Whether Manny Pacquiao actually realizes it or not, he has a perfect anti-Bob Arum voice of reason right there in his very own camp. Unlike Arum, who feeds off the dirty and corrupt nature that festers over on the ugly side of boxing, trainer Freddie Roach thrives off the sport’s purity. Inarguably one of the greatest trainers of all time, Roach simply cares about winning the right way and doing whatever his fighters need him to do.
And the fact that he turned Pacquiao into the type of winner that even the Filipino champion probably didn’t envision himself ever becoming – well, that’s just icing on the cake.
These days, Roach is still serving as the angel on Pacquiao’s shoulder. He’s still working as the antithesis of Arum, undermining the infamous promoter in his own quiet and unique little ways. Case in point: his recent interview with Dan Rafael of ESPN where he very slickly dropped some words of wisdom to his fighter, all the while never actually disparaging Pacquiao or Arum.
Here is what he told Rafael on the topic of Pacquiao vs. Mayweather this past Thursday:
"I want the fight bad," Roach said. "It's definitely a challenge, and we need to challenge Manny to get him motivated. He doesn't get motivated for ordinary guys, and Mayweather isn't an ordinary guy."
In typical Roach fashion, though – the famed trainer took a bold stand all the while making his allegiance to Pacquiao completely clear. Here is how he addressed Mayweather recently calling out Pacquiao on various social media outlets:
"It was typical," Roach said. "We've been chasing him for two years. All of a sudden he gets his get-out-of-jail-free card and wants to call the shots. Tweeting people and promoting fights through Twitter is very common now, trash-talking through Twitter. I found it kind of humorous. But just because you call someone out, there's still a lot of negotiating to do. At least he called us out, though. I'd like Manny to call him out too. Since Mayweather has been so bold, I hope Manny is just as bold back.
"This is good news that he called Manny out. Both guys want to fight each other, and we need to get this done, now or never."
Listening to Pacquiao, Mayweather and Arum twist and mislead their way through any and all interviews about this super fight is irritating enough to make your head explode. Every word they say, every suggestion they toss out – you almost immediately have to discount it and assume it’s just a PR game to fool the unsuspecting public. When Roach speaks, though, you know his words are genuine. You know he’s legitimately saying whatever it is he believes.
So when he says this regarding whether or not he actually believes a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather will ever happen, folks would be wise to listen:
"My theory on what's going to happen is Mayweather will fight someone [May 5] and Pacquiao will fight Lamont Peterson or [Timothy] Bradley [in June], and in November they'll finally fight each other," Roach said. "I know Mayweather got 90 days, but he can be out a lot sooner for good behavior.
"I truly, truly, truly hope they fight as soon as possible. That's my dream. I love the fight."
Pacquiao is surrounded by an awful combination yes-men and greedy liars that want to steer his fighting career into a direction that may ultimately hurt his legacy. Roach is the exception to that. If the Filipino champion is smart, he’ll listen to the most loyal and good-hearted member of his entire team.
And if he does, then both he and boxing fans everywhere will reap the ultimate reward.