By Radio Rahim
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach is rejecting some of the circulating talk that labels his star pupil, eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs), as a heavy underdog in a potential fight with WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 8 KOs).
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, their mutual promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank was very interested in making that fight for the fall.
Pacquiao is likely going to return, if everything goes as planned, on April 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. And former junior welterweight champion Mike Alvarado is reportedly a frontrunner to fight him.
Pacquiao, 39 years old, has been out of the ring since July 2017, when he lost an upset twelve round unanimous decision ot Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia.
Lomachenko, who holds the WBO super featherweight title, will make his lightweight debut on a date in April, although there is talk of a potential fight in May with WBA champion Jorge Linares. Lomachenko saw action in December when he secured a stoppage win over fellow two-time Olympic gold medal winner Guillermo Rigondeaux.
A fight with Lomachenko would take place at a catch-weight of 140-pounds.
"I think its a fight that the world would be interested in, and if Manny Pacquiao is interest I will get him ready for that," Roach told BoxingScene.com.
While Lomachenko is getting high praise for his skills as a fighter, Roach believes Pacquiao was a much better overall fighter if they match their "prime" abilities.
"In their prime, I think Pacquiao is the better fighter. He had more power, he had more knockouts, he was the better puncher," Roach said.
"Lomachenko has good foot work, but he already has one loss on his record [to Orlando Salido]. He lost to a guy who didn't care about foot work and just outfought him. He is beatable, he has lost before. He is a very good fighter, but do I fear him - no."
All Roach needs to prepare, is for Pacquiao to put politics aside and place his full focus on training.
"He has a very good work ethic, but going to the Philippines and working with the senate..... sometimes we train at one time and then at another time. Whoever Manny fights next, I just want him to give me eight weeks to concentrate on the fight, no senate, and he'll be fine," Roach said.