Roach reiterates belief Pacquiao is in his prime: ‘He’s the best I’ve ever seen him’

2 Nov

Robert Delgado – Los Angeles

The final installment of a historic boxing trilogy with Juan Manuel Marquez appears to have motivated WBO welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao to the extent that the work he is producing during training camp at the Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood, California, has left his head second Freddie Roach convinced that the Filipino is in the prime of his life.

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Credit: Stacey Verbeek - Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas

In Pacquiao’s most recent outing, a 12 round decision win over Shane Mosley, there was no trash-talk during the fight’s promotion and, at the pre-fight press conference, both prizefighters even mentioned their respect for the other – statements that were validated in the ring when they touched gloves on numerous occasions.

Even though Pacquiao secured a near shut-out victory, his performance was insipid. However, his second contest of the calender year, set for Saturday, November 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, could see a return to the Manny of old… the one who pulverised Antonio Margarito’s orbital bone, who forced Miguel Cotto into retreat and then submission, who laid British star Ricky Hatton out cold and unconscious on the canvas, who retired Oscar de la Hoya and – of course – who endured 24 rounds of hell with familiar foe Marquez.

It is that very Marquez, that battle-hardened Mexican… that champion of three weight classes and the current numero uno at 135lbs, who has Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38ko) so inspired in training that he has a lucid and fervent desire to produce a boxing clinic come fight night. Sporting T-shirts in his native Philippines with the statements that it was he who trumped Pacman in both the 2004 and 2008 contests despite the record books indicating a draw and split decision in favour of Manny, have only added to Pacquiao’s internal fire and, if he ever needed a constant reminder to give an extra percent, Marquez’s face has even been postered to the speed-bags at the Wildcard.

All this motivation has produced one fired-up Pacquiao, as coach Roach validated: “Manny did 14 rounds on the mitts – explosive,” he said, indicating that it is his charge whose fuse has been lit despite Marquez possessing the Dinamita moniker. “[It is] the best I’ve ever seen him; [he] put on a show.”

Pacquiao’s honours roll is so extensive that it is a tough task to highlight a specific year as the pugilist’s prime but, according to the man who knows his career and form the best, the 32-year-old’s third punch-up with Marquez could emulate anything he produced against Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003, Erik Morales in 2006 or de la Hoya in 2008.

The rivalry is so fierce that Marquez, too, has one goal, to claim what he believes will be his third victory over his long-time enemy. A pound-for-pound mainstay, Marquez (53-5-1, 39ko) has enjoyed an illustrious career that has included many notable scalps: Manuel Medina, Orlando Salido, Barrera and Juan Diaz all fortified his status as an Aztec warrior and a sweet scientist.

However, despite all that, the Mexico City man cannot help but look at Pacquiao –  a guaranteed ticket-seller and one of boxing’s elite pay-per-view stars – and wonder what if? Had he got the decisions it could have been he who headlined events at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington Texas, not Pacquiao.

It is that wonderment that has driven him to relentlessly pop speed bags in the Romanza Gym and learn new tricks despite being a 38-year-old dog: “Marquez has now developed new skills to pin down Pacquiao of his mistakes,” Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Beristain explained to the Long Beach Examiner recently.

“We will surprise him and this will become a fantastic trilogy… something never before seen in the history of boxing,” he added in a concluding statement not likely to be topped by any fight scribe.

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3 Responses to “Roach reiterates belief Pacquiao is in his prime: ‘He’s the best I’ve ever seen him’”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Manny Pacquiao: I’ve changed and improved a lot in the last three years « On The Beak - November 2, 2011

    […] Roach reiterates belief Pacquiao is in his prime: ‘He’s the best I’ve ever seen&nb… […]

  2. Roach: Pacquiao training harder for Marquez III than he did for de la Hoya « On The Beak - November 5, 2011

    […] Roach reiterates belief Pacquiao is in his prime: ‘He’s the best I’ve ever seen&nb… […]

  3. Roach: Pacquiao training harder for Marquez III than he did for de la Hoya - November 5, 2011

    […] trainer Freddie Roach already noted how his premier prizefighter Manny Pacquiao is in peak athletic condition and that he is training and boxing better than ever, but – speaking to the Manila press recently […]

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