The five-time Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach is as optimistic as he's ever been that a superfight between his guy Manny Pacquiao, the Congressman from the Phillipines, and Floyd "Money" Mayweather, can be put together.
Roach, during a chat from his Wild Card Gym in California, told me that he's quite hopeful that an arrangement can be worked out which would put Pacquiao, the 35-year-old hitter who looked stellar in his last outing, which came Nov. 23 against Brandon Rios, in with Mayweather, who is due to fight twice this year, in May and September.
"I think we're closer and closer to a Mayweather fight," the 53-year-old Massachusetts native told me. "It's only rumors now, but I think the rumors will come true. I don't think either Manny or Mayweather has anywhere else to go."
Mayweather recently reiterated, on the website FightHype, his demand that Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, who promoted Floyd from 1996-2006, not be part of any promotion. Arum has a deal with Pacman through 2014, so that proves a sticking point if you want to see Manny-Money this year. I asked Roach about that hurdle.
"Manny has time left in his contract but I think if he calls Bob and tells Bob what he wants, and that's Mayweather," Roach said, "Bob will give him what he wants, Bob will let him go do that fight."
That said, it doesn't seem to me to be a smart move from a business standpoint for Arum to let Manny walk, even for the good of the game. I pointed that out to Freddie. "Bob's gonna get paid," he stated.
Roach said that because Mayweather today stands taller as a revenue generator, the superfight would possibly land on the platform Mayweather calls home, Showtime-CBS. He said Showtime needs a marquee name to spur pay-per-view sales, to meet Floyd's fat guarantee, and that means Manny. "They can't pay that money for Amir Khan," he said, referring to his former client, who has been rumored to be the leading candidate to meet Mayweather in May. "I'm being optimistic that a Manny-Mayweather fight is closer now than ever."
I told Roach again I just don't see how Arum the businessman could justify letting Manny walk, if indeed that September Mayweather date could be set aside for the superfight. "You've got to give the fans what they want and most important, you as the promoter have to give the fighter what he wants," Roach said.
"I think Arum being the promoter and the professional that he is, will give Manny that fight. I like that September date, I'm pushing for it," the trainer stated. "I'm gonna call Manny this afternoon... all he has to do is call Bob, tell him who he wants, Mayweather, and I think it'll get done."
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Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?