By: Sean Crose
According to Freddie Roach, the legendary Manny Pacquiao has no interest in facing UFC superstar Conor McGregor in the boxing ring or anywhere else for that matter. “Manny does not have any interest in fighting an MMA fighter,” Roach, Pacquiao’s longtime trainer tells The Sun, “he wants to fight the best fighters (in boxing) out there.” This appears to be a new development, as the dueling legal actions involving Pacquiao and Paradigm Sports Management provide evidence the Filipino icon was ready, willing and able to face McGregor last fall when he signed with company. McGregor has lost twice in the octagon since that time, of course, and – now in his forties – Pacquiao doesn’t have all the time in the world to continue practicing his craft. In a sense, then, the lack of interest in a McGregor bout at this points makes sense.
Besides, Roach is busy preparing his fighter to face Errol Spence later this month. It will be quite a challenge, as Spence is younger, bigger, and extremely skilled. According to Roach, Pacquiao wouldn’t have it any other way. “If he can’t be at that level at boxing,” Roach says of his fighter, “then he doesn’t want to be boxing. He will retire and hopefully become president of his country.” Roach also indicates that Pacquiao may not return to the ring after the Spence fight in August. “If there is another fight after this,” he says, “it’s not going to be McGregor, it’s going to be one of the best guys out there.”
The truth is that Roach may want to be selective of who Pacquiao fights from here on out. He doesn’t want what should be an easy win for his fighter, but he has to be cautious of his aging star at the same time. Needless to say, Roach sees something about Spence that he thinks will work to Pacquiao’s advantage. “There’s a couple of guys I worry about,” Roach admits, “because they’re younger, they’re stronger and have very difficult styles.” Spence, however, doesn’t seem to be giving Roach any concern – at least not the kind Roach would make public. “But Spence,” he says, “I do like because he’s flat-footed, he’s heavy on his feet and he gets tired in the latter rounds.” Not that Roach feels Spence isn’t any kind of threat.
“He does have good power,” the trainer admits. “There is a couple fights out there we could fight, but Manny wants to fight the best guys out there.”
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