MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao’s longtime trainer Freddie Roach says he was initially skeptical about his promise to hang up the gloves for good but is now fully convinced that Pacquiao's fight against Timothy Bradley Jr on April 9 will be his last, regardless of the outcome.
The 7-time “Trainer of the Year” recepient confided that he changed his tune regarding Pacquiao’s plans to retire when he saw first-hand how the 37-year-old pugilist is exerting all of his efforts in training camp.
“I personally don’t know if this will be Manny’s last fight, but he is training like it’s going to be his last fight. Manny has achieved so much in his boxing career, and if this is going to be his swan song, I know he wants to go out blazing with a spectacular performance,” Roach told BoxingScene.com.
Roach also revealed that Pacquiao seeks to redeem himself after his poor performance in his May 2015 blockbuster bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr by closing out his 21-year prizefighting career with a statement-making victory over Bradley.
“He’s pouring everything into this training. If the opportunity for a knockout presents itself during the fight, he’s going to go for it. He knows how to close the show and he wants this show closed with fireworks. He wants to finish the book on his boxing career with a spectacular ending,” he stated.
Although Pacquiao’s qualities as a decorated boxer remain outstanding for the 56-year-old boxing coach, Roach admitted that the renowned Pinoy southpaw has nothing more to prove in the sport.
“I do think Manny has more quality fights in him. His power, speed, work ethic are still superior to most others,” he shared.
Pacquiao has captured 12 world titles in 8 different weight classes and was hailed "Fighter of the Year" 3 times by both The Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA).
In addition, BWAA recognized Pacquiao with the "Fighter of the Decade" citation for the 2000s.
Aside from the world titles and awards, Pacquiao was long rated as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world by most sporting news and boxing websites until his setbacks in 2012.
Pacquiao is currently ranked No 7 on The Ring’s pound-for-pound list and has been in the Top 10 for 643 weeks.
“Manny is the greatest fighter I have ever worked with. I have never seen another fighter accomplish so much. Forget the raw talent and drive to win, Manny was a great student who never rested on his laurels. He was a sponge who was always willing to learn new things,” Roach said of Pacquiao.
Roach first worked with Pacquiao in June 2001 when he dethroned Lehlo Ledwaba for the IBF junior featherweight belt via sixth-round stoppage.
Roach’s relationship with Pacquiao helped build his reputation as one of the best boxing trainers of this generation.
“He challenged me to teach him new things. He made me a better trainer. For me, it’s been a unique experience with Manny. I wish I had a million fighters with as much drive and a willingness to learn new things,” he asserted. – Rappler.com