Nobody but Freddie Roach knows if his tongue was planted in his cheek when he said, “Amir punched the shit out of Manny,” after arriving at LAX on the weekend.
Roach, who's preparing both Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KOs) for his upcoming fight against Antonio Margarito (38-6, 26 KOs) and England’s Amir Khan (23-1, 17 KOs) for his tilt with Marcus Maidana (29-1, 27 KOs), was captured making the statement on video shortly after landing at the airport. But even if he’s just jesting, it’s believed there’s always a shred of truth in every joke.
Roach, Khan, and Pacquiao all arrived in L.A. to set up training camp at Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood and these are the most crucial three weeks for Pacquiao. He’ll step into the ring against Margarito Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas for the vacant WBC Super Welterweight Title. Khan has an extra few weeks to get ready -- he'll square off against Maidana in defense of his WBA Jr. Welterweight crown in Las Vegas on Dec. 11.
It's not clear if Roach was trying to hype the fight by stirring up controversy, but Khan has definitely been holding his own against Pacquiao in their sparring sessions. Roach told boxingscene.com, “The sparring with Amir Khan was great. There were some days where Manny got the best of Amir, and then there were days when Amir got the best of Manny. It was back and forth and was very good. "
It’s believed Khan was brought into camp to help Pacquiao regain his speed after sparring against bigger fighters to get used to Margarito’s larger, natural-welterweight build. However, it seems Pacquiao was getting too used to the slower pace of the bigger sparring partners and his hand speed was suffering because of it.
After being criticized by his promoter Bob Arum last week for his poor showing in training , Pacquiao picked up the pace and took his frustrations out on two other sparring partners, Glen Tapia (7-0, 5 Kos) and Michael Medina (24-2-2, 19 KOs), who are both Jr. middleweights.
According to Roach, Arum was spot on with his assessment of Pacquiao the day he showed up to watch sparring and said, “Manny looked good in spots, but on that day, they got the best of him.”
However, Roach believes Arum’s scathing words turned out to be just the motivation Pacquiao needed to wake up and realize he still had a lot of hard work ahead of him. But it was reported that Pacquiao headed to San Diego on his first day in L.A. to coach a basketball game instread or resting.
It’s expected that Roach will put Pacquiao through the paces during the next couple of weeks in training as world-class Jr. middleweights Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (40-0-1, 30 KOs) and Vanes Martirosyan (28-0, 17 KOs) may spar with him. To make things even more interesting, earlier in camp Roach offered $1,000 to any sparring partner who could deck Pacquiao in training camp and Martirosyan said he fully intends collect the cash.
Whatever happened in their sparring sessions may never be publically known, but Khan still feels Pacquiao will add a new championship belt to his collection in November. The Englishman predicts his training partner will knock Margarito out. Khan also predicted he’d knockout Maidana.
At Home Sportsbook has the odds of a Pacquiao win at -575 and the odds of a Margarito victory at +375. They also have odds of a Khan win at -300 and the odds of a Maidana win at +400