Philippine Daily Inquirer

Paging Sen. Pacquiao: Mr. Roach calling, calling

- RECAH TRINIDAD

In a report by the eminent Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, it was asked if Freddie Roach has been fired as trainer of Filipino world boxing legend Manny Pacquiao.

The same report wondered if Pacquiao’s boyhood ally and longtime Roach deputy Buboy Fernandez has been promoted to full-time trainer.

Needless to say, the Hall-of-Fame boxing coach chiefly credited with charting Pacquiao’s path to boxing superstard­om is at a loss.

———— Roach told Pugmire he has called Pacquiao at least five times. He got no reply.

Maybe he has changed his phone number? Roach won- dered.

Pacquiao was last seen with Roach in Brisbane last July. The scene was inside the dugout, after Pacquiao had lost his WBO welterweig­ht crown to Australian Jeff Horn.

———— Based on an eyewitness account, the two prominent world boxing figures failed to communicat­e.

Roach was left to cool his heels, while Pacquiao busied himself in front of the mirror, attending to his hairdo.

It was a very awkward situation for both.

———— It took long, but the rift was more or less confirmed following Roach’s claim of Pacquiao’s continued disregard.

Veteran promoter Bob Arum, and all those involved with the Pacquiao career, have remained puzzled.

Did this start with Roach’s obvious mishandlin­g of the cru- cial situation when he kept calling for a knockout in the championsh­ip rounds against Horn?

———— So who faulted? Pacquiao would cry he had been set up following the monumental upset by Horn.

There were claims Roach failed to demand attention from the fight referee while Horn proceeded to foul and manhandle Pacquiao during the championsh­ip.

———— There was nothing clear. But there’s a big possibilit­y Pacquiao would not be seeing action in the April 14 card Top Rank has prepared for him.

Pacquiao has not communicat­ed with Arum after it was an- nounced he has been billed to fight former world champion Mike Alvarado. Pacquiao had said he would rather clash with Argentine punching machine Lucas Matthysse, reigning WBA welterweig­ht champion.

Top Rank announced Arum might end up tapping IBF super flyweight Jerwin Ancajas to fight in the cofeature to the Horn title defense against the unbeaten sensation Terence Crawford.

Latest word from the Pacquiao camp said the fighting senator will not fight in the Arum April 14 card. Pacquiao’s office said the eight-division world title winner finds it “insulting” to fight in a non-headlining event.

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