Freddie Roach on Pacquiao’s returned killer instinct, scouting Broner
This is how I pictured it…
Manny Pacquiao coming back to the fold and getting back with Freddie Roach at Wild Card…In walks Manny, he locks eyes with Dedham Freddie and he starts to croon:
“Reunited, and it feeeeels so good!”
Peaches and Herb, Ali and Dundee, Pacquiao and Roach….
The world feels a bit more settled when the wizard of the Wild Card and the fighting Senator are aligned, and so that is the situation as we count down to the Jan. 19 PPV skirmish between Pacman (60-7-2, 39 knockouts), aged 40 but apparently still zesty and powerful as a pugilist, and Adrien Broner, the colorful and combustible and mercurial talent who is still searching for a career defining win.
First things first; Roach said that basically even Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) at his very best won’t beat Manny. “He needs to be better than we’ve ever seen,” the tutor told me. “I don’t believe he can beat Manny.”
You might have heard that on Wednesday, Broner decided he didn’t want to come to Wild Card for a media day session, and so he blew off arrangements for him to meet and greet press. That surprised some folks; Roach said he was mildly taken aback. “He’s been to the gym, been a couple times before, we’re friendly, never had a problem with him.”
No matter, Roach said he’s done his scouting, he knows what strengths of the Cincy boxer’s to be mindful of. The right hand, be aware of it…but apart from that, Roach says the mindset of his guy is basically ensuring a W. Freddie says that old “killer instinct” is back. I asked him to put his hand on a Bible and swear to it, because we’ve heard the “KO mindset is back” talk before. Freddie said hand him a stack, for real…Manny liked how it felt to stop a guy, as he did Lucas Matthysse, and wants that dopamine surge again, the trainer stated.
Broner could very well be dropped and stopped, Freddie continued. The hitter, now trained by Kevin Cunningham, has shown that he has a ceiling and Freddie said “he is what he is.” When he started to try and be Mayweather Jr, the Massachusetts man said, that’s when he started going off the rails.
Oh, and speaking of “Money.” Sure, Roach would like to corner Manny for another go at Floyd. Freddie wasn’t impressed in the slightest at the sight of Mayweather using Tenshin like a pinata. “He should have been arrested for beating up a minor,” Roach cracked. “That was a little kid. 20? Looked maybe ten!”
And if Floyd isn’t wanting to come to the table for a non-exhibition, Roach named some other names on a hit list. “Manny wants to be the best fighter in the world again,” he said. Yes, he swears that is plausible. And the names he mentioned as possible foes, Manny could prove it if he fought and beat, say, a Terence Crawford. Keith Thurman is also on the possibles list, as is Mikey Garcia, though Roach thinks he could find Errol Spence too hard to handle. “We want to fight the best. Manny can go on a run, five, six fights, KOs,” he declared.
He cited Nolan Ryan as someone who was still getting it done, throwing sick heat at 40. Roach thinks Pacman can channel the fastballer. “He’s now looking for the KO, the killer instinct is back. He’s never predicted KOs ever in 15 years! It’s good to have that killer instinct back.”
Oh OK, so yeah, that Peaches and Herb rendition never happened….But yes, Roach said it does feel good to have the band back together. There is no tension with Buboy Fernandez, he said. He watched the Pacman versus Matthysse fight on TV and felt like part of him was in that ring. When Manny came back to the gym, he offered Freddie some apologetic words for the way the mini split was handled and Roach said that’s old news, let’s get to work.
“Fifteen years and I missed one fight. That’s not too fuckin’ bad! No hard feelings, not at all. He’s going to be the first President to be world champ. He’s still doing what he does best, and he’s got lots of life in him.”
For the record, Filipino presidents serve a six year term. Rodrigo Duterte was installed in June of 2016; the next election is slated for May 2022. So, you might want to keep that date in mind as you ponder what the last chapters of the Pacquiao pugilism story look like.
Woods, a Brooklyn resident, was a staff writer at NY Newsday, before joining ESPN The Magazne (2003-2011). He edited TheSweetScience.com (2007-20015), publishes NYFights.com, calls fights for Facebook Fightnight Live and does the “Talkbox” podcast for Everlast.