By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – After one fight away from longtime trainer Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao and Roach have rejoined forces for his fight against Adrien Broner.
The Filipino legend revealed before a press conference Monday in Manhattan that both Buboy Fernandez and Roach will train him for the Broner bout and work his corner January 19 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Fernandez, Pacquiao’s lifelong friend and a longtime assistant to Roach, was Pacquiao’s head trainer for his seventh-round knockout of Lucas Matthysse on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Pacquiao never actually fired Roach, who acknowledged he was disappointed Pacquiao didn’t at least personally inform him that Roach wouldn’t work with him for the Matthysse match. Roach made it clear, though, that he always remain loyal to Pacquiao and would work with the 39-year-old fighter he helped turn into a superstar if Pacquiao wanted a reunion.
Pacquiao is concerned about Roach’s health, thus the Hall-of-Fame trainer will serve in more of a supervisory capacity during this training camp than for previous fights. Fernandez will do the more physical work throughout training camp, such as doing mitts with the powerful southpaw.
Roach resisted in the past to lessen his workload because the 58-year-old trainer feels being active with boxers helps him manage his Parkinson’s disease. Pacquiao apparently has convinced Roach to alter his role while working together for this fight.
“Me and Freddie, we have a good relationship since 2001,” Pacquiao said Monday. “We don’t have problems in terms of training, sharing our knowledge about strategy, techniques in training. We don’t have problems with that.”
Pacquiao is confident, too, that Roach and Fernandez will continue working well together in preparation for this Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
“Buboy and Freddie, they’re a team,” Pacquiao said. “Buboy is always there. He has experience, many fights with Freddie. So I think Freddie can instruct Buboy to do something like that. Because, you know, Freddie’s not young anymore and I’m, you know, I feel pitiful with Freddie. I’m praying for him, for the healing of his sickness. My plan, my thinking is he can use Buboy to do mitts in training, supervise and watch the training, like that.
“[Roach] can rest and just watch the training, and instruct the training, strategy-wise, advise some techniques like that. Because Buboy, he knows what Freddie wants.”
Pacquiao plans to return to the Philippines following another press conference Tuesday in Los Angeles. Once three days-per-week senate sessions end December 12 and loosen his demanding schedule, Pacquiao will move his training camp to Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California, just before Christmas.
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 39 KOs) and Cincinnati’s Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) will fight for the WBA world welterweight title Pacquiao won from Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs, 1 NC) four months ago.
Tickets to the card headlined by Pacquiao and Broner will go on sale Saturday. Tickets range in price from $100 to $1,500.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.