So they are saying this one, the Big One, The Fight, #MayPac, it’s our Super Bowl.
Certainly, from the monetary figures being thrown around, the analogy works to an extent. So I ran with that (foot)ball when I chatted up Dedham Freddie Roach, the Massachusetts-born ex hitter and current tutor to The Congressman from Sarangani province, Manny Pacman.
OK Freddie, the Patriots Super Bowl buzz still lingers like the aroma of fresh-baked cookies in the household, a month after the victory over Seattle.
Do you see Manny as the Tom Brady in this fistic equation…and if yes, who is Floyd Mayweather?
Roach pondered, and then offered a decent response: Floyd will be like Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ QB, who threw the interception toss in the game’s waning seconds, and was so close to being THE MAN, before the plan exploded in his face. Roach was in good spirits, still pleased that this long-on-the-runway effort came together after six years. His part in the union can’t be understated, as he was instrumental in bringing key participants Bob Arum and CBS boss Les Moonves into the same sphere, where they found common ground as business men. And even when there were moments during what some thought were the late stages of fruition, and it looked iffy, like the plane would slide off the runway and combust, the trainer couldn’t really share his thoughts, process his feelings. (Not that I didn’t try; bless the soul of his faithful assistant Marie, who gracefully fields my blizzard of requests to chat with dignity and charm. She is a role model for how you work from a media relations perspective, I must say.) “They told us to shut up, be quiet,” Roach told me. “Mayweather is the star of the show.” And because of that, wise persons understood that the star shouldn’t be unsettled, or distracted from the task by responding to an inflammatory or perceived to be incendiary comment from a trainer, or a promoter, or whoever.
“But when Bob and Les got together, that was a big, big clue the fight would happen. And I’m just happy, the whole world gets what they want,” he said.
Roach, like all of us not named Mayweather and Haymon and maybe a couple other people, was in a need to know mindset. He knew things when Floyd saw the need, or the mood struck him, when he saw the time as being right, to start spreading the news.
“I was watching ESPN, when I was told the fight was on,” he told me. “Then Bob Arum called and confirmed it. I had a smile on my face.”
Now, though, the smile dissipates. There is a fight to plan. Getting into proper condition, and getting fight ready in an abbreviated time-span. Usually, there would be 12 weeks of camp. Do the math, we don’t have 12 weeks between now and fight night….How’s that going to play out? Freddie isn’t worried, it turns out. He has sparring partners in mind, has been making calls, putting the call out for Floyd types. Roach has to pick and choose a bit more wisely, arguably, than with some fights. You don’t think that it wouldn’t be useful to get intel from sparring partners on what Freddie and Manny are cooking up? So Roach has to know that no loose lips won’t be sinking’ ships…
All in all, Roach sounded in a good place. And why not? The fight got off the runway, where it was grounded for eons, with passengers (i.e. the fans, and yes, even some of the dealmakers…would have hated to seen the he said-she said blame game-ing going on if The Fight didn’t get made) grumbling and being increasingly spiteful.
We’re aloft now, and to my eyes, Freddie’s guy is in a no lose situation. Most all are picking Mayweather to win, assuming, I guess, that because Pacquiao hasn’t solved the Juan Manuel Marquez puzzle as easily as Floyd did, that will translate into “Money” having his way with the Congressman. Freddie don’t beg to differ; he offered me reasons why he thinks Manny will get his hand raised on May 2. Check this space, and follow @Woodsy1069 on Da Twitter for more deets…