IT was hard to imagine Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach apart, living separate lives, no longer working together, no longer answering one another’s calls, and no longer texting each other funny videos and emoticons. But the good news is, now we don’t have to.
Apparently, Roach, a man in demand at present, has agreed to work Pacquiao’s corner for his upcoming fight against Adrien Broner in Las Vegas on January 19, and everything is back to normal again – well, kind of.
During his press tour this week, the 39-year-old Pacquiao revealed his plans to add former coach Roach to his corner team, and Roach has today also confirmed his return.
“Manny reached out directly. We sat together one on one. I’ll be in his corner January 19,” said Roach on Instagram. “We are all one team working together. We always have been.”
Roach, of course, trained Pacquiao for over 15 years and was key to helping the Filipino legend become an eight-division world champion.
He was absent, however, from Pacquiao’s corner in his most recent fight – a July win over Lucas Matthysse – and this small detail, as well as Roach’s claim he hadn’t even spoken to Pacquiao since his July 2017 loss to Jeff Horn, led to speculation the band had broken up, never to reform.
“Freddie is not young anymore. I feel pity for Freddie, praying for the healing of his sickness,” Pacquiao, 60-7-2 (39), explained this week.
“My thinking is, he can use Buboy (Fernandez) to do mitts in training, and just supervise and watch the training.”
By all accounts, Pacquiao will begin his training camp in the Philippines before relocating to Los Angeles on December 22.
And they all lived happily ever after.
It’s unusual to hear of a boxer leaving a training camp at high altitude in order to find somewhere a little easier on the lungs, but that’s exactly what Tyson Fury has chosen to do, switching from Big Bear to the Wild Card, ahead of his December 1 WBC world heavyweight title fight against Deontay Wilder.
Fury and his coach, Ben Davison, will no doubt have their reasons for doing so. Perhaps, in their view, the altitude training they did do was sufficient – job done – and relocating was the wise choice as training camp started to wind down. Perhaps a change of scenery was required.
Opponent Wilder, however, sees – or should that be hears? – only negatives.
“He could not handle the heat and the altitude,” the 33-year-old American said. “He was so high up over there that he could not breathe.
“I have trained in Colorado and it’s similar, you cannot breathe up there. I lived, ran and sparred up there and it was hard when you are not used to it.
“That is why he has had to come down to sea level to have the best chance in this fight. Just being up there for two weeks isn’t going to be enough time to prepare for me. Either you have stamina, or you don’t.
“Most guys go to Big Bear to get their lungs to expand so that when they go back down to sea level they can breathe differently.”
Given the vast distance separating the two heavyweights, it’s surprising to hear Wilder knows so much about Fury’s whereabouts and the decisions behind moving from one location to another.
Then again, mind games and machinations are by now as synonymous with heavyweight boxing as knockouts and muffin tops.
“It’s funny, everything he has done or is doing, I have known about,” admitted Wilder. “He is in my country. I have eyes and ears everywhere.
“I have friends all over the world and when people love you, they love you and they go all the way for you.
“Once you connect with one person, they help you connect with others. Then you just have to wait for a phone call.”
For now, it’s all about eyes and ears. Next Saturday, though, the emphasis shifts to left and right fists and it’s in this domain Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder truly come alive (and breathe, and feel free, and feel at home).