When Manny Pacquiao abruptly announced that he would be working with Freddie Roach for his upcoming fight with Adrien Broner, it took the boxing world by surprise—including Roach.

By Chris Mannix
November 20, 2018

When Manny Pacquiao abruptly announced that he would be working with Freddie Roach for his upcoming fight with Adrien Broner, it took the boxing world by surprise—including Roach. Roach, the Hall of Fame trainer who transformed Pacquiao into one of the most fearsome fighters of this century, told SI.com he had no contact with Pacquiao or anyone with his team prior to the announcement and says he is undecided if he is willing to work with Pacquiao again.

“The thing is, I still have never directly spoken to Manny [since Pacquiao lost to Jeff Horn in 2017],” Roach told SI.com. “I’m not going to make a move until Manny calls me. I’ve been like a father to Manny for 15 years. If he can’t call me, there will be no deal.”

On Monday, at a press conference to promote Pacquiao’s defense of a secondary welterweight title against Broner, Pacquiao told reporters that Roach would return to his team in a supervisory role.

For his last fight, a knockout win over Lucas Matthysse, Pacquiao was trained by his longtime friend and assistant trainer, Buboy Fernandez.

“Me and Freddie, we have a good relationship since 2001,” Pacquiao said. “We don’t have problems in terms of training, sharing our knowledge about strategy, techniques in training. We don’t have problems with that.”

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In addressing why Roach would not be his head trainer, Pacquiao cited Roach’s health.

“Buboy and Freddie, they’re a team,” Pacquiao said. “Buboy is always there. He has experience, many fights with Freddie. So I think Freddie can instruct Buboy to do something like that. Because, you know, Freddie’s not young anymore and I’m, you know, I feel pitiful with Freddie. I’m praying for him, for the healing of his sickness. My plan, my thinking is he can use Buboy to do mitts in training, supervise and watch the training, like that.”

Roach, 58, has battled Parkinson’s disease since he was 27. Roach, though, rarely misses a day of training in his Wild Card gym in Hollywood, Calif., and travels the country regularly to work with young fighters. Roach was in Boston last weekend, working the corner for light heavyweight Israel Duffus in a club show. He was also recently added to Tyson Fury’s corner for Fury’s anticipated showdown with heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder.

On Monday, Roach received a call from Joe Ramos, the COO of Manny Pacquiao Promotions. Ramos, Roach said, broached the idea of returning to Pacquaio’s team.

Roach ended the call, quickly.

“I’m not talking to Joe Ramos,” Roach told SI.com. “Joe Ramos knows nothing about boxing. I thought Joe was the coach of [Pacquiao’s] basketball team. I don’t want to talk to Joe Ramos. I want to talk to Manny.”

While Roach is frustrated by Pacquiao’s declaration that the two would be working together again—as well as Pacquiao’s refusal to speak to him for well over a year—he says he is open to working something out.

“I’d have to hear what the details are,” Roach said. “You never know who it is coming from when you hear from his camp. I’d have to hear what he wants me to do, what he wants Buboy to do. Am I supposed to train him? Am I supposed to come up with the game plan? He has to tell me, or I won’t be there.”

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Eagle (-2)
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