By Keith Idec
Freddie Roach admitted at the beginning of the episode that’ll debut tonight after HBO’s doubleheader that they needed a “new twist” to make “24/7 Pacquiao/Maquez 4” interesting.
Whether they succeeded will be determined by ratings, but Roach recalled quite a story that occurred the night of the third fight between rivals Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) and Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) a year ago in Las Vegas. Pre-fight footage from that night showed Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, Marquez’s trainer, and Roach have an unusual exchange in Pacquiao’s dressing room.
“I did have something happen to me that never happened to me before in boxing,” Roach said during the episode, screened in advance by BoxingScene.com. “The opposing trainer came over to my dressing room and gave me seven items that he wanted Manny Pacquiao to autograph for him.”
Beristain is seen handing Roach several items, including a boxing glove and a credential, as well as a Sharpie for Pacquiao to use.
“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me?,’ in my mind,” Roach said. “I said, ‘Is this like part of his game plan? Is he trying to like just [mess] with me?’ ”
Roach laughed at that memory, but he knows how serious Beristain is about guiding Marquez to a win in their fourth fight Dec. 8 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“There’s actually two rivalries, because me and Nacho, it’s competitive,” Roach said. “I mean, I want to beat him badly and he wants to beat me badly, I’m sure. So there’s actually two rivalries going on right now.”
Mexico’s Beristain was more direct about their competition.
“It’s a nightmare to have him in the opposite corner as a rival,” Beristain said through a translator. “I know him as one of the best in the world. And I’m really proud to have beaten him, because I believe we won all three fights.”
The first of four “24/7 Pacquiao/Maquez 4” episodes is set to debut tonight at 12:15 a.m. ET/PT, or immediately after the conclusion of a live doubleheader that’ll feature Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner (24-0, 20 KOs) and Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco (28-2-1, 20 KOs) in a 12-round fight for DeMarco’s WBC lightweight title.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.