The fight that boxing fans have long waited for, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, is now less than 40 days away and with the anticipation growing to a fever pitch, both camps have moved away from promoting the fight, and have gone full steam ahead with their training camps. Freddie Roach is no stranger when is comes to training a fighter to face Floyd Mayweather Jr, as he trained Oscar De La Hoya to a competitive split decision against Floyd back in 2007. Roach hopes to have a more favorable result May 2nd in a fight he considers the biggest fight of his life.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Freddie Roach, I discuss with him the fight that is expected to break every record in boxing revenue. Roach speaks on the fight finally coming together and gives insight into the early preparations with the sparring partners selected to prepare Pacquiao for the bout. Roach also shares his thoughts on getting a second shot at Floyd Mayweather Jr. and how he thinks Pacquiao will fare compared to De La Hoya. Additionally Freddie talks about the perception that Manny Pacquiao’s chances are better now to defeat Mayweather, compared to five years ago. Here is what Freddie Roach had to say.
Jenna J: The fight we’ve all been talking about is finally going to happen, how do you feel about Mayweather vs. Pacquiao?
Freddie Roach: I’m actually really excited about the fight. When he finally announced the fight it put a big smile on my face. My fighter, Pacquiao, is on fire right now, he’s working really hard and everything’s going well. We started our sparring sessions and I’ve got like six really good young kids coming up as sparring partners.
I really don’t believe in getting older guys to be your sparring partners — guys who are just in front of you. I like getting young contenders, it helps them along the way and Manny will make some of them a better fighter by just the knowledge that they’ll get by being in the ring with him.
I’ve got a lot of young kids coming in and they’re all very good fighters, they all have very good records, most of them are undefeated. Usually we average about 150 rounds of sparring but for this fight, I’m going to shoot for about 90-100 because I don’t feel like we need the wars anymore like we used to, we need just more technique and more strategy for what Mayweather brings to the table.
Jenna J: At any point during these years did you ever get to a point where you thought this fight wasn’t going to happen? Did you every have it in your mind that this fight wouldn’t happen between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd?
Freddie Roach: A good friend told me, “Every fight that was supposed to happen, will happen some time, we just don’t know when.” He kept me kind of motivated with everything that happened and we actually made a little bit of a wager, so I lost a bet. Every time we had dinner once a week, he told me over and over again that this fight would happen some day. I’m so happy it’s here.
Jenna J: This is your second opportunity to go against Floyd. You had Oscar De La Hoya in that super fight. How much different is it this time around, having a fighter like Manny Pacquiao go against Floyd?
Freddie Roach: Well, Oscar was really big but I’ve been in some big fights in my life and that was one of the biggest of course. I thought we won the first six rounds, I thought we kind of blew it in the last six rounds. Clearly I thought the fight could have been a draw but the thing is, I learned a lot about Mayweather in that fight. I learned how he kind of works a little bit, so it’s helping out with my strategy with Pacquiao quite a bit.
I’m going back and watching most tapes and I watch the current stuff also, so I have a complete gameplan with Manny and he’s right on board with me and I’m really excited about fighting this fight. This is bigger than anything I’ve ever had in my life.
Jenna J: A lot of people have said that Floyd has slowed down in recent years and because of that, Manny Pacquiao’s chances are better now than if the fight had happened five years ago. Do you agree with that?
Freddie Roach: Everyone gets a little bit older and so forth. Manny Pacquiao in the last few fights has looked identical and so forth. I’m picking ideas of what will work and won’t work in the strategy.
Me and Manny were working on the moves today and it just wasn’t comfortable with us, it was a three punch combination and it was just too long because a three punch combination in the pocket, Mayweather is really fast and he will hit you back before you land three shots, so we got rid of that. We’re just being careful about what we bring in. We’re getting a little bit from the old stuff and a little bit from the new stuff, it’s working out really well though.
STAY TUNED TO ONTHEROPESBOXING.COM FOR PART 2 OF MY INTERVIEW WITH FREDDIE ROACH