The relationship between Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach has been an extremely interesting one to observe over the past few years. While shifting loyalties and nonsensical internal controversies have become commonplace in boxing, these two, somehow, have maintained the sort of bond that serves as a model for other fighters and trainers.
Mind you, neither of these guys needs the other per se. Roach is a legend at this point – his legacy is secure. Similarly, there is no denying that Pacquiao is an all-time great – any trainer would be happy to work with him in the here and now.
And yet this pair has remained tight despite that.
Last year, after Pacquiao’s third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, there was reportedly a lot of strife in Pacquiao’s camp between Alex Ariza, Bob Arum and a few others. The business end of that team was unhappy with how the boxing wing was preparing Top Rank’s big market star; the boxing wing was unhappy with the direction that the business end was taking their guy in.
In the midst of all that, while just about everyone was secretly whispering negative things about everyone else to any reporter that would listen, Pacquiao and Roach offered nothing but glowing endorsements of one another.
Their relationship is beyond the pettiness that has and will shatter other affiliations. That’s why Amir Khan ultimately decided to part ways with Roach – he knew that he would never come first in the pecking order. And think about that for a second. Pacquiao is obviously on the wrong side of his peak. If you were going to opportunistically hitch your wagon to someone, wouldn’t it be the younger guy with his whole career in front of him? Roach didn’t. There bond between him and Pacquiao is too tight.
Pacquiao and Roach put one of the quirkier aspects of their relationship on full display this week when it came out that the latter owed the former money. Why? Well, as reported by the Phillipine Star:
Roach must be glad with what happened even if it may have cost him $1,000.
A couple of weeks ago, Roach said he was offering Pacquiao the amount if he manages to knock any of his sparring partners down or out.
“This camp I will pull a switch. I will offer Manny $1,000 out of my own pocket every time he knocks a spar-mate on his a**,” Roach said of his offer.
After the Thanksgiving knockdown, the five-time Trainer of the Year said it was the best gift he could get.
A lot has been made of the problems Marquez gives Pacquiao stylistically and the Filipino champ’s inability (as of late) to knock his foes out. That’s all valid. But don’t sleep on the huge advantage that Pacquiao has coming into this match – Freddie Roach. This isn’t just another fighter-trainer relationship. This is something different. Roach understands what’s on the line Dec. 8, and there is no way he’ll let his guy fall flat on his face with the whole world watching.