On Saturday night in Arlington, Texas, we will find out if Team Pacquiao is honest or just a bunch of lying salesmen. In preparation of Manny Pacquiao’s fight with Antonio Margarito, trainer Freddie Roach (part of a controversy himself), has made it clear he’s been dissatisfied with Manny Pacquiao’s focus. In the first episode of HBO’s 24/7 series on the fight, Roach said that the time they spent in the Philippines prior to returning to LA was the worst training they ever had. Roach said he remembered times when Manny never missed a day of training, but this time around he was busy focusing on other things and even missed sessions.
Freddie even made another reference to Pacquiao’s lack of focus early in training during his pre-fight press conference. “A little bit of a different training camp this time. I think Manny spoils us. Usually he’s ready for a fight after three weeks of training. This time, it took us a little bit longer because Congressman Manny Pacquiao had his mind on congress a little bit too much in the Phillipines,” Roach said. “He missed his job and it was direct competition with boxing, but once we got on a plane ride home he assured me that he would get back and get focused. As soon as we got back to LA, the real Manny Pacquiao came back. Manny worked really hard for this fight.”
As for Manny, he took the opportunity to defend himself saying, “There is no problem about my training camp. The first two weeks in our training camp we had a problem because we were trying to gain weight, but the problem is I can’t move and my body feels so heavy and my speed’s gone. So I decided to maintain at 148 pounds, 147 to focus on speed.”
So, you buying any of the talk that Manny Pacquiao is unfocused or unprepared for this fight? Is any of it possible, or is it just a trick by Roach to help hype the fight and generate more fan interest? Count Antonio Margarito’s trainer, Robert Garcia, as one who thinks Freddie Roach is full of it: “This is just the stuff Freddie says to mess with our minds or hype up the fight a little.”
Manny’s win over Joshua Clottey was such a one-way beating maybe the promoters feel they have to generate more buzz by suggesting the fight will be closer than people expect. Hey, all I know is they have me somewhat curious, so the strategy must have worked.