The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Shaquille O’Neal leading Manny Pacquiao up to the ring against Miguel Cotto?
Well, to Pacquiao’s chief trainer, Freddie Roach, it sounds a good idea.
The hottest trainer in boxing today said the bulging NBA superstar had thought of leading Pacquiao to the ring although Roach said he has yet to take it up with Pacquiao seriously – barely four weeks the fight set at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Roach said that awhile back, during the NBA break, he had the chance to give the 7-1 O’Neal, who wears size 23” shoes, some boxing lessons in Los Angeles, and the former Laker superstar brought up the idea and offered himself for the role.
“He sounded like he really wanted to do it,” said Roach, not forgetting that a couple of wrestling superstars have led Pacquiao up the ring in his previous fights.
Former World Wrestling Entertainment champion “The Undertaker” was the first to play the role when he led Pacquiao in his march up the ring for his fight with Hector Velasquez at the Staples Center in 2005. And for the Ricky Hatton fight last May, it was Dave Batista, with Filipino blood, leading Pacquiao to the ring.
So, why not O’Neal?
Roach said the NBA player who weighs over 300 lb is such a fun guy to be with.
“I saw his shoes in the gym and I wanted to keep them as souvenir so I tried to steal them. But they wouldn’t fit in my gym bag so I had to leave them behind,” said Roach, who recalled the incident with a smile.
O’Neal learned about it, and the next thing Roach knew was that the future NBA Hall-of-Famer had sent him a pair.
“They were so huge they looked like a kid’s toy truck,” said Roach of the giant fellow.
“In the gym, I had to put vaseline on his face and I had to use a stool to do that,” said the American trainer, almost laughing.
He really has nothing against the idea of O’Neal being up there on the ring with Pacquiao.