Famed trainer Freddie Roach was in New York on Wednesday at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel for a four-city press tour promoting Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez. While promoting the fight, which is set for Nov. 21 in Las Vegas, the trainer addressed Manny Pacquiao’s shoulder injury and who he thinks the boxer should fight next.
Because Pacquiao was injured for his May 2 mega-bout with Mayweather, requiring surgery that will keep him out for the rest of 2015, Roach has consistently stated that the top two welterweights should have a rematch after the Filipino icon recovers. But Roach suggested to International Business Times that Pacquiao could perhaps use a tune-up match before stepping into the ring again with Mayweather.
“I want Danny Garcia, but I’d like to see that as maybe the first fight back to make sure everything is O.K.,” Roach said.
“I talked to Manny. His shoulder is feeling better. I talked to the doctor that’s helping him out in [Pacquiao’s hometown] General Santos. They say he’s doing well.”
Roach said Pacquiao can come back from the injury in three to six months, leaving the door open for Pacquiao’s return match in the first half of 2016. A fight in May would give Pacquiao a year of recovery time, which was the estimated timetable when he had the surgery.
Garcia has a 31-0 career record, knocking out Paulie Malignaggi on Aug. 1 in his first bout as a welterweight. The undefeated boxer might seem like an unlikely opponent for a tune-up fight, but Roach believes Pacquiao would have an easy time defeating Garcia.
While Garcia has said he welcomes a fight with Pacquiao, one might not be realistic. Top Rank, who represent Pacquiao, and promoter Al Haymon, who represents Garcia, had a tough enough time coming together to make Mayweather vs. Pacquiao a reality, and that fight brought in $600 million. Considering Pacquiao-Garcia wouldn’t be nearly as profitable and Top Rank is suing Haymon for more than $100 million, it’s hard to believe that Roach will get his wish.
Garcia, 27, has moved up the ranks in recent months with more prominent fights. He discussed a possible Pacquiao fight this week.
“Two years ago I would have said that a fight between me and any Top Rank fighter is impossible, but ever since the Mayweather and Pacquiao fight got made, I feel like any fight can get made now. But it kind of switched again because Top Rank was kind of trying to sue Al Haymon,” Garcia told thaboxingvoice.com. “I don’t know how that’s going to really work because Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was one of the biggest fights in a long time, and that fight made so much money. So for Top Rank to try and sue Al Haymon doesn’t make any sense to me because he just gave you the biggest fight in years, so I don’t really know. But as far me fighting him, I’m ready.”
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is interested in having Pacquiao fight Amir Khan, though Roach believes a bout with Garcia would make for a more exciting fight.
If Pacquiao has a tune-up fight with Garcia or anyone else in the first part of 2016, that means a rematch with Mayweather could not happen for close to another year. Mayweather is set to face Andre Berto on Sept. 12, and with his Showtime contract coming to a close, the 38-year-old says he plans to retire.
But not everyone in the boxing world is convinced Mayweather will actually call it a career just yet. Berto is not considered to be a top welterweight, and Mayweather could be biding his time with a lesser opponent until he’s ready to have another big fight.
It might not be easy for Mayweather to walk away from boxing, as he’s set to make at least $35 million against Berto. Facing Pacquiao for a second time wouldn’t earn him at least $220 million like it did a few months ago, but it would offer him a payday no other boxer in history has ever received.