Freddie Roach: Manny needs to be careful and smart vs young Garcia

Published February 15, 2021, 9:58 PM

by Carlo Anolin

In this file photo, Manny Pacquiao, right, trains with coach Freddie Roach. (Top Rank Images)

Coach Freddie Roach would love to see Manny Pacquiao in the boxing ring again against undefeated American youngster Ryan Garcia.

But the veteran trainer is not about to underestimate the 22-year-old Garcia, who holds the interim WBC lightweight champion.

“[The] Garcia fight? I really like that fight. I think he’s a good fighter. He’s got very good left hook,” Roach told Fight Hub TV in a video posted on YouTube Monday, Feb. 15. “He can punch a little bit. You got to be careful with him. And that’s the key to Manny. Manny’s gotta be careful with him a little and be smart. To beat this guy, you have to do not just the ordinary things.

“He has a terrific left hook. He puts people right in their a__ with it. He swings a little with his left hook, if you think he’s out of range and he takes that distance up very, very quickly and he does with his left hook and that power, you have to be careful with him. It’s not an easy fight for anybody, even Manny.”

The 60-year-old Roach bared that Pacquiao has been sending him videotapes of his training as the eight-division world champion recently announced on social media that “training camp has begun.”

As much as possible though, the American trainer wants the match to be held in a bigger audience, which is unlikely given the global situation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, several reports circulated stating that Pacquiao might make a comeback in Saudi Arabia, but obviously has not come into fruition as more boxers continue to line up in his long list of challengers.

“I’d like it to be in front of a lot of people. I would like to see boxing back to what it was and I just kind of pray for that every day,” added Roach, hoping that the Filipino boxer-turned-senator scales down to either super lightweight/junior welterweight (140 lb) or lightweight (135).

Asked if Pacquiao can still unleash his classic explosiveness,  Roach has a candid answer backed with the video clips as evidence.

Read: Erik Morales: Pacquiao ‘can put Ryan to bed’ in two rounds

“Where’s Manny right now? Is he so into politics in his country — can he still fight like he used to? And I will say this: With the tapes he sent to me? Yes, he can. He works his a__ off every day, still every day. He just wanted to send me tapes to let me know he’s training and I like that.”

Pacquiao (62-7-2 39 KOs), who was recently named “champion in recess” by the WBA, has not fought since scoring a split decision win over Keith Thurman in July 2019 to capture the super welterweight belt while Garcia (21-0 18 KOs) stunned Luke Campbell in early January for the interim WBC lightweight title.