By Abner Galino
HALL of Fame trainer Freddie Roach said on Tuesday that Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao was more focused now and has been training better than when he was preparing to fight Australian fighter Jeff Horn.
Roach reiterated to mediamen at the Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles that Pacquiao’s very tight schedule while they were preparing for the said fight “caused his training to suffer.”
“His training camp was like up and down. Sometimes he can get to us at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, sometimes 10 o’clock at night, and we still have to train,” Roach recalled.
Horn won by unanimous decision against the Filipino boxer on July 2, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia.
The legendary coach and the eight-division world champion had a verbal tussle after the said fight which caused their relationship to fall off.
Last July 14, Pacquiao fought and knocked out Argentinian Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia without Roach on his side. He trained and relied on the coaching of his close friend Buboy Fernandez.
Fernandez used to be assistant trainer when Roach was around.
However, when Pacquiao held a press conference in a Beverly Hills hotel last November, he told the media that he would ask Roach to return to his camp for his upcoming fight with American fighter Adrien Broner on January 19 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao followed through with the said promise and subsequently met with Roach.
Roach recalled that during their first meeting after almost two years of not talking to each other, Pacquiao told him how much money that each of them would be making after the fight with Broner.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t get you the last time (referring to his fight with Matthysse),” Roach quoted Pacquiao telling him during the said meeting.
“No, let’s forget about that,” Roach reportedly quipped back.
Pacquiao reportedly went on to explain why he wanted Fernandez to work the mitt while relegating the American trainer as a sort of a fight consultant.
“He wants Buboy to have a career even after he (Pacquiao) retired from boxing,” Roach added.
The boxing coach said he was very happy that Pacquiao reached out and got him back to be part of the training team.
“I’ve been with him for 15 years. I had a great run with him. He is a great guy. I have no reason to be mad at him because he didn’t like what I’ve said … that was my opinion,” Roach said.
Roach has earlier blamed Pacquiao’s loss to Horn to the toll of attending to the functions of a senator of the Republic of the Philippines and training for a boxing fight at the same time.
Here are some of the other salient quotes during the Roach’s press conference:
“His power is unbelievable. He is 100. His speed and power is still there. His work ethics is still there. I always tell him that once you’re work ethics drops, I want you to retire. But it has not dropped at all. He was on his toes for like four hours the other day.”
“He is complaining about blisters in his feet that day … and I asked him; why are you still jumping rope? He said: We don’t know if my opponent is still working at this moment.”
“We are staying in not just to stay in. We still want to stay to be the best. We will fight the best.”
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