The game plan to beat Mayweather has changed, says Roach

Ryan Songalia

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The game plan to beat Mayweather has changed, says Roach
Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach says that both fighters have changed as they've gotten older, which means he'll have to devise a new strategy to hand Mayweather his first loss

MANILA, Philippines – Floyd Mayweather is fond of reminding all that there is “no blueprint on how to beat Floyd Mayweather.” Freddie Roach is the man tasked with trying to build one.

The 6-time Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year has been in Manny Pacquiao’s corner since he first began campaigning in America at the turn of the century and will lead the Filipino boxing legend into charge against the unbeaten Mayweather on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Roach was in the corner opposite Mayweather on May 5, 2007 when he fought Oscar de la Hoya – the only fight when Mayweather finished a fight losing on on scorecard. That was a long time ago, Roach admits to FightHype, saying that the game plan to fight “Money” Mayweather would have to adjust as well.

“[Floyd has] changed. My guy’s changed,” Roach said earlier this week, prior to the fight’s announcement.

“They’ve both gotten older and that’s something we can’t get away from. I think the fight would’ve been much more exciting three years ago but I think it’s still exciting yes, but I don’t think it’s as great as it once was.”

(RELATED: Pacquiao, Mayweather finally give fans what they want)

The 36-year-old Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) has won three straight following a two-fight stretch in 2012 when he lost a dubious decision to Timothy Bradley and was knocked out in six rounds by Juan Manuel Marquez. 

Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs), who turns 38 on Tuesday, has never so much as been knocked down (aside from when he took a knee against Carlos Hernandez in 2001 after injuring his right hand). 

Pacquiao is in his twentieth year as a professional fighter and Mayweather in his 19th. With wear and tear from years of fighting as professionals and amateurs, each has slowed down considerably, preferring to fight smarter instead of harder. 

Roach admits that Pacquiao isn’t the same fighter he was when he mugged Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003 to become a star in the sport, when he pounded Oscar de la Hoya into retirement in 2008, or when he knocked Ricky Hatton unconscious with a single overhand left in what was the decade’s most awe-inspiring knockout.

“Does he have the killer instinct he once had? I have to answer honestly, I don’t think so,” Roach told FightHype. But he feels it’s enough to beat the person, you don’t have to kill them or knock them out. That’s kind of where we’re at right now and I think that’s what we have to live with.

“Maybe his testosterone level is lower also, that might be taking away from his killer instinct.”

(RELATED: Getting Pacquiao to enjoy beating people up again)

Still, as the most accomplished trainer of his time, Roach would love to go down as the man who finally cracked the “May-Vinci” code.

“I look forward to challenges all the time, that’s a big challenge for me,” said Roach after Pacquiao’s victory over Chris Algieri in November. “I say [Mayweather] is a talented guy, but I think we can beat him. He doesn’t have too many flaws, he doesn’t make too many mistakes but there are a couple and I think we could take advantage of them.” –

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