Pacquiao big part of Roach’s Hall of Fame journey
Written by : AFP
LAS VEGAS, Nevada: Manny Pacquiao’s world title fight against Timothy Bradley on Saturday is just one event in a whirlwind weekend for trainer Freddy Roach, who will be inducted into boxing’s Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Roach said he wouldn’t miss the ceremony in Canastota, New York, calling it a “once in a lifetime deal.”
“Part of the reason I’m going in the Hall of Fame is Manny Pacquiao,” he added.
The two teamed up in 2001, when little-known Pacquiao needed a place to train in the United States and tried Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.
The two had a connection immediately, Roach recalled.
“It was the first time we met each other,” Roach said. “I didn’t miss a beat on the mitts. It was like I knew him his whole life. He couldn’t even speak English back then.”
Pacquiao has since evolved into a global superstar, a world champion in eight weight classes who is a hero—and congressman—in his homeland and a money-spinning celebrity in the United States.
Through it all, Roach said, his relationship with Pacquiao has evolved as well, from a father figure in the early days to their current close friendship.
“It started off immediately,” Roach said of the friendship. “We had a lot of respect for each other. That’s never changed. Our roles have changed.”
Now that Pacquiao is older, with a family of his own, he doesn’t rely on Roach for advice about his life.
Even when it comes to boxing, Roach said, they now meet on equal terms.
“I don’t coach him as much as I used to,” Roach said, adding that Pacquiao was an astute student of boxing.
“Sometimes he’s my coach at this point. It’s 100 percent collaboration.”
So it’s no surprise that even with the Hall of Fame honour beckoning, Roach will be in Pacquiao’s corner on Saturday night.
He sheepishly explained he’d rented a private plane— cost $26,000 —to take him and others from Las Vegas to New York soon after the bout.
“I’m not too happy about it,” he said.
Roach will be joined on the plane by his mother and other family members, along with ring announcer Michael Buffer, who will also work the Pacquiao fight and also be inducted into the Hall on Sunday.
Roach fought as a lightweight for eight years, building a record of 40-13 before retiring in 1986.
He is being inducted into the Hall for his work as a trainer.
Pacquiao’s overall record of 54-3-2 includes a line of 22-1-2 in 25 fights with Roach.
Roach has also brought along young fighters, guiding Virgil Hill to a 31-0 record before they parted ways and training flyweight champion Brian Viloria and the late Johnny Tapia.
One thing Roach said he hadn’t quite planned out for the weekend was his induction ceremony speech.
“It’s going to be a short speech,” he predicted.
Sunday’s other honorees are Thomas Hearns, Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, broadcaster Al Bernstein and writer Michael Katz.
Short URL: http://www.filamnation.com/?p=27626