Why did Manny and Fred­die split?

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Prime Sports - BY JOHN Z. PAGES MATCH POINT

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

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