Optimism abounds on big day for Manny Pacquiao, trainer Freddie Roach

Kevin Iole
Boxing Experts Blog

Wednesday was a good day for both Manny Pacquiao and his trainer, Freddie Roach. The duo survived Pacquiao's bi-annual media day at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif., then Roach later fired a strike when he threw out the first pitch before a game at Dodger Stadium.

Pacquiao, who will defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight title in a pay-per-view bout on June 9 in Las Vegas against unbeaten Timothy Bradley, didn't create much news.

That was the best news possible for a guy who was mixed up in a gay marriage controversy a week or so earlier.

Pacquiao has said several times that he looked past Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight, but insisted Wednesday that he had prepared diligently for Bradley.

"I'm not going to make the same mistake twice like I did with Marquez," Pacquiao said. "I'm not underestimating Timothy Bradley. He's undefeated. I know he's good and I have a great deal of respect for him and his abilities."

Pacquiao pretty much spouted the usual lines the rest of the way. Asked again if he wants to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr., Pacquiao replied simply, "Yes, very much so."

Roach, though, questioned whether fans have gotten sick of waiting for the fight to be made.

"My fear is that we may have passed the point of no return," Roach said. "I don't get asked if the fight is going to happen as often as I used to. If they don't make this fight soon, it may no longer be relevant."

The only bit of news came when Roach said Pacquiao has lost some speed.

"He may not be as fast as he used to be, but he's still the fastest guy out there," Roach said.

Later, Roach threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium. A native of Dedham, Mass., Roach wore a Dodgers' home jersey with No. 9 on it.

"Ted Williams, baby," Roach said, referring to the Boston Red Sox' Hall of Fame slugger.

It was a good day for both men, largely because they managed to get their work done and not create any controversy.

Roach noted that Pacquiao is in great shape, and said that while the heavily muscled Bradley is clearly in elite physical condition, it won't be a benefit in a fight.

"All those muscles are very tight and it's not very good for boxing," Roach said.

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