By Michael Rosenthal
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Manny Pacquiao might reunite with longtime trainer Freddie Roach for his fight against Adrien Broner on January 19 but nothing had been settled as of Tuesday afternoon.
Pacquiao said at a news conference to promote the pay-per-view fight Monday in New York that Roach would work with him in a supervisory role after fighting without Roach in his corner in his last fight, a knockout of Lucas Matthysse.
However, in light of a report indicating that Roach hadn’t discussed the matter with Pacquiao, the fighter said he at a news conference Tuesday in Los Angeles that he intended to talk to his mentor later that day.
Roach made it clear to Sports Illustrated earlier Tuesday that he hadn’t spoken to Pacquiao.
“The thing is, I still have never directly spoken to Manny [since Pacquiao lost to Jeff Horn in 2017],” Roach told SI.com. “I’m not going to make a move until Manny calls me. I’ve been like a father to Manny for 15 years. If he can’t call me, there will be no deal.”
Pacquiao insisted on Tuesday that he has no issues with Roach, saying he had friend Buboy Fernandez work his corner for the Matthysse fight this past July in Malaysia to get him experience. The fact Matthysse wasn’t a genuine threat to Pacquiao, at least in the eyes of many, might also have played a role in Pacquiao’s decision.
Broner is step up from the faded version of Matthysse who faced Pacquiao. Hence the need for Roach, one might argue.
“I don’t have any problem with Freddie Roach. I always include him on my team,” Pacquiao said to a small group of reporters before the formal portion of the Los Angeles news conference.
Pacquiao, concerned about the impact of Roach’s ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease, said Fernandez would do the physical work during training – including holding the mitts – while Roach serves as supervisor.
Pacquiao said he would train for a month in the Philippines without Roach and then another month in Los Angeles with him.
“Everybody knows his sickness,” Pacquiao said of Roach. “I’m praying for [him]. All I’m saying is is that I think the other [duties] in training, we should assign to Buboy to do that. … My idea is to have Buboy handle the mitts and have Freddie just supervise.”
And Pacquiao suggested that no one read too much into the time that has passed since he last spoke with Roach.
“I’m just busy in the Philippines,” said Pacquiao, who serves as a senator and a promoter in addition to his own boxing career. ”I don’t have much time.”
Michael Rosenthal is the most recent winner of the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Nat Fleischer Award for excellence in boxing journalism. He has covered boxing in Los Angeles and beyond for almost three decades.