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Pacquiao still hasn’t committed to Roach for Matthysse fight

Freddie Roach Lucas Matthysse Manny Pacquiao

By Jeff Aranow: Manny Pacquiao still hasn’t committed to using his long-time trainer Freddie Roach for his next fight on July 15 against WBA World welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Despite recent reports that Pacquiao has fired the 58-year-old Roach, he came out with a statement on Sunday saying that he still hasn’t made up his mind that he’ll use as his trainer for his fight with the 35-year-old Matthysse on July 15. Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) says he’ll make up his mind this week, and then Roach will be informed about his decision.

Pacquiao made his statement on social media. With the way Pacquiao has left Roach twisting in the wind without knowing whether he still has a job with him or not, many fans see that as a cold way for the Filipino star to deal with his coach. Pacquiao has been Roach for 16 years and 34 fights. He’s had a lot of success with Roach.

The fans feel that Pacquiao should have dealt with this in a more professional manner by contacting Roach and letting him know whether he’s going to keep him or not rather than leaving him hanging without knowing whether he still has a job or not with him.

As of right now, Pacquiao will be trained by Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez and Raides “Nonoy” Neri for the fight against WBA ‘regular’ 147 lb. champion Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) on July 15.

Pacquiao made this statement about the Roach situation on social media last weekend:

”Contrary to statements which I personally did not make that are circulating in the media, I have not made my final decision who will be my head trainer for my July 14 fight with Matthysse. My advisor Mike Koncz has been in contact with Freddie’s people to keep them informed. I will make a final decision within the week. When that decision is made, Freddie will be the first one to be informed and then I will advise the media.”

Pacquiao, 39, lost his last fight against Jeff Horn while Roach was in his corner in July of last year in Brisbane, Australia. That fight was a disaster from the moment that it was signed. Pacquiao wasn’t in the condition he needed to be for him to fight at a high enough level to defeat Horn. The Australian fighter spent the entire fight roughing him up in front of the referee, who chose not to do anything about it.

Roach wasn’t his usual assertive self by failing to complain to the referee about Horn’s roughhouse tactics, but even if he had though, it’s unclear whether that would have changed anything. Pacquiao’s lack of conditioning is what lost him the fight. He wasn’t able to fight hard for three minutes of each round in the way he needed to for him to win. It obviously didn’t help matters that Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank made the decision to stage the fight in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane in front of a large crowd of 50,000+ pro-Horn boxing fans. The fight made more money by staging it in Australia, but it put Pacquiao in a tough position. In hindsight, it would have been better to have staged the fight in a neutral venue where Pacquiao would have had a better chance of winning the fight. Pacquiao’s lack of conditioning would have been a problem no matter where the fight was staged. Horn had the better engine, and he was able to fight harder. Unfortunately, Horn chose to rough Pacquiao, and that was a problem that should have been addressed by the referee by him taking points away.

In a news release sent out last week by Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, it said, “Pacquiao will be joined by his new promotions team along with trainers Restituto ‘Buboy’ Fernandez and Raides ‘Nonoy’ Neri.”

It didn’t say anything about Roach being part of the training team. Whether that was a mistake on the part of the person that created the press release is unclear.

”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 in a statement last Friday on ESPN.

With everything that’s happened, it makes you wonder whether it’s still possible for Roach and Pacquiao to work together. Is it better at this point for Pacquiao to move on or it is possible for the two of them to patch things up and still work together possibly one more time?

Pacquiao is going to have to be a lot better against Matthysse than he was in the Horn fight if he wants to win. Matthysse is a bigger puncher than Horn, and he’s going to be looking to take Pacquiao’s head off right away on July 15. Pacquiao hasn’t fought a puncher with the kind of power that Matthysse has. And while it’s true that Matthysse didn’t look so great in his last fight against Tewa Kiram last January, there was nothing wrong with his punching power.

Matthysse looked as powerful as ever in that fight. The thing that Matthysse had problems with was the height, reach and the outside fighting ability of Kiram. The Thailand fighter stayed at range most of the fight, using his jab and not giving Matthysse many opportunities to land his power shots until the 8th. That’s when Matthysse finally caught up to Kiram and knocked him out with a jab.

If Pacquiao doesn’t keep Roach, it could look like a PR disaster for him if he loses to Matthysse. That move well be second-guessed forever by boxing fans, who will criticize the Filipino star for choosing to let Roach go in favor of the far less experienced Buboy, who has been an assistant coach for a long time.

Matthysse is getting Pacquiao at a vulnerable time in his career with him coming off a loss, 1-year layoff and possibly with him undertrained with a training team that is not as strong as it once was. If Matthysse can take the fight to Pacquiao the way Horn did, he could tire him out and possibly get a stoppage in the second half of the fight. With the fight taking place in Malaysia, Matthysse might need a knockout to win.

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