Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach is letting go – albeit with a heavy heart – of the finest fighter who entered the hallowed confines of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.
Roach said on Thursday that Manny Pacquiao’s decision to hang it up after a 15-year partnership as master and student will be hard, or nearly impossible to duplicate, as the renowned cornerman paid tribute to the Filipino’s exemplary career.
“He’ll be remembered as the greatest fighter of his era…the greatest fighter of my life,” said Roach as the two-city promotional tour came to a close with the second press conference held at Madison Square Garden.
Pacquiao is facing Tim Bradley for the third time on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas where he will stage his swan song so he can fully dedicate his time to public service.
Roach, who also prospered as Pacquiao blossomed into a legitimate star, admits he is saddened by his departure.
“I am sad that this is going to be his last fight,” said Roach, who turns 56 on March 5.
But Roach understands where Pacquiao is coming from, saying that it wouldn’t be fair if Pacquiao continues to box if he is already a member of the Senate.
“It’s hard to be a senator and a fighter at the same time. That’s a lot more responsibilities than a congressman. There’s just going to be too much on his plate, (once he gets to the Senate)” said Roach, who expects Pacquiao to be “at his best” in his farewell fight.
“I think Manny’s going to knock him out this time because he’s the one who brought this up and not me.”
Still, Roach remains wary of Bradley as he will be getting pointers from a new trainer in Teddy Atlas, a tactical genius and great motivator.
It was Atlas who is being credited for turning Bradley into a finisher following his dominant performance against Brandon Rios, the Mexican-American slugger who Pacquiao failed to put away when they fought in 2013 in Macau.
But Bradley did what Pacquiao could not, knocking out Rios with a body shot in their duel late last year, prompting Top Rank head Bob Arum to drumbeat Bradley as a “better version.”
Courtesy of Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSpeaks