HALL OF FAME trainer Freddie Roach has revealed Manny Pacquiao will “definitely” fight Terence Crawford, though does not want it to happen in November.
The Filipino icon will end his short-lived retirement on November 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, but an opponent has not yet been finalised.
Crawford made himself the frontrunner by dominating Viktor Postol – who Roach also trains – to unify the WBO and WBC super-lightweight titles.
“I always said he would fight again. Right after his last fight we spoke about it and he said he would most likely fight again. He still has a lot left,” Roach told Boxing News.
“At the moment everyone is mentioning Terence Crawford but I don’t like that fight for November. Almost the entire training camp would be in the Philippines, we wouldn’t be able to fly back to the States until 12 days before the fight.
“We’ll also be training in the evenings because Manny will be working in the senate all day, so it won’t be the best camp. Crawford is a great athlete and I wouldn’t want Manny going into that fight if he’s not 100 per cent. I want the November fight to be more of a warm up fight and then for Manny to fight again shortly after – I want it to be a two fight deal.”
Pacquiao’s responsibilities in congress mean his boxing career can only continue at certain times – the November 5 date falls in the window when congress is in recess, however Manny would have to fit his training alongside his political work in the weeks and months leading up to the fight.
Though he has been fighting at welterweight, Pacquiao can still make 140lbs fairly easily, which is likely to be the weight he fights Crawford at. The other two names reportedly in the running to face Pacquiao are welterweight world champions Jessie Vargas and Danny Garcia.
Roach hasn’t discussed weight with Pacquiao yet, though would preferably have him box at welterweight in November.
“I’m not sure what weight Manny will fight at, I’ve not spoken to him about it yet but it could be 140, he walks around at about 142 anyway,” he said.
“But he likes to have breakfast and lunch on the day of a weigh-in [laughs] so maybe it’ll be 147. Plus he’s a much nicer guy at that weight [laughs]. But the November fight could be at 147 and then after that he could drop to 140, that wouldn’t be a problem.
“In November, I’d like it to be one of the two other guys mentioned, Danny Garcia or Jessie Vargas. Garcia would be my top pick but I’m not sure it can be made so I think it’ll be Vargas. I don’t mind it being one of those guys in November but Crawford is much better than them so I wouldn’t want Manny to jump straight into that. I think they should build the fight more, maybe put them both on the same show.”
Crawford dazzled against Postol, twice dropping the Ukrainian to earn a lopsided decision. Roach was impressed by the Omaha switch-hitter, but is confident Pacquiao has the beating of him.
“For sure, the Crawford fight will definitely happen. It’s a good fight but like I said, I want Manny to have one fight first and then fight Crawford,” he said.
“Crawford’s a great athlete, we weren’t expecting him to fight the way he did against Postol. Obviously it’s disappointing to lose but Viktor tried everything he could – he kept saying sorry to me afterwards and I told him ‘don’t be sorry, you did all you could.’
“I’m not sure he’ll be able to box like that against Manny, it won’t be a problem if he does it’s just a pain in the ass tracking someone down all the time.”