By Mitch Abramson
Freddie Roach, never one to shy away from a strong opinion, is predicting a knockout for Manny Pacquiao, whom he trains, in his upcoming fight with Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas. If that happens, it would be the first time that Marquez (53-5-1) has been stopped in his 18-year, Hall of Fame career. Should Pacquiao (53-3-2) get by Marquez, Roach would then like to see Pacquiao, an eight-division champion, face Mayweather Jr. in his next fight and then walk off into the sunset and retire from the sport he has dominated in recent years.
“I’d like to get Mayweather next, beat him and then call it a day,” Roach said on Tuesday during a press conference in Manhattan to promote the fight between Pacquiao and Marquez. “That would be the icing on the cake, but that’s my own thoughts, not Manny’s. I would like this fight [against Marquez] and that fight [against Mayweather] and be done. I don’t think there’s anything else to prove [for Manny].”
If Pacquiao is able to stop Marquez and Roach is proven prophetic, it will be a departure from their previous two fights and 24 rounds, in which there were knockdowns aplenty but no knockouts for either Pacquiao or Marquez. Both fights were razor close, with Pacquiao winning a split decision in 2008 and the first fight ending in a draw four years earlier, despite Marquez tasting the canvas three times in the first round. Roach believes that Marquez has become more offensive-minded in recent years to appease a public that wants action. While that may be good for Marquez’s pocketbook, it might ultimately be a problem for Marquez in his fight with Pacquiao, Roach believes.
”He’s become a little more aggressive,” Roach said. “I think he had to for the TV people and for HBO to make money that he wants to make, so he became a more aggressive fighter. And I think that might be his downfall.”
Mitch Abramson covers boxing for The New York Daily News and BoxingScene.com.