For a most significant portion of his professional boxing career, Philippine Sen. Manny Pacquiao has been accompanied and guided by the weathered veteran hand of celebrated coach Freddie Roach. He had been present at the corner of the “Pac-Man” for his greatest triumphs leading to his stellar 8-division world champion feat; he was also there for some of Pacquiao’s greatest upsets, most importantly his fourth match against Juan Manuel Marquez that saw Manny being KO’d. Now, as he prepares for his latest trip to the ring, Pacquiao is saying that despite Roach’s earlier contrary statement, they remain coach and boxer.
ABS-CBN News reports that Manny Pacquiao has come on record to publicly deny that he had parted ways with Freddie Roach, who had been his coach for 15 years of championship boxing. This flies in the face of a statement Roach made last week, insinuating that the partnership with Manny will not continue in the face of his upcoming July encounter with Lucas Matthysse of Argentina in Kuala Lumpur. The 58-year-old Roach expressed disappointment at what he felt was a snub against him, though he adds that he takes solace in the time they worked together for over a decade.
This Monday, April 16, Pacquiao posted on Instagram a photo of himself and Roach in the middle of a training bout on the ring, with a caption debunking earlier statements in social media implying that Roach had been let go as his head coach. All he could say is that he has not made any final decision as to who will be in charge of his training for fighting Matthysse three months from now. This matter is being discussed between Manny and his personal advisor Mike Koncz, though the fighting Senator hopes to decide by the end of the week.
Observers have noted some politicking happening lately with the coaching and management staff of Team Pacquiao. Mike Koncz has been noted as being in favor of replacing Freddy Roach as Manny’s head coach with Buboy Fernandez, starting with the bout against Lucas Matthysse. Pacquiao also remarked that it was Koncz who was in communication with Roach and his associates during this time, and it may be miscommunication that led to the veteran coach assuming he had been sacked. Pacquiao however promises to inform Roach first and foremost once he has made his decision. Only then will the media be advised.
Pacquiao last fought in Brisbane July 2017, against Australian fighter Jeff Horn. His loss by unanimous decision cost Pacquiao the WBO welterweight title, which was at stake. His next opponent Matthysse has a 39-4 W-L record, with all but three of his wins by knockout. They clash on July 14.
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