Manny Pacquiao has one big edge over Floyd Mayweather Jr. in their upcoming megafight on May 2, according to Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s Hall of Fame trainer. That advantage, Roach says, is in the training department. While the 55-year-old Roach himself has always been humble about his own considerable abilities as trainer, he is not shy about taking shots at his opposite number in major fights.
This time, Roach hammered Mayweather Jr.’s trainer in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, published Thursday.
“He stutters, has trouble staying calm and can’t get words out,” Roach said of his opponent in the corner.
But this time, the shots at his opposing trainer took on a more personal edge, because the trainer of Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the Manny Pacquiao fight is none other than Floyd Mayweather Sr.
Roach trained Oscar De La Hoya for the Golden Boy’s 2007 fight against Mayweather — a fight that saw Mayweather winning a split decision after dropping many of the early rounds as De La Hoya was able to control the fight with a precision left jab.
But Mayweather figured out how to neutralize De La Hoya’s jab as the fight wore on, and ended up with the victory. For that fight, Mayweather Jr. was trained not by his father — with whom he was engaged in a family feud at the time — but by his uncle, Roger Mayweather.
“Roger was the better fighter and he’s the better trainer,” Roach told the Times. “I’m happy Floyd Sr. is the trainer, not Roger. I’d be more worried with Roger than Floyd Sr.”
“When I had Oscar, Roger made some good adjustments during the fight and he had a good game plan, too. Roger is someone to compete with. Not Floyd Sr.”
In a separate interview with a TV network in Pacquiao’s native Philippines, Roach also accused the Mayweather camp of underhanded tactics to impede Pacquiao’s training for the fight. Roach accused Mayweather advisor Al Haymon — one of boxing’s most powerful behind-the-scenes kingmakers — of sabotaging Pacquiao’s sparring by stealing sparring partners.
“I’m hiring sparring partners, Al Haymon’s people calls them up and offers more money for them not to come,” Roach said in the interview, while adding, “I’m not worried about those guys.”
Roach said that despite the alleged meddling by the Mayweather camp, he has been able to secure quality sparring partners for Pacquiao.
“We got four really good sparring partners for Manny for this fight, Mayweather look-alikes,” said Roach. “We started our game plan five years ago but we changed it a little bit. Definitely there will be some adjustments. I’m confident that we’ll win the fight and this will be the biggest fight night of all our lives.”
Understandably, Freddie Roach predicts that Manny Pacquiao will defeat the undedeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2 — but outside of the Pacquiao camp, he doesn’t have much company in that view.
[Top Image: Chris Hyde/Getty Images, Interior Image: Jason Merritt/Getty Images]