Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |


Deja vu? We’ve heard these concerns about Pacquiao before


Freddie Roach did an interview with immediately upon his return from several weeks of training with Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines.

“Too many distractions,” he said, referring to Pacquiao being pulled in many directions in his home country. “His focus was off a little bit. But I got two weeks to get him back on track. It should be no problem.”

Word out of the Philippines was that Pacquaio was lackadaisical during his final sparring session there.

“Well, his focus was off a little bit,” Roach said, “because you know he had governors and mayors and stuff like this wanting to meet with him. Just too much going on. The one thing they promised wouldn’t happen did happen.

“ÔǪ The thing is we’re back at home, back to the normal. We have two weeks at the Wild Card [Boxing Club], two weeks of hard sparring coming up. And I’m looking forward to it.”

So Roach had no doubts that Pacquiao would be ready for his big fight?

“He’s 100 percent ready for the fight,” Roach said. “He’s in great shape. I’m not worried about that whatsoever. We have a good game plan, we have good sparring partners. Everything has worked out really well.”

Roach was talking about Pacquiao’s fight against Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13 at Cowboys Stadium, right?

Wrong. This interview was conducted before Pacquiao’s fight against Miguel Cotto last November, when typhoons forced Roach to move camp from Baguio City to Manila before Pacquiao came to the U.S.

The same red flags that have raised concern about whether Pacquiao is prepared to fight Margarito went up before he faced Cotto. And we know what happened there: Pacquiao hurt Cotto early, pressured him the entire fight and finally stopped him in the 12th round.

What’s the point of this? To show you how silly all this talk about Pacquiao’s sudden vulnerability is.

He demonstrated against Cotto that he can endure distractions and still step into ring fully prepared to do his job. There’s no reason to think that will have changed against Margarito.

Does that mean that Margarito has no chance? Of course not. The Mexican has significant advantages in size and strength. If Pacquiao loses, though, it won’t be because he didn’t do the work beforehand.