Freddie Roach excited to work with Manny Pacquiao again

LOS ANGELES — Freddie Roach said the other day he can’t wait to work with WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao again after a nearly 1 1/2-year separation and they’re due to get together at the Wild Card Gym here before Christmas in the final three weeks of preparation for the title defense against Adrien Broner at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Jan. 19.

“I’m excited,” said Roach. “I hadn’t talked with Manny since the (Jeff) Horn fight (in July last year) then we met up two weeks ago when he went to L. A. for the second stop in the press tour to promote the Broner fight. We spoke for about 15 minutes. It’s up to Manny how he wants me to be involved with the team. I’m just happy to be back. He’ll be working out at the Wild Card Gym which is like his home.”

Roach said he’ll be in Pacquiao’s corner for Broner but he’s not likely to be the man inside the ring in between rounds. “That would be Buboy (Fernandez),” he said. “Buboy did a good job with Manny in getting him ready for (Lucas) Matthysse and the result was a knockout. I’ll be ready to do whatever Manny wants me to do. It’s not a long training period for Manny, like eight weeks in total. We’re rushing it but Manny will be fine. There’s time to prepare. It won’t be a problem.”

Roach, whose mother Barbara passed away late last year, predicted Pacquiao to beat Broner decisively. “Manny will kill Broner,” he said. “You can bet your house on it. Broner tries to fight like (Floyd) Mayweather but he’s nowhere near the skill level. He even uses the shoulder-roll. Broner’s the type who can make an opponent look bad so Manny can’t take him lightly.”

Roach said if Pacquiao fights like the way he did against Matthysse, there’s a big possibility that Broner will end up on his back. “It could be a knockout,” he said. “Manny looked good in taking out Matthysse and he wants to make an impressive showing against Broner because he has Mayweather on his mind. Manny wants that rematch. Whether Mayweather will fight him again is a question mark. You’ll never know with Mayweather.”

Roach said in his recent 15-minute meeting with Pacquiao at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Beverly Hills, they talked like old times. Last Saturday, Roach was in Tyson Fury’s corner for the fight against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder at the Staples Center here. He was outside the ropes during the intervals in between rounds and served as cutman. He’ll probably be in the same situation with Pacquiao against Broner not as a cutman but as a second to Fernandez. Pacquiao may bring back Dr. Ed de la Vega as cutman. De la Vega was in Pacquiao’s corner for the Matthysse fight in Kuala Lumpur.

“Tyson wanted me on his team because his trainer Ben Davison is only 25 and he needed my experience,” said Roach. “Right now, I’m working with two world champions, both from Puerto Rico under Miguel Cotto’s management. One is WBA superfeatherweight champion Alberto Machado (21-0, with 17 KOs) and the other is WBO lightflyweight champion Angel Acosta (19-1, 19 KOs).” Fury survived two knockdowns to hold Wilder to a split 12-round draw.

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