The big fight that everyone has been waiting for may finally be on, according to a May 4 interview with Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s famous trainer, Freddie Roach.

Roach took a brief break from the training regiment he’s directing for the light welterweight champion boxer Amir Khan to take a phone call from Atlanta Sports Talk radio station 790AM’s “The Zone.” During the phone interview, Roach told the station, yes, the fight between Floyd Mayweather and his prized client, Pacquiao, will happen.

“I just talked to Bob Arum yesterday. Bob is flying to the Philippines today to make Manny an offer and we are trying to make this happen as best as we can,” said Roach, who also suggested that financial gain is the main reason both sides are motivated to make the long anticipated fight finally happen.

“We have enough ammo to get a deal done quickly because there’s a lot of money out there.”

What many are deeming to be the “Fight of the Century,” was initially negotiated to occur back in January, but negotiations ended after Mayweather accused Pacquiao of using steroids and demanded that they take Olympic-style drug testing, which requires blood testing just days prior to the fight. Insulted by the accusation, Pacquiao withdrew from fight talks with Mayweather, and told reporters that he’s uncomfortable with drawing blood and believes it takes away from his strength.

Both boxers went on to dominate less competitive boxers instead, but now it appears they’re ready to make what Roach described as the “biggest fight of all time.”

When asked if Manny will concede to Mayweather’s request for Olympic-style blood testing, Roach said they’re going to “meet in the middle.”

“We wanted no less than 24 days before fight day, they wanted 14 days out, so it’s going to be 17 or 18 days out,” Roach said. “And 100 percent, yes, we will agree to a blood test right after the fight.”

Roach said he watched Floyd’s latest fight with former champion Shane Mosley while at his training clinic with Khan. He watched the fight live from a boxing fan’s perspective, but noted that he also recorded the fight back at his home and will later watch as a trainer and do his homework to best prepare Manny.

He may want to do as much homework as possible, because many of his comments during the interview may have Mayweather ready to retaliate.

Roach said the undefeated superstar is a sure Hall of Famer at his previous fight weight of 135-140 pounds, but he’s only an average fighter at his current weight class of 147 pounds.

“He can’t punch at that weight and that’s his biggest issue I think, but also the speed factor; he’s a little slower at this weight,” Roach said of Mayweather. “You can see during the fight that he doesn’t have his legs anymore. He changed his style because he can’t move like he used to at this weight, and that’s why he’s a little more flat-footed. And that’s why Shane did hit him good in the early rounds.”

With the excitement Roach is building up, fans hope the deal actually does pan out. No one has officially signed any contracts, but Roach did mention that Mayweather is currently in negotiations with Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaeffer, who helped make almost every big fight happen in recent years. If the fight goes down, the setting will more than likely be in Las Vegas around November 2010, with a projected prize of about $40 million for each fighter, not including additional profits that could be earned from what may be the biggest pay-per-view event ever. But Roach insists that money isn’t the only reason this fight is going to be one to remember.

“This one is really special because this one is a very big challenge also,” Roach said. “With Mayweather’s style, I have to come up with the perfect game plan to get a win over him. One thing about him, he’s very good at what he does.

“He’s very clever and he sees well. But he can get caught a few times early in the fight, and if Pacquiao catches him, we will finish him.”

Roach said he may also do a little fighting himself, should Floyd’s uncle and head trainer, Roger Mayweather, starts talking too much trash.

“Manny actually calms me down…he tells me to remain respectful and he’ll handle everything in the ring, because he knows are going to talk trash like normal,” Roach said. “But I’m confrontational at times, and when he starts being disrespectful, I do get mad, so I can’t make any guarantees.”

One thing Roach did guarantee, however, was the first loss of Mayweather’s perfect 41-0 record. When asked if he believes the fight will go the distance, Roach quickly said, “Nope, we will knock him out!”

Visit afro.com and join the heated debate with AFRO sports gurus Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley over who will win the “Fight of the Century.”

 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor