LAS VEGAS – For someone who’s been in boxing for so long and had seen fighters retire only to stage a comeback later, Freddie Roach is not about to say with finality that people had seen the last of Manny Pacquiao inside the ring.
“It’s a difficult sport to leave,” admitted the 56-year-old former fighter turned master trainer. “I think he hasn’t realized that yet.”
Pacquiao stayed true to his words when he said his fight with Tim Bradley on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) would be his last, as shortly after, he announced that he’s finally hanging up his gloves to have time with his family and the Filipino people.
One of boxing's most dangerous southpaws, Pacquiao scored a unanimous decision win over Bradley in the third and final installment of their ring rivalry.
But Roach approached Pacquiao's retirement announcement with a grain of salt, saying, “I’m not really sure if he’s retired at this point.”
The way he dominated Bradley, including knocking down the durable five-time world champion twice during their 12-round fight at the MGM Grand Arena, the seven-time Trainer of the Year believes his most prized boxer still has a fight or two left in him.
“He hasn’t really shown any signs of wear and tear,” Roach admitted.
But if this is really it, the veteran trainer said it was a great 15-year partnership that he and Pacquiao had, adding he will really be glad to see the Filipino southpaw walk away from the sport while still on top of his game.
“If he do retire, I’ll be really happy for him,” said Roach.