The biggest fight of his life looms, duh, and one might think that Manny Pacquiao might not be OK with his trainer jetting off to China, and working with another one of his clients, Zou Shiming, for an IBF flyweight title fight to take place this Saturday.
Pacman told Dedham Freddie that Shiming’s best chance of winning comes with Roach in that corner, and he gave his blessing for the seven time BWAA Trainer of the Year to fly to hang with Shiming for the week, get it done vs. Amnat Ruenroeng, and then scoot back to oversee the work at the Wild Card.
“It says a lot about Manny,” Roach told me in a Sunday night (US time) phoner. “He’s the greatest guy in the world. He said, ‘Go and take care of Shiming, you give him the best chance of winning.’ I can train myself for six days.”
Pac will be doing strength and conditioning in El Lay while Roach does Zou duty, with Justin Fortune overseeing, so it’s not like there will be such an immense hole without Coach present, Team Pacquiao theorizes.
Roach told me that he likes the 6-0 Zou’s chances against the 14-0 Thai fighter; they clashed three times in the amateur ranks, with Zou getting the nod twice. The Thai man, he said, is “a counterpuncher, not a big KO puncher, but he can punch.” Zou is on message, Fred said, to snag a world title after just six pro fights, no small feat, and you can see if he pulls it off by watching HBO2 (5 PM ET) on Saturday.
“Ruenroeng and I fought each other three times as amateurs,” Zou told media. “What I remember most is that he is good at gauging the distance between us to land his punches. He’s very lengthy with his reach. He was also very good at timing his punches.”
Zou’s old amateur coach from Shanghai recently did work with Zou, drilled him on footwork, so that edge, and an edge in hand speed, should carry the day for the Top Rank-promoted flyweight. “We’re done with sparring, we’ll do some mitt work, but we’re ready to go,” Roach said.
Check back later with more from Roach on why the “Floyd beat Marquez easy and Manny didn’t” reasoning isn’t fool-proof, and why he’s liking Manny’s chances a bit more with Floyd Sr. being head man in the corner, rather than Uncle Roger. And there’s much much more to come from Roach, who will likely have to have a fill-in pick up his seventh trainer trophy from the Boxing Writers Association of America on April 24, in NYC.
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