Why did Manny and Freddie split?
THEY’VE been together since 2001. Like Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan, or Angelo Dundee and Muhammad Ali, they’ve been inseparable.
Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach have formed a bond that’s as lethal as his combination left and right hooks; they’ve amassed tens of millions in earnings, world titles overflowing; they’re a father-and-son tandem.
It started 17 years ago. Pacquiao, then unknown but sporting a record of 32 wins (and two losses), visited Los Angeles.
He was looking for a trainer. Nobody in America said yes — not until he set foot inside the Wild Card Gym and Roach felt that painful barrage of bullets pummeling his mitts.
The Pacquiao-Roach duo’s first test was when the lefty was called (with two weeks notice) as a replacement fighter against Lehlohonolo Ledwaba.
Pacquiao won the IBF super bantamweight belt. He won and won and never stopped winning.
For 33 fights from 2001 until July last year during MP’s loss to Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Frederick Steven Roach was beside Manny.
Not anymore. Not this July 15 when the senator fights Lucas Matthysse in Malaysia. What happened? Was it about money? That choosing Manny’s best friend Buboy Fernandez will be less of a coaching expense? Nah. Manny’s got billions.
Was it a case of Manny simply wanting a change? Like Novak Djokovic choosing Andre Agassi (though that’s been aborted) or Tim Cone leaving Alaska in 2011 after 22 years with Fred Uytengsu, seeking change when you’re losing is common.
Is this the reason? Yes, partly. It may have been that Roach’s latest words had insulted Pacquiao. Here are some of Roach’s verbal shots: Less than six weeks prior to fighting Horn, Roach said this to the press: “We are far behind. Those five rounds of sparring were the worst I have seen him spar.” Then, after the loss, Roach added: “Fight a rematch with Horn, otherwise retire… Fighters get old overnight, he did okay in the fight, but just okay, and just okay isn’t good enough.”
Ouch. Did those bother Manny? No wonder MP did not speak to his trainer days (or