Not only are they fighting for the title but the WBC’s ornate Diamond Belt will go to the winner. It will be promoted by Roach is travelling a road that has brought more satisfaction than any win in his own fighting career. He had proven to be a good fighter, but he is a great trainer. He will no doubt, end up with possibly the greatest legacy of any trainer. He has molded a tough but crude warrior in Manny Pacquiao into the best in the world.
Arum called him “The model for most trainers,” and he indeed, may very well be correct in his assessment. “He’s the best trainer in the world,” added Arum.
“Camp is going very well,” said Roach. “We had four really good weeks, so we trained really well. We had a couple of typhoons, but we didn’t miss a day. We had great sparring. There were a lot of distractions in the last week in Manila so we left camp a little bit early.”
Between storms and a peace award, no fighter has ever trained with more distractions than Pacquiao. The two persevered and, according to Roach, Manny is right where he needs to be at this stage in his preparation.
The relationship between these two men is remarkable. They respect each other and they go together like a perfectly match top and bottoms on an outfit in Macy’s window. When asked about a disagreement between them Roach was quick to say that the whole “depute” centered on when to leave camp in the Philippines as a typhoon approached. In the end they were on the same page and left at midnight together.
“We weren’t in disagreement,” explained Roach. “I just felt it was urgent to get out before the typhoon hit for the safety of the sparring partners.”
When Freddy talks about his fighter’s accomplishments it is hard to distinguish between Roach and Paquiao, trainer and fighter, and Roach and Pacquiao, father and son because it often seems like that is who they are to each other.
Most managers and trainers brag about their charges, but Roach’s comments are often through the roof.
“You don’t have fighters like that, who move up through all the different weight divisions,” said Freddy.
Pacman has a seventh world title in his sights. Something that only he has done; fighters today have a little advantage doing that because of all the junior divisions that did not exist in years past. Even Ray Leonard has not won as many. He won six, no small accomplishment.
“He’s just getting better and better,” said Roach. “This is one of the greatest achievements ever surpassing Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns.”
Can Pacquiao face bigger men than 147? “I don’t think so. I think this will be our final stop,” said Roach. “You never know, the right guy comes in at 154 maybe we’ll go there.”
Because of Pacquiao’s incredible popularity Roach has to watch out for distractions.
“We had a great first month,” said Roach. “But the last week in Manila was a little tough with some politician there, but the first four weeks were great.”
Roach insists that his confidence is based on what he sees in Pacquiao when he predicts a knockout.
“He’s punching so much harder than he used to,” added Freddy. “He’s getting better and better all the time.”