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Pacquiao vs. Matthyse on ESPN PPV, Roach out as trainer

By Jeff Aranow: Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse will on ESPN pay-per-view on July 14, and the former eight division world champion will not have trainer Freddie Roach in his corner. Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) will be trained by Buboy Fernandez, who doesn’t have anywhere near the same experience in boxing as Roach. But with everything Pacquiao has learned over the years, he’s on cruise control at this point.


The reasons for Pacquiao switching Out Roach for Buboy could be numerous. Roach was making a lot of money per fight as Pacquiao’s trainer. Roach was the highest paid trainer in boxing thanks to Pacquiao. With Buboy now the trainer, it’s possible Pacquiao is saving a lot of money that he’s no longer giving to Roach.

Pacquiao isn’t making the same kind of money that he used to per fight, so it makes sense for him to get a trainer that doesn’t cost him as money. Unless, of course, Pacquiao is paying Buboy the same amount that he paid Roach. I seriously doubt that. Buboy is likely going to be making less than Roach did. Going with Buboy could be a cost-effective move for Pacquiao. If Buboy can bring in the same kind of success as Roach did, then it would give Pacquiao and a lot of boxing fans a chance to see how much he was impacting his performances. Some people believe that Roach has done very little in shaping the fighter Pacquiao was. He came to Roach already an incredibly gifted fighter years ago. The main thing Roach did was teach Pacquiao how to use his right hand, which any trainer worth his salt could do as well. Roach teaching Pacquiao to use his left hand was not a huge deal that other trainers could have done effectively.

If the Pacquiao vs. Matthysse fight is going to have any chance of bringing in a lot of PPV buys on ESPN, then it’s going to need to be marketed like crazy on ESPN in the form of 24/7 format. It would be appropriate time for Pacquiao to start trash talking to drum up interest in his fight, because Matthysse isn’t much of a talker.

In the past, Roach would do an excellent job trash talking and giving a lot of interviews to increase interest in Pacquiao’s fights on PPV. But with Roach now replaced by the Filipino Buboy, who doesn’t speak English well as far as I can tell, it’s going to be very, very hard to get the boxing public excited about the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight. The 86-year-old Arum can’t take over the trash talking for Pacquiao. It’s too draining for Arum to be giving countless interviews with the media. Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz isn’t one of the trainers, so it would be odd if he became the official trash talker. Roach will be missed as far as his talent at insulting Pacquiao’s opponents. I can’t see Buboy doing that with him having to speak through a translator.


The promotion of the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight will involve Top Rank, Golden Boy Promotions and Manny Pacquiao promotions. Top Rank will be dealing with the television part with them pairing the fight with ESPN PPV, which is said to Pacquiao’s idea. It would be interesting to know what ESPN thinks about the idea of Pacquiao vs. Matthysse being on PPV. They’ve got to know that this fight could be a real disaster in terms of PPV buys.

There are some fights that are worth putting on PPV, but this isn’t one of them. Pacquiao is facing the wrong guy for PPV, and it’s the wrong period in his career to be trying to sell his fights to a boxing public that might not be willing to pay. Matthysse, 35, isn’t the same fighter he was 5 years ago, and that’s going to hurt PPV sales.

As for Pacquiao, he’s really deteriorated and no longer at his best days. It’s harder to be a PPV star compared to when Pacquiao was a huge money maker. There’s only one PPV fighter in the U.S right now, and that’s Saul Canelo Alvarez, and he just tested positive for clenbuterol. Canelo may be out of commission for a year with no PPV going on in boxing, aside from Gennady Golovkin vs. TBA on May 5th on HBO PPV. That won’t bring in big numbers, and Pacquiao vs. Matthysse might be lucky if it hits 100,000 buys. Gone are the days when Pacquiao was routinely getting over 1 million PPV buys on HBO.

Pacquiao will be challenging Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs) for his WBA World welterweight title in Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia. If the 39-year-old Pacquiao wins the fight, the idea is to match him up against 2-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, who is viewed by some as the best fighter in boxing today.

“Manny will make the final decision on this. He’s contemplating letting Buboy shine at the finish of his career,” Michael Koncz said to LA Times. “If Buboy can get a stable of boxers out of this … no hard feelings to Freddie, but Manny has not made a final decision. Yeah, congratulations [on the awards]. Freddie had a great run and they did a lot of great things together, but that does not mean that Manny can’t go on without Freddie,” Koncz said.

Roach did not do an excellent job in Pacquiao’s loss to Jeff Horn last July. He was passive, and not taking charge of the situation with Pacquiao getting roughed up by Horn for the entire fight. It looked like Pacquiao was getting mugged, and there wasn’t anything being done about it with the referee doing zero. Roach should have stepped up early and gotten on the referee’s case to make him do his job.

Pacquiao has the advantages in boxing skills, experience in hand speed over Matthysse. This is a fight that Pacquiao should know more than enough to win without the need of Roach. If Pacquiao loses to Matthysse, then you can assume that he would have lost even with Roach were in his corner. Matthysse wins by knockouts, and he’s not going to out-box Pacquiao. If Matthysse wins, it’s because he’s hurt Pacquiao and stopped him. There’s nothing Roach could do about that if he were still training Pacquiao.

”Manny learned a lot from Freddie, but he’s at the stage where he’s going to be ending his career,” Koncz said. ”And I truly believe this: A fighter must only have one voice in the corner and it must be a voice he can trust,” Koncz said.

What’s debatable is whether it’s a clever idea to have the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight on ESPN PPV. I don’t think there’s enough boxing fans that will be willing to purchase this fight for it to be a success unless the purchase price is low enough to where the fans don’t mind paying to see two fighters that are no longer at their best. In the past, Pacquiao was viewed as one of the top 2 fighters in the welterweight division. You can’t say that anymore. Pacquiao is probably no better than the No.6 welterweight in the division, and he might not even be that high. Matthysse has a lot of punching power, and he could knock Pacquiao out and show how far he’s slipped as a fighter.




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