Hall of famer Freddie Roach has long been regarded as one of boxing’s finest tutors, having been voted trainer of the year by the sport’s Writers of America now fewer than six times, most recently in 2013.
His presence as the long-term lead of Manny Pacquiao’s coaching operation, then, is significant ahead of the fighting pride of the Philippines’ long-awaited clash with Floyd Mayweather.
Roach’s presence is compelling, not just because he is so highly regarded, but because this is not the first time he has trained a fighter to take on the man they call Money.
Back in 2007 Mayweather met Oscar De La Hoya, who contracted Roach to train him for the bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
De La Hoya’s career ending clash against the Filipino Flash saw the Mexican American admit to his former confidante “You’re right Freddie, I don’t have it any more” in the ring post match.
Yet a year earlier, under Roach’s guidance, he had still made a sufficiently good fist of facing down Mayweather to win the fight 115-113 on the scorecard of judge Tom Kaczmarek as part of split decision reverse.
While the accuracy of Kaczmarek’s understanding of events may have been queried by the boxing public, few could deny that De La Hoya’s near constant taking of the initiative unsettled Mayweather, particularly early on, in a way that has seldom been seen since.
Come the end of the ninth he was ahead on two scorecards by a margin of five rounds to four, only for his stamina and accuracy to fade as his opponent won the last three stanzas.
Speaking about the Mayweather v De La Hoya fight recently, Roach told On The Ropes Boxing Radio the following:
“I thought we won the first six rounds, I thought we kind of blew it in the last six rounds. Clearly I thought the fight could have been a draw but the thing is, I learned a lot about Mayweather in that fight. I learned how he kind of works a little bit, so it’s helping out with my strategy with Pacquiao quite a bit.
“I’m going back and watching most tapes and I watch the current stuff also, so I have a complete gameplan with Manny and he’s right on board with me and I’m really excited about fighting this fight. This is bigger than anything I’ve ever had in my life.”
Words such as the above from a trainer of Roach’s repute have to be heartening ones for Pac Man backers.
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