Pacquiao shouldn’t fight Crawford for now, says Roach

MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao's head trainer Freddie Roach doesn't think Terence Crawford is the right guy to face for the Filipino boxer's next fight, which is tentatively set for November 5.

Roach, who has been in Pacquiao’s corner since his title-winning performance against Lehlo Ledwaba for the IBF super bantamweight belt in June 2001, believes it is all about proper timing for Pacquiao in terms of a potential showdown with Crawford. 

The 7-time BWAA “Trainer of the Year” awardee pointed out that the 37-year-old southpaw from General Santos City will need a full training camp if he desires to lock horns with Crawford.

“At the moment, everyone is mentioning Terence Crawford, but I don’t like that fight for November. Almost the entire training camp would be in the Philippines. We wouldn’t be able to fly back to the States until 12 days before the fight,” Roach said in an interview with Boxing News.

Pacquiao recently decided to end his brief retirement from the sport after securing a seat in the Philippine senate last May.

Although Pacquiao ensured that his preparations for his comeback will not interfere his duty as senator, it will require changes in his typical preparations. 

Roach admitted that Pacquiao should be in top shape to topple an impressive two-fisted fighter like the American Crawford. 

“We’ll also be training in the evenings because Manny will be working in the senate all day, so it won’t be the best camp. Crawford is a great athlete and I wouldn’t want Manny going into that fight if he’s not 100 percent. I want the November fight to be more of a warm-up fight and then for Manny to fight again shortly after. I want it to be a two-fight deal,” he stated.

Crawford became a frontrunner to square off with Pacquiao after unifying the WBC and WBO junior welterweight titles with a lopsided decision triumph over Ukraine’s Viktor Postol this past July.

According to Top Rank chief Bob Arum, Pacquiao is entertaining the idea of moving down to junior welterweight, which has a weight limit of 140 pounds. 

Pacquiao only competed once at 140 pounds when he scored an emphatic second-round knockout victory over Ricky Hatton to bag the IBO and lineal junior welterweight belts in May 2009. 

“I’m not sure what weight Manny will fight at. I’ve not spoken to him about it yet, but it could be 140. He walks around at about 142 anyway,” Roach shared. 

“But he likes to have breakfast and lunch on the day of a weigh-in, so maybe it’ll be 147. Plus, he’s a much nicer guy at that weight. But the November fight could be at 147 and then after that he could drop to 140. That wouldn’t be a problem,” the 56-year-old veteran boxing coach added. 

Roach guaranteed that an in-ring encounter between Pacquiao and Crawford will happen in the future and asserted that he is interested to see how his prized pupil will fare against the 28-year-old American.

“For sure, the Crawford fight will definitely happen. It’s a good fight but like I said, I want Manny to have one fight first and then fight Crawford,” he claimed. 

Despite Crawford’s spectacular performance against Postol, Roach is confident that Pacquiao will have his hand raised in victory.

“Crawford’s a great athlete. We weren’t expecting him to fight the way he did against Postol,” he assessed. “I’m not sure he’ll be able to box like that against Manny. It won’t be a problem if he does it’s just a pain in the ass tracking someone down all the time.” – Rappler.com