It’s Manny, It’s Freddie, It’s Bob

By Robert Ecksel on October 25, 2014
It’s Manny, It’s Freddie, It’s Bob
“I found out that he was playing before he played and I was not a very happy camper.”

Manny refuses to court controversy. Still, someone asked him to comment on the pro-democracy uprising in Hong Kong…

In anticipation of Manny Pacquiao’s November 22 pay-per-view fight against Chris Algieri at The Venetian Macao’s Cotai Arena in Macau China, the fighter and his trainer, the estimable Freddie Roach, met with the press this week via teleconference call.

Speaking from the Pacquiao Training Compound in General Santos City, Philippines, Manny was, was usual, a man of few words. He was also serene. Freddie, by contrast, was a man of many words, and serenity was the furthest thing from his mind. But the Hall of Fame trainer, who has grown increasingly outspoken over the years, has toned down his criticism of Algieri, criticism which, however accurate, has done little to further interest in a fight that many believe will be a mismatch.

After opening remarks by Fred Sternberg, who has been brushing up on his Tagalog, and Top Rank’s Bob Arum, who doesn’t need Tagalog to make his point, Manny and Freddie got down to the business of answering of softball questions.

In case anyone was wondering, training camp has been great.

“We have had a great training camp so far,” Freddie said. “Last time we began with four rounds and this time my first day in camp we went 12 rounds and Manny wasn’t even breathing.”

Sparring has been going well too.

“Sparring has been going very well. We have over 35 rounds of sparring in so far. We have great sparring partners. This is the best group of sparring partners we have EVER had and they are going to be getting him on top of his game. Viktor Postol’s got a great jab and he’s tall, a little taller than Algieri and he has a better left hand. He’s very smart and he’s rated number 1, a legitimate number 1; Mike Jones who is a big 147-pounder is pretty tall also; and Stan Martyniouk from San Francisco. All the guys are tall and I think some guys are better than our opponent.”

Algieri’s height may pose a problem for Manny, but if he’s concerned he’s not letting it show.

“I am excited again to fight against a tall opponent like Chris Algieri,” said Pacquiao. “I have fought tall guys like Algieri before so I know what it will be like when I get in the ring with him on November 22nd.”

In addition to being tall, Algieri also moves well. He uses the ring, and his superb boxing skills, to keep out of harm’s way.

“He is a pretty good mover,” Freddie conceded. “He moves pretty well and he is very defensive. He has a good jab—one of the best in the business—and he has a good left hand. His jab is his best weapon and it is something that we have to really take care of.

“Algieri did just beat one of the best punchers in the world. He got off the deck twice [against Provodnikov] and he showed a lot of heart. He definitely deserves to be there. It’s going to be a great fight. That’s why we are training so hard for this fight and that’s why we have such good sparring partners because we are not taking him lightly at all.”

Manny agreed: “We are not taking him lightly for this fight and we are training hard for this fight because of what he proved in the Ruslan fight.”

There was much talk about Pacquiao playing a single game of professional basketball. Basketball is okay. But boxing is where it’s at.

“It was a good experience to play in a professional basketball game like that,” Manny said in his defense. “I didn’t play long, I just wanted to help my team and that’s why I played. Professional basketball in the Philippines is very competitive and more importantly, we won the first game. I am enjoying boxing, but my favorite sport outside of boxing is basketball. I felt very excited and a little nervous because it was the first game and there were over 52,000 fans.” 

Manny wasn’t the only person who was a little nervous. His promoter, Bob Arum, was a little nervous as well, but for different reasons. He has nothing against hobbies. But with a big pay-per-view fight on the line, he believes Manny needs to prioritize and not let his affections get the best of him.

“I found out that he was playing before he played and I was not a very happy camper,” Arum said. “Manny said he was going to play in the opening game for his team. I didn’t say anything because Manny had decided that he wanted to do that and now it’s done.  Professional basketball, no matter the country where it is played, is a rugged sport and a player can turn an ankle very, very easily. These players in the NBA are fantastic physical specimens and yet they get injured all the time. An injury would have really wreaked havoc on the fight so I was not very pleased, but everyone has assured us—Manny has assured Freddie and Freddie has assured me that that’s it. After he does the fight on November 22nd, if he wants to try out for the New York Knicks, that’s okay with me.”

Back to the subject of boxing, Manny was asked if he thought he might KO Algieri, even though he’s not KO’d an opponent in over four years.

“We cannot go into the fight thinking about the knockout,” he replied. “A knockout will not change the result of the fight as long as we get the win.”

Freddie is not so sure.

“We brought in some big sparring partners. Mike Jones is a really big puncher and so forth and Manny is doing really well with him and he’s hurt him a couple times in camp and he’s shown good power so far and he has shown the intensity that I want. When he hurts somebody he opens up on them and finished him. I told him if we hurt a sparring partner we just get another one.”

The problem with that analysis is that sparring partners aren’t fighting to win. They’re fighting for a check. Freddie knows this, but he’s not telling.

“I would love to see a knockout,” he continued. “I think at 147 he (Pacquiao) is a little smaller than most of the 147-pounders out there. We have to feed him five times a day for him to make that weight. This fight is at 144 and I think his power will come back. I see a knockout coming for sure.”

Arum was asked if he also sees “a knockout coming for sure.”

“If someone goes up to the plate to hit a home run, he has less of a chance hitting a home run than a guy who goes up to the plate just to meet the ball. If the knockout comes, the knockout comes. But to go out and look for a knockout and to ignore other aspects of the fight, particularly against an intelligent fighter such as Algieri, would be folly. Now if he gets a knockout, that’s great and absolutely increases the marketability, but you don’t go out there looking for the knockouts because if you do, you have less of a chance of getting it if you fight your normal fight.”

Manny is a mellow cat that refuses to court controversy. However indisputable those facts, someone asked him to comment on the pro-democracy uprising in Hong Kong.

Pacquiao, wisely, didn’t take the bait.

“The fight is in Macao,” he said. “It is not in Hong Kong. There is no problem in Macao.  The problems are in Hong Kong so it will have no effect on the fight. It’s hard to give a comment about that because it is a big issue. If I were to give a comment about that first I would have to study about what the people want and what the government wants so it is hard to give an educated comment, as a politician. So maybe I will say now, I will not comment.”

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Manny Pacquiao Vs Chris Algieri Promo

Manny Pacquiao VS Chris Algieri Promo HD


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  1. NYIrish 03:53am, 10/26/2014

    I agree Eric. It goes the distance. The thing that surprises me is I have no desire to see it.

  2. Eric 07:56am, 10/25/2014

    Sorry Freddie, Manny isn’t knocking out Algieri. Manny probably takes a comfortable decision victory, however, there could be an upset in the making here. This fight goes the distance no matter who wins.

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