By Scoop Malinowski
I have been following and covering boxing since the 1980s and can’t recall one time when the trainer of the losing fighter in a close, controversial superfight publicly later admitted his charge lost.
Until Freddie Roach said in August of 2015 and February 2016 that in his eyes Pacquiao lost to Mayweather in their May 2015 showdown.
Mayweather vs Pacquiao was a close match which looked like Mayweather intentionally boxed carefully and cautiously to make sure he lasted the distance because the Vegas judges would be on his side.
Pacquiao tried to make it exciting but he’s lost some of his vaunted speed and punch volume. And clearly all the tough, physical fights against naturally bigger men have taken a toll on Pacquiao who no longer has the ability to bedazzle us with sensational, spectacular performances featuring blinding eight to ten punch combinations. Pacquiao was still impressive vs. Mayweather but no longer freakishly extraordinary as he was in his masterpieces vs Hatton, Cotto, De La Hoya.
For Freddie Roach to say he felt Pacquiao lost to Mayweather is a curiously abnormal display of disloyalty against a man he has earned millions of dollars from.
Marvin Hagler’s trainers never admitted Marvin lost to Sugar Ray Leonard. Don Turner never admitted Evander Holyfield lost to Lennox Lewis. Bouie Fisher never admitted Bernard Hopkins lost to Jermain Taylor. Roger Mayweather never admitted Floyd Mayweather lost to Jose Castillo. Ken Norton’s team team never admitted Ken lost to Muhammad Ali. Oscar De La Hoya’s team never admitted Oscar lost to Felix Trinidad. Julio Cesar Chavez’s team never admitted Chavez lost to Pernell Whitaker.
So for Freddie Roach to admit Pacquiao lost to Mayweather is very strange and even suspicious.
You have to wonder if Mayweather, who earned hundreds of millions in recent fights may have bribed Roach to admit that Manny lost to Mayweather. Roach no longer earns the giant paydays he used to during Pacquiao’s heyday because Pacquiao is not as active as he was and his fights are not as lucrative as they were. So his cash flow could be needy.
Mayweather and his advisor Al Haymon are known master manipulators. Mayweather has constantly and infamously manipulated fight contract terms to his own advantage. And Haymon? Well, Paulie Malignaggi once said: ‘Al Haymon can manipulate anything. What Al Haymon wants, Al Haymon gets.’
So is it possible that Mayweather might have manipulated Roach to admit Mayweather defeated Pacquiao?
It certainly is. And the timeline reinforces the possibility. Roach is on the record twice admitting Pac lost to Floyd, in August 2015 and February 2016.
Then in May 2016, Mayweather made two visits to Roach’s Wildcard Gym in Los Angeles.
“We talked a little bit — not about the fight. Not one word about fighting,” Roach said. “But it’s interesting. I keep waiting for him to bring [a Pacquiao rematch] up, but he hasn’t, so I don’t.”
Roach knows Pacquiao still wants the Mayweather rematch, as Roach again revealed in June of this year, so why not mention it to Floyd? Are his loyalties now to Floyd or Pacquiao?
What’s the big deal about mentioning a Mayweather vs Pacquiao rematch to Floyd Mayweather, in private. Who is the boss?
It all makes you wonder. Could Mayweather have personally delivered a bag of cash to Roach at the Wildcard Gym for manipulating Roach’s opinion of the decision towards his own favor?
I don’t know. But I do smell a rat. And two things are for sure. The truth is stranger than fiction. And anything is possible in boxing.
(Artwork by Sen Lacson.)