesn’t need a great game plan to deal with that kind of fighter. Roach is known for being a trainer that stresses pure offense for his fighters. Pacquiao is that type of fighter anyway. Roach not being there for Pacquiao in the corner probably won’t matter, because he’ll likely push him to be aggressive and that’s what he does anyway in his fights.

It’s no surprise that Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) won’t have Roach as his trainer for the fight with Matthysse, because it’s been talked about for well over a month now. Roach says he wasn’t contacted by Pacquiao personally to be told that he wouldn’t be working the fight. Roach is said to be none too happy about it. Pacquiao lost his last fight to Top Rank fighter Jeff Horn last July in a contest in which he was roughed up for 12 rounds by the Australian fighter. Roach looked confused in the corner, and he didn’t push the referee to step and control the roughhouse tactics that Horn was using in the fight.

“Pacquiao will be joined by his new promotions team along with trainers Restitudo ‘Buboy’ Fernandez and Raides ‘Nonoy’ Neri,” according to the latimes.com.


It looks to some boxing fans that Pacquiao will essentially be training himself for the fight. Neither of those trainers have the same background as Roach when it comes to training. What’s unclear is why Pacquiao didn’t simply hire a well-known trainer to take over for Roach. That would have been the smarter thing for him to do. The better known trainers would likely ask for more money than hiring lesser known guys to work his corner.

Roach made a lot of money in his time as Pacquiao’s trainer. Some boxing fans felt that Roach has been coasting for a while as Pacquiao’s trainer, and not doing a great job. Some question the training ideas that Roach had starting with Pacquiao’s fight with Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012. Roach wanted Pacquiao to be aggressive like a younger fighter against the heavily muscled Marquez, who had changed his physique dramatically for their December 2012 fight. Pacquiao ended up being too aggressive and suffering a 6th round knockout loss. Pacquiao was knocked out cold in that fight.

“Manny and I had a great run for 15 years – longer than most marriages and certainly a rarity for boxing,” said Roach via skysports.com. “I wouldn’t trade any of it. Inside the boxing ring and the political ring, I wish Manny nothing but the best.”

With Pacquiao being old at 39 and a part-time fighter due to his senatorial job in the Philippines, there was only so much Roach could do with him anyway as a trainer. Pacquiao hasn’t looked like the same fighter he once was since 2012. Pacquiao started to go downhill when he was put in with Miguel Cotto in November 2009, and despite winning the contest by a 12th round knockout, it was a grueling fight for the Filipino fighter. In Pacquiao’s subsequent fights against Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez, he didn’t look that great. Pacquiao’s 12 round majority decision win over Marquez in November 2011 was a controversial one, as he looked like he should have lost that fight.

“I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t hurt that he didn’t contact me personally about his decision, but the great times we enjoyed together far outweigh that,” Roach said, about Pacquiao.
Pacquiao made Roach a lot of money. Perhaps that in itself is enough. Roach is said to have been the highest trainer in boxing during his time as Pacquiao’s trainer.

Perhaps Pacquiao will contact Roach when it’s all over to speak with him, but he’s clearly not ready to do it right now.

Pacquiao hasn’t fought since his loss to Jeff Horn last year in July, and he might have a lot of ring rust on him by the time he steps foot inside the ring to face the 36-year-old Matthysse a year later in July of this year. The main reason Pacquiao lost the fight with Horn was because of his stamina problems in the second half. Pacquiao got tired, and he couldn’t fight at a fast-enough pace to wear down Horn and stop him when he had him on the verge of being knocked out in the 9th. All Pacquiao would have had to do to knockout Horn was fight hard for three minutes of the 10th round, but he couldn’t do it. Pacquiao didn’t even try and push the pace in the 10th despite being told to by Roach. It looked like Pacquiao didn’t have the conditioning needed for him to fight hard in rounds 10, 11 and 12. You can argue the reason for that is because Pacquiao has so busy with his senatorial job in the Philippines that he his conditioning suffered because of that. A younger Pacquiao would have easily finished Horn off in the 10th round. Of course, a younger Pacquiao likely would have knocked Horn out in the first six rounds of the fight.

”I had a great 16 years with the guy and if they feel it’s time for me to go, I’m not upset with Manny,” Roach said to the latimes.com.

While Roach didn’t appear to do a great job in Pacquiao’s corner for the Horn fight, you have to question why the Filipino’s promoter Bob Arum had him fighting in Australia in the hometown of Horn. That was something that was bound to be trouble as soon as the fight was signed. You can argue that the decision to have Pacquiao fight Horn in Australia was as bad one. Having the boxing legend to fight in the hometown of an unknown fighter as big as Horn is, it looked like a poor idea from the start. It’s too bad Arum put Pacquiao in that position rather than having the fight staged in a neutral venue or one that favored the Filipino star. There are some promoters that likely wouldn’t have put Pacquiao in the position of having to fight Horn in Brisbane, Australia in the first place.

If Pacquiao loses to Matthysse, a lot of boxing fans will question whether he would have won the fight had Roach been in his corner for the contest. I don’t think it really matters at this point. Pacquiao’s age, ring wear and inactivity makes him vulnerable to losing to Matthysse in a spectacular manner. We might see Pacquiao suffering a knockout if he gets hit squarely by Matthysse on July 15. Pacquiao hasn’t been in with a puncher in Matthysse’s class since his fight with Cotto in 2009. This is a very dangerous fight for Pacquiao, who has lost a lot of hand speed in the last 7 years of his career.




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