FREDDIE TELLS THE MEDIA AND IT DOES NOT PLEASE MANNY
By Maloney L. Samaco
13 Apr 2018
Michael Koncz, Manny Pacquiao's manager, has declared over ESPN that Freddie Roach will not be working in the Filipino boxing icon's corner during his fight with WBA regular welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse and will be replaced by the senator's best friend and assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez.
"That's Manny's decision. Manny has told me Buboy will be handling the training on this fight," Koncz was quoted by ESPN. "What's important to Manny is that he has one voice to listen to in the corner that he trusts, and I guess that's Buboy for this fight."
The Hall of Fame trainer was not informed personally of the switch by the eight-division world boxing champion.
Koncz would not state in detail the accurate rationale for the separation. He just said Pacquiao was not pleased with facets of Roach's task in his title fight with Horn and he was not delighted with some of Roach's pronouncements with the media.
"There was some concerns Manny had in the last fight and some statements Freddie made to the media that Manny wasn't very pleased about," Koncz said.
For the first time since 2001, Roach will not be Pacquiao's trainer. After a debatable unanimous decision loss to Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia last July 2, Roach and Pacquiao had not contacted each other.
The Hall of Fame trainer had earlier revealed to the Los Angeles Times that he had tried several times to call Pacquiao but each time he was unable to contact him.
One of boxing's most successful boxer-trainer partnerships began in June 2001 when Pacquiao, then an unknown fighter, entered Roach's Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles as he was searching for a trainer to prepare him for his match with IBF superbantamweight champion Lehlohonolo Ledwaba.
Pacquiao was called to challenge the South African on just two weeks' notice. Ledwaba was scheduled to fight Mexican Enrique Sanchez who got injured leading up to the fight, giving Pacquiao the chance to fight on American soil for the first time.
Roach trained the rising Filipino boxer, and coached him to a sixth-round knockout upset win over the heavily-favored Ledwaba. It was the first world title for Pacquiao under Roach and the pair would later win other titles in six more weight divisions.
Five and one-half weeks before his July title defense against unknown Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Roach made public his worries.
“We are far behind. Those five rounds of sparring were the worst I have seen him spar,” Roach told the Manila Times.
Instead of airing positive comments on Pacquiao's training, he stated over the press the trouble brewing at the camp.
“Manny has not had a knockout for a long time. He got to show here in the sparring that he wants to knock him down. So, I don’t know, I cannot predict that anymore."
Team Horn was very inspired of Roach’s antagonistic remarks and probably has found some vulnerability in Pacquiao's fight preparations.
After the Horn defeat, Freddie divulged publicly about a talk he planned to Manny, revealing some personal details.
Leroy Cleveland wrote in Fight Saga: "Freddie should have known he should have had that conversation with Manny first; Moreover, even after that conversation had taken place the media didn't need to know everything that was said."
Roach made known to the boxing world he was not satisfied with the way Pacquiao fought Horn.
"Fight a rematch with Horn, otherwise retire," Roach told TMZ. "Fighters get old overnight, he did okay in the fight, but just okay, and just okay isn't good enough."
He also told the press that it's time for his fighter to retire because it is burdensome to be a boxer and a senator simultaneously.
“I think it’s a good time for him to retire right now,” said Roach to Fighthype. “I kind of wish Manny Pacquiao would follow his lead and retire also. Being a professional boxer and a senator at the same time is very difficult. He still wants a couple of more fights. He’s doing a good job as a senator right now, but not as a boxer,” said Roach.
Roach said he would tell Pacquiao when he believes it is no longer appropriate for him to continue fighting. But Roach told Pacquiao to retire through the media rather than telling it to him personally.
Roach also revealed that Pacquiao has not been communicating with him after the Horn bout.
"He was definitely avoiding me," Roach told FoxSports after the loss to Horn. “I really don’t know if he’s mad at me,” Roach says. “But I can tell you this: I haven’t been paid yet. So who knows?” Fight Saga reported.
Roach even mentioned of having a hard time in his corner during the Pacquiao fights. He has been disturbed by Buboy Fernandez's relaying instructions to the fighter and cutman Miguel Diaz's actions.
“It’s hard when Buboy is yelling, and Miguel is telling me he has to get in the middle to work on the cuts,” Roach was quoted in Fight Saga. "And to get my message across to Manny, what he should be doing is very difficult. Miguel is getting older and he has trouble getting in and out of the ring, and Buboy gets excited. Control in that corner has always been a little difficult.”
As Roach keeps commenting about Pacquiao to reporters, the senator keeps himself in silent mode and later announced his new training team excluding his long time coach.
It seems curtains fell on one of the most successful fighter/trainer, father/son-like relationships in boxing history.
Freddie may never coach Manny again, but here's hoping these two legends will reconcile their disagreements. A good Christian that he is, Manny will surely bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones.
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