Since 2001, Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao has been working with renowned trainer Freddie Roach. It was during “Pacman’s” first fight in the United States against South African fighter Lehlo Ledwaba.
Pacquiao, who was then only 23 years of age, flew to America in search of better opportunities as a prizefighter. His partnership with Roach did bear fruit, as he defeated Ledwaba to become the IBF super-bantamweight champion of the world.
Roach and Pacquiao carried on with their trainer-fighter relationship throughout the next 16 years, facing formidable opponents such as Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Erik Morales, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. along the way. However, this partnership is seemingly coming to an end in 2018.
According to a report by ESPN.com, the 39-year-old eight-division world champion has supposedly decided to cut ties with his long-time trainer. As stated by manager Michael Koncz, Roach will be replaced by Pacquiao’s childhood friend and original coach Buboy Fernandez, who will be taking on the trainer duties for the scheduled Lucas Matthysse fight on July 14th in Malaysia.
Koncz added that the reasons were about some of Roach’s post-fight statements after Pacquiao lost to Jeff Horn in July 2017.
“There were 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.
While these statements were not specified, Roach believes that this move is related to his comments in an interview after the Horn fight, where he questioned Pacquiao’s decision to juggle his senatorial duties in the Philippines with his boxing career.
“I told him that the way his career is going, being a leader in his country and being a senator and dealing with all the responsibilities that come with that, he might have to give up boxing,” Roach told Yahoo! Sports in a recent interview (via Boxingscene.com). “Boxing is a very physical sport and a very rough sport and having two jobs like he has is so tough. He’s just always going like crazy.”
The 58-year-old Roach also admits that having gotten the information through a news clipping is what hurts the most, and hoped Pacquiao himself could have come forward.
“If there is anything I’m disappointed in about this, obviously, it’s that I had to read it in the newspaper and I didn’t hear it from Manny first,” Roach said.
Pacquiao recently released a statement regarding the matter, stating he has not made a final decision on whether or not Roach will remain as his trainer. But once he did, he says Freddie himself would be the first to know.
“My advisor Mike Koncz has been in contact with Freddie’s people to keep them informed,” Pacquiao said (via BoxingNewsOnline). I will make a final decision within the week. When that decision is made, Freddie will be the first one to be informed and then I will advise the media.”
Pacquiao currently holds a record of 59-7-2, with 38 victories by knockout.