FREDDIE Roach and Manny Pacquiao have yet to begin their eight-week training for the fight against Antonio ‘Tijuana Tornado’ Margarito at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
But the four-time Trainer of the Year is already confident that the outcome will be an all-too familiar sight: Margarito trying to engage Pacquiao into a slugfest in the early rounds before eventually going down.
“The tornado will be downsized to a tropical storm,” said Roach yesterday.
Roach was with the Fighter of the Decade yesterday at the Plenary Hall of the House of Representatives. He was warm enough to accept interviews, and then unleashed the line everybody wanted to hear.
“Margarito will go down in the eighth.”
Before that happens, though, the former three-time world welterweight champion will give Pacquiao a ‘very good fight’ in the first four rounds.
“But we will carry on the fight after that,” said Roach, who arrived Sunday morning here along with two middleweights hired to spar with the Filipino ring legend when Team Pacquiao starts formal training under the cool breeze of Baguio City on Thursday.
A trainer who always tries to exploit Pacquiao’s opponents’ bad habits, Roach said that Margarito is a “very durable” fighter. In the end, though, it will be the Filipino’s legendary speed and punching power that will spell the difference in the 12-round bout.
He said Pacquiao’s training will not interfere in the boxer’s legislative duties as representative of Sarangani which, Pacquiao said, needs all the assistance, being one of the country’s poorest provinces.
Roach said Pacquiao is always busy, doing something when not attending to his congressional duties or to the needs of his constituents.
Yesterday, he said Pacquiao trained for almost three hours before attending the congressional session.
Roach said he is also confident that a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather bout is still possible especially now that Mayweather is “financially in trouble.”
“Wherever I go in ther world, that seems to be what everyone wants to find out about this fight against Mayweather. I hope that fight happens as much as you do and hopefully, he gets him into more trouble here and there,” he said.
“Hopefully, he will be financially forced into a fight. Maybe he comes to his senses and realizes that the people of the world want to see them fight now than later. I hope he realizes that soon before it’s too late. We’re not gonna wait forever for him,” Roach added.
Roach said Mayweather is giving all the excuses because he is scared of Pacquiao but the fight between the two boxers could happen especially because of the financial problem that Mayweather is presently in.
“That’s one reason why he should fight Manny,” he said.
Asked on the possibility that a promoter could offer Mayweather a bigger purse than Pacquiao if only to realize a fight between them, Roach said it could be a “40-40” with the remaining 20 percent going to the winner.
“But it all depends on Bob Arum,” he said.
And if ever a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather materializes, Roach said it can only be held in the United States because the American will not agree to a bout outside of the US.
“He will always insist on Nevada. That is where he was born,” Roach added.
Meantime, Margarito is almost certain that he will make the catch weight of 151 pounds.
Trained and thoroughly supervised by a coach who also acts as chief cornerman of Nonito Donaire and Brian Viloria, Margarito is currently at an ideal weight of 159 pounds eight weeks before the year’s biggest bout that is also expected to generate record pay-per-view sales.
Robert “Grandpa’ Garcia, the man who handles
Margarito’s training, said in an interview that Margarito is perfectly on track meeting the catch weight without putting so much pressure on Margarito’s body.
“There’s a lot of distractions in boxing,” said Garcia. “The main thing is the weight. It’s a sport where they can’t afford to be gaining and losing all that weight in two months. Good thing about Margarito, the first thing I did was weigh him after training and he’s weighing 159. So he’s only got nine pounds to lose for his fight. That’s very good. It’s like a pound per week and that’s a great advantage.”
Garcia is one of the fast-rising coach-trainer in the sport. He is a former IBF super featherweight champion from Oxnard, California who shifted into coaching after retirement. He also trains Donaire and Viloria.
Garcia is expecting anytime soon the arrival in his gym of a Pacquiao ‘clone’ named Sergio Martinez. Martinez was a former welterweight fighter who moved up to the middleweight class, where he now holds the WBO and WBC crowns.
A southpaw, Martinez has a record of 45 wins, 24 by way of knockouts, two losses and two draws.
Margarito remains the overwhelming underdog. Online gamblers have already put up odds making Pacquiao a near 80 percent pick (an $800 bet wins $100), but those in the know do not see any valid reason why Margarito should be rated so low.
Raul Beltran & Zean Macamay, Journal Online