GRAPEVINE, Texas -- From the day he collected his first boxing paycheck,
But Roach is keenly aware that one of his responsibilities as Pacquiao's boxing guide is to say no. No to the late-night karaoke sessions that sap Pacquiao's energy during training camp. No to the idea that the bulk of camp should be held in the Philippines, where Pacquiao is part Springsteen, part Obama and more popular than both. No to a fight with junior middleweight champion
But Roach's most important rejection is the one he has yet to give. No, Roach will soon say to Pacquiao. No, you should fight no more.
It seems ludicrous to even suggest that the clock on Pacquiao's career might be ticking toward termination. It was just four months ago that Pacquiao, 31, was in the ring brutalizing an overwhelmed
Roach knows why. He only has to look in the mirror. The Parkinson's disease that eats away at his body is a direct result of Roach's decision to stay too long at the fair. Nearly a quarter century earlier his own trainer,
Roach's response: You retire, Eddie.
It's a challenge persuading a fighter to retire. When Roach told
"It's a hard thing when a coach tells you to quit," Roach said.
His talk with Pacquiao won't happen after Saturday night, when the Filipino defends his WBO welterweight title against
"It's a tough fight, but I don't think it's a tougher fight than Cotto," Roach said. "I think Cotto is a more versatile fighter and has more tools. This guy does the same thing over and over again. He's not too versatile.
"I don't think this fight will take [Pacquiao] to a higher level because we all know [Clottey] is a good fighter but the general public doesn't know Clottey," Roach continued. "They know he lost to Cotto so they view him in a different light. People will say Manny is supposed to beat him. That's always going to happen in sports."
Roach knows there is only one fight out there that will elevate Pacquiao to a new level:
"I won't say it's an easy fight for Manny," Roach said. "But I think we can make it look easy."
He wants that fight for Pacquiao. For the challenge. For the prestige.
And then he wants him to retire.
"This fight and Mayweather and be done with it," Roach said. "There are no more challenges out there. I know there are some fights, but will the general public really want to buy that? I'd like to see him go out on top and not be one of those cases that stayed too long. Manny has things to fall back on that others don't. He's an actor, a singer, he's running for Congress. Why is
These are the points Roach will lay out when the time comes. He knows it won't be an easy conversation, not with Pacquiao's leeches hardly eager for the gravy train to stop running. But he hopes Pacquiao will listen because he, like always, only has his best interests at heart.
"People ask me, 'Why would you want the guy you make the most money off to quit?' " Roach said. "We've done well with each other. I'd rather see him quit than go on after Mayweather. It's more important to me that he has a long and healthy life when this thing is over."