Freddie Roach recalls how hands of fate gave the world Manny Pacquiao
Trainer Freddie Roach recently gave Manny Pacquiao the ultimate compliment when labeling the Filipino Senator his version of the great Muhammad Ali.
Roach, discussing how the pair got together ahead of their latest outing against Errol Spence on August 21, stated he began training fighters to find that someone special.
Manny Pacquiao was that boxer.
“I opened up Wild Card in hopes that one day a new Muhammad Ali would walk in looking for a trainer. And then, in 2001, he did,” said Roach. “Only he was nearly a foot shorter, weighed 122 pounds, and spoke very little English.
“I remember the first time we met. He came in looking for a trainer to work the mitts, and after the first round, I went back to my corner and said, this guy is sensational.
“We have a new fighter.”
MANNY PACQUIAO – MGM GRAND
On their first bout together at the MGM Grand, Roach added: “Soon Manny gets the call offering him the Ledwaba fight.
“He was getting ready to go back to the Philippines. If that call comes a day later, Manny misses out on that fight.
“We trained for two weeks, and every day, I’m falling more and more in love with his boxing skills and power. He was that good.
“So now it’s fight week, and I’m going to every casino trying to lay a bet on Manny. Unfortunately, the fight was considered such a mismatch that no casino would post odds on it.
“The guys at Top Rank were really giving me the business, saying that Manny didn’t stand a chance, and I’m trying to convince them that Manny is going to do a number on Ledwaba.
“Top Rank was promoting the show, and Manny’s fight was the co-main event to Oscar De La Hoya vs. Javier Castillejo, and Ledwaba was considered the class of the division.
“Manny jumped on Ledwaba from the start and finished him in the sixth round. It was brutal.
“But what a night. I remember we all went to dinner to celebrate at some small restaurant near the MGM Grand.
!Manny and I went from strangers to a world championship team in about two weeks. It sounds like a movie, doesn’t it?”