Pacquiao says Freddie Roach never left his team
By Chris Williams: WBA ‘regular’ welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao surprised the media this week by stating that his long time trainer Freddie Roach has never left Team Pacquiao. However, Roach didn’t work with Pacquiao’s last fight against Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia on July 15, and it was believed that the 39-year-old Filipino star had cut ties with him.
Apparently that’s not what happened. Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) says Roach has remained with the team, and is now helping him prepare for his first title defense of his WBA 147 lb strap against Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner on January 19 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
With Roach out of the picture for Pacquiao’s last fight against Matthysse, he was trained by his long time helper Buboy Fernandez. Pacquiao didn’t need special instructions in how to beat Matthysse, considering this was the type of brawler that he’s always done well against. For the Broner fight, Roach will be helping out in camp to design a game plan for Pacquiao to use against the Cincinnati, Ohio native. It’s still uncertain whether Roach will be the main guy in Pacquiao’s corner on the night or if it’ll be Roach. In training camp, it would be wise for Pacquiao to get someone to help work the mitts. In video of some of the training, Buboy looks tired when holding the mitts for Pacquiao. It’s not a good look with Buboy exhausted after a minute of holding the mitts while Pacquiao hammers him. Roach might not be much of an improvement in that area. Pacquiao would do well to get a younger trainer to work with him on the mitts. Having a large guy like Buboy holding the mitts might not be the best thing for Pacquiao.
It’s awfully important that Paquiao beats the 29-year-old Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) so that he can keep alive his hopes of fighting a rematch against Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27 KOs) in 2019. Mayweather mentioned recently that he wants to fight Pacquiao a second time. Pacquiao is the only boxer the 41-year-old Mayweather has mentioned wanting to fight. He’s not interested in mixing it up with the young lions at 147 or 154 despite the boxing world wanting to see him fight the best in those weight classes. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao 2 would be a business level fight, and not a not a match that pits the best against the best.
“I tell people even in America that Freddie never left Team Pacquiao,” Pacquiao said to the boxing media. “He is still involved in the training.”
Roach last worked with Pacquiao during his fight with Jeff Horn last year in July 2017. Pacquiao suffered a 12 round unanimous decision loss in that fight, which took place in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Roach looked disengaged in the corner during that fight, not speaking up and showing the fire that we’d seen from him during Pacquiao’s best years. Roach had the look of a confused trainer, who didn’t know what to do under fire when things weren’t going Pacquiao’s way for once. Horn had a simple game plan that he used throughout the Pacquiao fight, and that was to rough him up nonstop any chance he got. With the referee standing by and seemingly blessing Horn’s roughhouse tactics against the much smaller, and older Pacquiao, it was up to Roach to come up with tactics to negate the fouling from the Australian. At the very least, Roach should have barked at the referee to let him know that Horn was fouling Pacquiao all over the place, and making a mockery of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules of boxing. Roach didn’t do that, so it made it easier for Horn to rough Pacquiao up to his heart’s content without the referee disciplining him by taking off points and disqualifying him if need be.
Roach clearly wasn’t happy about being let go by Paquiao. He said he wanted Pacquiao to speak to him directly if he was to work with him for his fight against Broner. It would seem that Roach got his way and was able to have that conversation with the Filipino star, as he’s now back on board the Pacquiao ship ready to sale through potentially rough waters against Broner.
The eight division world champion Pacquiao looked rejuvanated in his last fight against Lucas Matthysse last summer on July 15 at Kuala Lumpur. Pacquiao’s physique, which hadn’t been looking muscular and well-defined in the last seven years of his career, had the striated body-builder look that it had during his best years of his career when he was destroying the likes of Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya. Not only did Pacquiao’s physique look different, but also his famous punching was back. Pacquiao was seemingly hurting the 35-year-old Matthysse with every punch he threw in the fight. Although Pacquiao’s hand speed wasn’t quite as fast as it once was, it was still blazing fast for welterweight standards for the division. The combination of Pacquiao’s power and still incredibly fast hand speed made him a nightmare for Matthysse. It was an impressive performance by Pacquiao, looking as if he had stepped out of a time machine to fight in a different era. The boxing fans that were ringside for the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight saw what appeared to be the 2008 version of Pacquiao battering the hard-hitting Argentinian from pillar to post for seven rounds.
“I am already excited. (After) more than two years I am coming back to Vegas to fight,” said Pacquiao.
Broner is the ideal fighter to help Pacquiao get prepared for a second fight against Mayweather. Broner has always been compared to Mayweather with his fighting style. The only things Broner has lacked are the hand and foot speed, defensive ability and the quick reflexes that Mayweather has always had.
Since the loss to Horn, Pacquiao had been viewed by boxing fans as being over-the-hill, and not the same guy that had dominated the welterweight division for the most part for close a decade. Pacquiao’s performance against Matthysse showed a fighter that could give any fighter in the welterweight division huge problems. The only question is will Pacquiao be the same fighter when he steps foot inside the ring against Broner? Their fight is taking place in Las Vegas, and not in Malaysia. Will Pacquiao be the same dynamo that boxing fans saw last July against Matthysse? That’s the question that a lot of people have. They don’t which version of Pacquiao will show up on the night. If it’s the Pacquiao that lost to Horn and struggled to best Jessie Vargas in 2016, then there’s a very good chance that Broner may pull off an upset on January 19. Broner will likely be in the best shape he’s been in ages, as he knows that he’s got to beat Pacquiao if he wants to keep his career alive.
It would be a major shock if Pacquiao loses to Broner on January 19. You can’t rule out an upset like that, being that Pacquiao has looked hot and cold in his fights in the last two years. If Pacquiao comes out looking flat like he did against Horn and Vargas, Broner will have a real chance of winning the fight. It’s important that Broner not give away the first six rounds like he did in his fights against Mikey Garcia and Vargas.