Manny Pacquiao has been preparing to face Brandon Rios for weeks. His training is about to come to an end with the fight set for Saturday in Macau, China.
As he gets ready for his first fight in almost a year, Pacquiao has been working with longtime trainer Freddie Roach. The two first joined forces in 2001 when Pac-Man defeated Lehlo Ledwaba for the IBF junior featherweight championship. Since then, Roach has been essential to the boxer’s success.
"As a trainer Freddie inspires me to be the best I can be inside the gym and inside the ring,” Pacquiao said of Roach, courtesy of HBO. “He is a wonderful teacher. The way he lives his life and faces his affliction inspires me personally and spiritually.”
Pacquiao has achieved an incredible amount of success in his career. At just 34 years old, he’s won 54 fights, while setting a record by winning titles in eight different weight divisions. However, the boxer appears as motivated as ever for his next fight. Pacquiao hopes to defeat Rios and prove that he’s still at the top of the sport, following consecutives losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. Perhaps his greatest motivation, though, is wanting to win for his trainer.
"At various times Freddie has been a father and a brother to me. When I needed advice or assistance he always came through for me, either personally or by setting me up with the right people. He has been such a big influence on me and he has had a great impact on my life and my career.”
"Freddie Roach has been good for my soul. He has been a blessing. I never want to let Master Freddie down and I will always pray for him."
Roach has been very outspoken about Pacquiao’s chances, all but guaranteeing a win against Rios. He has voiced his concerns about what a possible loss would do to his client’s career. A defeat for Pacquiao would be three in a row, and prior to the current losing streak, Pacquiao hadn’t lost since 2005. If Pac-Man comes up short once again, Roach will advise him to call it quits.
"It's really hard to say until we see the fight, but I will be the first one to tell him to retire," Roach said in a teleconference Wednesday. "We have an agreement that as soon as I tell him that, he will retire."
Just days before the fight, Roach has been making headlines of his own. On Wednesday, a verbal altercation between him and Rios’s coaches turned physical. The two camps got into a dispute over training times at the gym in the Venetian Resort Hotel, where Saturday’s fight bout will take place.