Boxing Writers Association of America seven-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach said that Manny Pacquiao would be the ‘King of the Ring’ after his mega fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“He is going to be the king of the ring on May 2,” Roach told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Monday. “I believe strongly that Manny will knock Floyd out although Manny needs to fight the perfect fight. I do believe [Manny will win] but it won’t be easy.”
Roach also refused to name the other sparring partners of Pacquiao besides Kenneth Sim Jr. and Rashidi Ellis. “I would rather not discuss that right now.”
Mayweather is also undergoing rigid training and sparring in his gym in Las Vegas. Among his sparring partners is Zab Judah whom he beat via unanimous decision in 2006.
Roach was not bothered by the report that Mayweather knocked out the southpaw Judah in a recent sparring session, “We have our own game plan. Now it is about execution and we work on that every day, six days a week. Manny is so disciplined and self-motivated that I don’t have to do anything special to prepare him mentally.”
Roach said that their strategy includes ways of countering Mayweather’s style and even possible dirty tactics, “We are preparing for everything Floyd does,” added Roach. “Manny has looked at tapes of Floyd’s fights and I am studying them nightly with an expert consultant. Manny will be ready.”
“The only way to prepare for a test is to do your homework and study hard. Manny is the best student I have ever taught. He will be ready to counter anything Floyd presents.”
He also praised the Saranggani lawmaker for working so hard in the first two weeks of his training at the Wild Card Gym under assistant trainers Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri as well as strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune.
“Manny has been on fire in the gym. He is in great condition and willing to do anything I ask of him,” said Roach. “I was very pleased with his sparring sessions. This has been a great training camp.”
Manila-born ex-NFLer Tebow pays Pacquiao visit
Meanwhile, Pacquiao received a visit from Manila-born former National Football League (NFL) quarterback Tim Tebow for a weekend workout session.
Tebow watched Pacquiao train for nearly three hours on Saturday, including seven rounds of sparring and eight rounds of punching into mitts at the Wild Card gym of Roach.
“It was the first time they had ever met and yet it seemed they had known each other forever the way they immediately embraced each other,” promoter Bob Arum said.
Pacquiao, 57-5 with two draws and 38 knockouts, will meet Mayweather, 47-0 with 26 knockouts, on May 2 in Las Vegas for a bout expected to shatter boxing revenue record.
Tebow, born to Baptist missionaries in the Philippines in 1987, went from unknown backup to NFL star when he sparked the Denver Broncos into the 2011 NFL playoffs. He later played for the New York Jets and recently tried out for the Philadelphia Eagles despite missing the past two NFL campaigns.
Tebow, who will open a hospital in the Philippines on May 1, is also famed for his kneeling celebration known as Tebowing.
While Roach normally dislikes any distractions in Pacqiuao’s training routine, Tebow was a welcomed disruption. Both athletes are Evangelical Christians.
“It was an unbelievable scene,” Roach said. “Tim Tebow is a great competitor, a standup guy who embraces his responsibility for being a good role model. He and Manny shared a lot. It was terrific.”
With report from AFP