Roach doesn't think third Bradley fight is Pacquiao's last
MANILA, Philippines – Freddie Roach, the trainer of Manny Pacquiao, doesn’t feel his fighter is done with the sport just yet.
Speaking with Marcos Villegas of FightHub, the American trainer said he doesn’t feel Pacquiao will hang up his boxing gloves after his third fight with Timothy Bradley on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, despite claims that he’ll retire to focus on his political career in the Philippines. Pacquiao, a two-term congressman, is running for the Philippine Senate, with elections set for May 9.
“I could see Senator Manny Pacquiao defending his world title. I don’t think this will be his last fight,” said Roach.
“I think he will fight in the future because I just don’t feel he’s all done. He’s always telling me before when I’m all done will you tell me. I said of course I’ll tell you. And he’s not even close to being all done with his work ethic and the way he trains.”
Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 knockouts) will be fighting for the first time since his May 2015 decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr in what was the most financially lucrative bout in boxing history.
Roach, who has trained the 37-year-old Pacquiao since he first arrived in the United States in 2001, isn’t alone in his skepticism.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum also seemed hesitant calling this fight Pacquiao’s last one, telling the Los Angeles Times: “I’m not going to advertise it as his last fight. He could change his mind, then everyone says I’m a huckster.”
Pacquiao lost a controversial decision against Bradley in their first fight in 2012, then avenged that loss with a points victory in 2014. Many feel a third fight against the current WBO welterweight titleholder is pointless given Pacquiao’s past superiority over him, but Roach views Bradley as a test to see how well his right shoulder, which was surgically repaired after being injured before the Mayweather fight, is holding up.
“I actually disagree with them a little bit because Manny’s coming off a surgery in his last fight. So we haven’t done much boxing since then and he’s played basketball and he feels pretty good and so forth. We’ve gotta make sure Manny’s injury is fully healed,” said Roach.
A win over Bradley will set up more meaningful fights down the road, Roach feels, including a showdown with former lightweight titleholder and current WBO junior welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs), who had been considered for the April 9 fight.
“I know Terence wants the fight and Manny wants the fight and I want the fight. But the promoters don’t want the fight because they don’t feel he’s quite ready for it yet. At some point he will be ready and I’m sure by then we’ll make it happen.”
And of course, Roach would want a shot to avenge the Mayweather loss.
“I think Manny with two hands, he would’ve done a lot better. I think a lot of people thought he won the fight anyway. I personally don’t, but Manny does think he won the fight anyway and maybe they deserve one more time.”
Pacquiao and Roach will come face-to-face with Bradley and his new trainer Teddy Atlas on Wednesday, January 20 Manila time for a kickoff press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel, before jetting off to New York City for another press con two days later. – Rappler.com