In a matchup that boxing fans around the world have been waiting for years to become reality, legendary Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao will take on American legend Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on May 2. Now training coach Freddie Roach had a few comments on Mayweather that have been interpreted as fighting words.
According to Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, Roach, who has been training Pacquiao for many years, was named trainer of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America for the seventh time. He took some jabs at Floyd Mayweather Sr., the American's father, about their fight strategy.
"I've watched [Mayweather Sr.] in the corner," Roach said. "He stutters, has trouble staying calm and can't get words out."
Pugmire noted that Roach also commented on Mayweather's family, adding that his uncle, Roger Mayweather, provided better training than his father.
"Roger was the better fighter and he's the better trainer," Roach said. "I'm happy Floyd Sr. is the trainer, not Roger. I'd be more worried with Roger than Floyd Sr.
Roach stood by his analysis, citing a time when he trained Oscar De La Hoya in a fight against Roger back in 2007. Pugmire reported that De La Hoya lost that fight by split decision.
"When I had Oscar [De La Hoya fight Mayweather Jr.], Roger made some good adjustments during the fight and he had a good game plan, too," Roach said. "Roger is someone to compete with. Not Floyd Sr."
However, Pugmire reported that Roach did have good things to say about Mayweather Jr. in regards to his fighting style, despite the fact the legendary boxing trainer is behind Pacquiao 100 percent.
"Floyd is a self-made fighter, there's no question he knows how to fight, but, yes, I think I have the fighter to beat him," Roach said. "Floyd Jr., in watching him, often makes the same moves over and over."
According to Roach, Mayweather had "good moves" and "knows how to survive" in the boxing ring. However, he thought the American's boxing methods were "predictable."
"Once we really start working on the fight, I believe we can hit him," Roach said. "Manny doesn't have the same jab as Oscar, but Manny can jab in this fight and I believe he'll be able to get to Floyd."
Roach admitted to the Los Angeles Times that there is one method from Mayweather that could potentially challenge the pound-for-pound Filipino boxing champ.
"Anything more than a two-punch combination is hard to get through, because Floyd will hit you back," Roach said. "You don't want to stay in the pocket too long."
According to the Associated Press, Roach made those comments from Macau, where he is training Zou Shiming of China in an upcoming title fight. The training coach, who will return to Los Angeles on Sunday, contended that he and Manny will fight to win in this matchup.
"Floyd is so disrespectful," Roach said by phone from China. "Manny is the perfect role model for this fight and Mayweather is not. I told Manny we've got to beat him for the whole world. There's no way we can't win this fight."
Roach even thought that Mayweather had more to lose from the upcoming fight as opposed to Pacquiao.
"He's so crazy about that zero," Roach said in reference to Mayweather's boxing record. "For Manny, that's not the end of the world."
According to the Associated Press, Roach played a huge part in making this historic matchup possible. That's because he was able to bring promoter Bob Arum and CBS chairman Les Moonves together for talks.
Neither Mayweather nor his camp has yet responded to any of Roach's comments. In the meantime, the Associated Press reported that Pacquiao and Roach may "have a higher calling than just winning a fight."
"Manny will be performing a public service for boxing when he beats Floyd," Roach said.
The boxing matchup between Pacquiao and Mayweather is scheduled to take place at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. ET on HBO pay-per-view. A subscription is required, but online viewers will be able to stream the game on the TopRank.TV website when it happens.