Pacquiao wants Roach to supervise coaching team

Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner facing off in New York on Monday for their Jan 19 welterweight fight. Pacquiao wants Freddie Roach, his long-time trainer, to return and be in his corner in Las Vegas.
Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner facing off in New York on Monday for their Jan 19 welterweight fight. Pacquiao wants Freddie Roach, his long-time trainer, to return and be in his corner in Las Vegas.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao admitted that while he was hoping for a reunion with long-time trainer Freddie Roach for his Jan 19 welterweight bout against Adrien Broner, no contact had yet been made.

One of the sport's most famous double acts, spanning 16 years, ended ahead of his technical knockout win over Lucas Matthyse in Kuala Lumpur in July.

But Pacquiao raised eyebrows during a press conference in New York on Monday when he said Roach would be back in his corner for the Broner bout in Las Vegas.

The veteran cornerman was bemused and told Sports Illustrated that the pair had not been on speaking terms for a while.

"I still have never directly spoken to Manny (since last year)," Roach said. "I'm not going to make a move until Manny calls me.

"I've been like a father to Manny for 15 years. If he can't call me, there will be no deal."

Asked to clarify the partnership on Tuesday, the boxer said he hoped Roach would work as a "supervisor". Long-time associate Buboy Fernandez, who was in his corner for the Matthyse fight, will take the lead role in training.

"I don't have any problem with Freddie Roach," he added, before citing the American's health for not employing him as his head trainer. The 58-year-old Roach suffers from Parkinson's disease.

"You know, Freddie's not young anymore and I feel pitiful with Freddie. I'm praying for him, for the healing of his sickness.

"All I say is that the other work in training should be assigned or designated to Buboy. Freddie can supervise or instruct Buboy, this is what we're going to do."

But when pressed on whether he had been in touch with Roach, he said they were "scheduled to talk".

He also revealed his plans to divide his training camp into two parts - one in the Philippines, where Roach would play no part, and the other in the United States.

"He can just wait here," he said. "I'll be here (in the US) next month in December."

If the duo join forces again, it will come after a striking and pronounced divorce.

Despite the bond they had shared for over a decade, Pacquiao conceded the demands of his role as a Philippine senator on top of his boxing career had put on strain on their relationship.

"I was busy. I don't even have time to come to the US for a vacation for relaxation," said Pacquaio, who will turn 40 next month.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 22, 2018, with the headline 'Pacquiao wants Roach to supervise coaching team'. Print Edition | Subscribe