Friday 19 January 2018

Freddie Roach: Floyd forced into Manny Pacquiao fight

Boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Manny Pacquiao pose for photographers during a press conference Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Las Vegas
Boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Manny Pacquiao pose for photographers during a press conference Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in Las Vegas

Freddie Roach believes Floyd Mayweather has been forced into a fight he would rather avoid and questions whether the American will even turn up for his welterweight epic against Manny Pacquiao.

Mayweather and Pacquiao collide in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning with the outcome of the showdown at the MGM Grand deciding who is the greatest boxer of their generation.

The build-up to the richest fight in history has been notable for the lack of trash talking from Mayweather and Roach, Pacquiao's master trainer, views that as a symptom of his uncertainty.

Roach believes the 38-year-old's television paymasters Showtime, who have outlaid a minimum of £130million for a six-fight contract, ordered the clash the boxing world has craved for the last five years.

"I don't know why Floyd's been so quiet. I'm wondering if he's going to show up, I really am," Roach said.

"At the first press conference I said we were going to kick his ass, but there was no response. His speech was very low-key and subdued. I'm not sure he is going to show up.

"I think Floyd was forced into this fight and it's not a fight he wants. He always gets to pick and choose his opponents, but he wasn't able to pick and choose this one because Showtime wanted this fight.

"I don't think he wants this fight. Sometimes we do things we have to do to please companies and to make money. He was forced into a fight he didn't want."

Pacquiao, meanwhile, celebrated his ascension from his poverty-stricken origins in the Philippines to one combatant in the richest fight of all time.

The traditional pre-fight ritual was notable for the mutual respect between the two fighters with born again Christian Pacquiao, who spoke first, using his presentation to thank God for enabling his rags to riches story.

"I used to sleep in the street, starving and hungry. I had nothing and was looking for food. I couldn't imagine that the Lord raised me into this position and to this level of life," he said.

"Everything that I accomplish has been given to me by God. I want to be an example and inspiration to everyone.

"I'm hoping that after the fight me and Floyd can have a conversation about God and share our faith. We need to inspire people, especially children who are looking up to us.

"I'd like everyone to witness a good fight. There are a lot of questions that only God can answer."

Up to 200 camera crews were present in the KA Theatre at the MGM Grand to witness the fighters, trainers, promoters, sponsors and TV executives offer their thoughts on the event.

Last up to the dais was Mayweather, the favourite who is seeking to amass the 48th victory of a flawless career.

"It's time to fight now. You guys came out here to see excitement and to see a great event. Excitement is what both competitors bring to the table," Mayweather said.

"This is the biggest fight in boxing history and I'm a part of it, that's the great thing. I'm truly blessed and feeling strong."

Among the spectators at the press conference was Mike Tyson with the former undisputed world heavyweight champion predicting that Mayweather will struggle to live with Pacquiao's work rate.

"I like Manny, he throws a lot of punches and Floyd is going to have to throw more than 38 punches a round with this guy," Tyson said.

"Manny is going to be fast and elusive, moving from side to side. Floyd will have to bring his A plus game."

The fight is expected to gross between €367m to €458m with Mayweather in line to earn €138m and Pacquiao in the region of €91.5m.


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