July 13, 2019
LOS ANGELES: For Manny Pacquiao’s training consultant Freddie Roach, his pupil of 24 years’ fight with WBA “super” welterweight champion Keith Thurman should be called “One Time” vs “All Time.“
It’s because, the seven-time “Trainer of the Year,” explained to this writer, “One Time” is Thurman’s moniker, while the Filipino WBA regular belt-owner is acknowledged one of the Greatest of All Time, if not the greatest.
“What I mean is, if Thurman loses that fight, which I believe he will, he will be considered as a one-time pretender to be great, while Manny, well, win or lose will still remain one of the greatest, if not the greatest of all time,” Roach reasoned out.
“It’s that simple, see? “ Roach said, admitting that the Pacquiao-Thurman 147-pound WBA unification duel on July 2O, aside from the huge payday that awaits the duo, the winner stands to advance into the next round of Premier Boxing Champions’ welterweight unification tournament.
What the Roach analogy means actually, is the victor will most likely battle the winner of Errol Spence-Shawn Porter in a showdown to decide the WBA, IBF and WBC sole belt-owner titles.
A loss for Thurman would be really damaging in his bid to be one of the best of his era.
For Pacquiao, being already one of the greatest, can qualify him to the unification scheme, especially if he puts up a better performance.
While the prize for winning on July 20 seems pretty clear, the cost of losing is a little less and different for both men.
A loss for Pacquiao, depending on the nature of the defeat, may or may not trigger the end of his career. A KO loss, especially one that could cause him substantial damage, will likely have his legions of fans wishing for him to retire.
Even if he were to lose that way, Pacquiao might still have a farewell fight for himself and for the benefit of his fans, maybe in Manila.
“That’ why we are preparing him well for any eventuality,” Roach said. “But while the build up program has been solid and rigorous, we have been giving him enough time to rest because of his disadvantage in age.”
Roach was right. On Thursday, following a day of complete rest on Tuesday and his open media day on Wednesday, the Filipino senator had an eight-round of sparring vs welterweights Jessie Roman and AB Lopez at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood here.
Make that 14 rounds, counting another six rounds of working the mitts with chief trainer Buboy Ferrnandez. A couple more each at the double end and speed ball made the day for the man they call old at 40.
Friday is another climbing day at the Griffith Park mountains in the morning and probably eight more rounds with the mitts.
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