By Mesuli Zifo
THE next Manny Pacquiao fight has been dominated more by the end of his illustrious relationship with Freddie Roach than the multiple divisional world champion's chase of winning yet another world title belt
Pacquiao will face Argentinean Lucas Matthysse for his WBA regular welterweight crown in Kuala Lampur on July 15.
The fight has been dominated by the Filipino's split from legendary Roach in a relationship that started to bear fruit at the expense of South African boxer Lehlohonolo Ledwaba 17 years ago.
This when Pacquiao came in as a late substitute to sensationally knock out Ledwaba and dethroned him of his IBF super bantamweight crown to announce his arrival at the world stage and start a run with Roach that would be a benchmark for one of the longest trainer-boxer relationship.
On hearing the news of a possible split which is yet to be officially confirmed by Pacquiao, Ledwaba expressed his sadness that a marriage which he played a part in forming could be over.
"I think it is too late now for Manny and Roach to split because they have been together for a long time," he said.
"Their relationship was legendary and it conforms with loyalty which is often lacking in boxing. I wish they could sort out whatever they are disagreeing with and take the relationship to the finishing line. That would be good for boxing."
Roach released a statement in which he expressed his disappointment that Pacquiao did not personally inform him of the split.
But like Ledwaba said, the veteran trainer said the achievements they accomplished together outweigh anything negative so he would rejoice the time they spent together.
Under Roach Pacquiao scaled the boxing heights and is currently the only boxer to win world titles in eight weight divisions.
While Ledwaba was at the receiving end of the Pacquiao-Roach partnership he is grateful that he helped hatched it and parlayed it into what was to become of the best trainer-boxer relationship.
"I will forever be grateful to be associated with what these two achieved," he said.
Ledwaba is now a promoter having just staged his first tournament under the banner of TLB Promotions which was topped by former IBO lightweight champion Xolisani Ndongeni beating Namibian Abraham Ndauendapo for the marginal WBF title a fort night ago.