By Jeff Aronow: Freddie Roach says Manny Pacquiao will be fighting the flat-footed Errol Spence Jr on August 21st in a similar way he did former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito in 2010.
While IBF/WBC 147-lb champion Spence is a southpaw while Margarito fought out of the orthodox stance, Roach believes the gameplan that he devised for Pacquiao back in 2010 to use against the tall 5’11” Antonio will work next month.
Against the heavy-handed, flat-footed former IBF/WBA/WBA 147-lb champion Margarito, Pacquiao utilized lightning-fast in and out attacking style to get to land shots and then get away to the outside.
It worked perfectly against Margarito, who couldn’t get his shots off often enough to give Pacquiao problems. Margarito needed Pacquiao to be stationary for him to land his punches, and he wasn’t cooperating.
It was still far from an easy fight for Pacquiao against Margarito, as he was hit frequently by the powerful Mexican fighter. Margarito hurt Pacquiao with a body shot during one instance, causing him to retreat and move around the ring to recover.
Spence is faster than Margarito, and he has an excellent jab against shorter fighters. It will be harder for Pacquiao to get in punching range against Spence than it was against Margarito.
Another thing that Roach is overlooking is the loss of speed by the 42-year-old Pacquiao. When Pacquiao fought Margarito, he was 31-years-old, and still at the top of his game.
Now, eleven years later, Pacquiao hasn’t fought in two years, and he’s not as young or as fast as he was in 2010.
“He wasn’t my first choice,” Roach said of Spence to Yahoo Sports. “I was leaning toward Mikey Garcia because he challenged us several times and so forth. When Manny picked Spence, I said, ‘Congratulations, you picked the best guy out there.’”
Pacquiao would have received a heap of scorn from boxing fans had he chosen to fight Mikey Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) instead of Spence.
It’s not that the former four-division world champion Mikey isn’t an excellent fighter. He was already beaten soundly by Spence in 2019, and he’s only fought once since then.
Mikey is now seen as no longer focused on boxing and is more into cars and stuff outside of the ring.
It would have been interesting if Pacquiao fought Mikey when he was still active with his career eight or nine years ago, but definitely not now. It’s too late.
“Manny was in and out, in and out, and when he does that, his opponent doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going,” Roach said.
“When he breaks in with a combination, he can’t sit in the pocket. If he sits in the pocket, he’ll get hit back, and this guy is a good puncher. He’s got to get in, hit, and get out right away,” said Roach about Manny’s fighting style for Spence.
Pacquiao has another month to train on building up his stamina and foot speed because he will need that to have a shot at beating Spence.
In the workout clip of Pacquiao hitting the mitts with Roach, he looked considerably slower than he was when he fought Margarito in 2010.
Even Keith Thurman chimed in on social media to remark about how slow Pacquiao is looking. Thurman wasn’t kidding. Pacquiao does look a lot slower and heavier than he was in the past. If Pacquiao doesn’t trim down for his fight with Spence, he’s going to get taken apart.
“You can’t just go straight right in on him,” Roach said of Pacquiao needing to be careful with Spence.
“You have to use an angle. Manny’s been doing that quite a bit, and footwork is the key to winning this fight. Manny’s footwork is better than anyone’s. He’s on his toes, and he can do it for 12 rounds,” said Roach.
It’s still going to be very tough for Pacquiao to try and get past Spence’s powerful jabs because he’s accurate with it. He pumps it out there like a machine gun, looking to hit his opponents multiple times to set up his powerful left hand and right hook.