By: Sean Crose
“I know he trains all the time,” famed coach Freddie Roach told FightHub TV. “He sends me tapes all the time.” Roach was referring to a report that his most famous fighter, Manny Pacquiao, is back in training, a report that’s being interpreted as Pacquiao preparing to get in the ring with rising star Ryan Garcia. “It’s not like he’s training just for this fight,” Roach added. Still, Roach appears in the seven plus minute video to be receptive to a Pacquiao-Garcia match. “The Garcia fight? I really like that fight…Manny’s got to be careful with him a little bit and be smart…I would like to see it.”
Recent reports made it appear that the fight between the forty something Pacquiao and the far younger Garcia might be closing on on getting done. Although the talk certainly hasn’t died away, any sense of certainty has definitely diminished as time as gone on. “Nobody seems to know where and when,” Roach said of the potential fight with Garcia. “I’d like it to be in front of a lot of people. I would like to see boxing back to what it was.” Not that such a thing is apt to happen anytime soon. “I don’t think it’s going to end for a long time,” Roach said later in the interview. “I believe it will be a while.”
Being beyond the point of what most would consider to be over the hill, Pacquiao has amazed fans and analysts with a late career surge. Names like Keith Thurman and Adrien Broner, once considered the rising generation sure to replace men like Pacquiao, have now been bested by the Filipino senator. Still, Covid has sent the sport – along with the entire world – into a tailspin, a tailspin that has led some fighters to arguably lose a step. “Manny’s 42 now, 43,” said Roach, “and it might be a good time to catch him.”
That might be good news for fans of the undefeated 22 year old Garcia, for many don’t think he’s ready to face a fighter of Pacqiuao’s skill level. Roach, though, seems to prefer having his man face Garcia than the likes of current fight kingpins Terence Crawford and Errol Spence. “I’d like to go with Ryan first,” he admitted. “There’s certain guys get older, they get a little slower and so forth.” Garcia, Roach believes, might be the right opponent at the right time. “I think it will be a great fight (for Pacquiao) to get ready for them,” he added. Not that Roach feels Garcia is a slouch. “He comes to my gym a lot,” he said of the up an coming lightweight. “He’s a good fighter.”
“We definitely have to be in the best shape to beat him,” he added.