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ROACH MAKES HISTORIC CEBU VISIT


PhilBoxing.com




Freddie Roach, the celebrated American trainer of Filipino ring superstar Manny Pacquiao, arrived in Cebu yesterday evening for a brief, but historic first trip in the Queen City of the South that will surely be engraved in his heart and memory.

Moments after disembarking from a Philippine Airlines jet at 6:50 pm, Roach was warmly greeted by a handful of fans who gladly shook hands and posed for pictures with him. Roach was accompanied by his best friend Billy Kenne and Pacquiao's Fil-Am adviser Joe Ramos.

Roach came here in country's boxing capital upon the invitation of noted Cebuano promoter and Pacquiao's confidant Rex "Wakee" Salud, who fetched him at the airport and later tendered a sumptuous dinner for his entourage and some members of the media at Ching's Palace.

"I thank Wakee (Salud) a lot for flying me out here. Although I've never been to Cebu before, I've heard a lot about this place and it feels good to be here," said Roach, who plans to visit the state-of-the-art ALA Boxing Gym owned by boxing patron Antonio "Bidoy" L. Aldeguer this morning or in the afternoon.

When asked who he would like as the next opponent for Pacquiao, Roach answered "It should be against Barrera because it's a fight that the public wants to see."

The problem, however, is that Golden Boy Promotions of boxing grear Oscar de la Hoya and Top Rank Inc. of Bob Arum are currently locked up in a legal war for the right to promote Pacquiao.


Celebrated boxing trainer Freddie Roach (2nd from left) poses with host Wakee Salud (left) and companions Joe Ramos (2nd from right) and Billy Kenne upon their arrival in Cebu yesterday. Photo by Dong Secuya.

Top photo caption: Rex "Wakee" Salud (right) welcomes Freddie Roach at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport upon Freddie's arrival yesterday.

Golden Boy Promotions has inked a seven-fight deal with Pacquiao in late September, but Arum surprised everyone when he announced that Pacman and his MP Promotions have signed a four-year contract with Top Rank.

"I think Golden Boy will win the suit because they signed Pacquiao first. I also spoke recently to the commissioner of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and he told me that Arum doesn't have a contract with Pacquiao," said Roach.

"Personally, I really want Golden Boy as promoter of Pacquiao. The big money fights are with Golden Boy and they have all the available opponents for Pacquiao such as Barrera, Joan Guzman, Israel Vasquez and Rocky Juarez," added Roach.

Roach, meanwhile, hinted that Pacquiao may consider the possibility of nullifying both the promotional deals he signed with Golden Boy and Top Rank.

"It may be one of his options. Once he becomes a free agent, he can re-negotiate the deal and go through who has the best offer fight for fight," said Roach.

In an earlier interview with fightnews.com at his hotel in General Santos City, Roach said both contracts may actually be illegal after all considering that Pacquiao signed both contracts without informing Shelly Finkel, who also has the authority to represent the Filipino fighter being manager on record.

Finkel's managerial pact with Pacquiao expires on January 31, 2006 yet.

"Shelly is in a position to get Manny out of both contracts since Manny signed both contracts without Shelly’s commission," said Roach.

Roach was in General Santos City last Sunday to attend the baptism of Pacquiao's only daughter Mary Divine Grace "Princess", that also coincided with Pacman's 28th birthday and the blessing of his P40-million mansion.

"It's too big for me," said Roach in describing Pacquiao's new house. "It's like you're in Beverly Hills," said Roach, referring to the plush townhouses in California where most of the Hollywood stars live.



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emmanuel B. Villaruel.


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