NEW YORK CITY – If this is truly the end of the Manny Pacquiao show, longtime trainer Freddie Roach would want to remember the best fighter he ever handled for just one thing.
“He’s the greatest boxer of his era, by far,” said Roach about the legacy the 37-year-old Pacquiao will be leaving behind once he finally steps out of the ring one final time on the night of April 9 when he bids for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title of reigning champion Timothy Bradley.
“An eight time world champion, the greatest fighter of my life.”
The third meeting with Bradley is being branded as the last hurrah of the best Filipino athlete ever, who will be seeking a Senate seat in the coming national polls.
Still, a lot are skeptical about Pacquiao’s plan, including his own promoter at Top Rank Bob Arum who has seen a lot of past champions refuse to be counted out at the tailend of their careers.
Roach however, is inclined to believe the word of the man he has worked with the past 15 years.
“It’s really hard to be a senator and a fighter at the same time. There’s a lot more responsibility than congress,” said the veteran trainer of the Pacman, who’s in his second term as congressman of Sarangani.
“I don’t think he has a lot more time to do both. It wouldn’t be fair to him and country to do both.”
Behind such belief, Roach is more than inclined to believe Bradley would be Pacquiao’s final opponent in the ring. Pacquiao and Bradley split their first two matches in the last four years.
No one between the two fighters scored a knockdown in all of 24 rounds they fought.
But as the third fight beckons, the 55-year-old Roach sees Pacquiao finally scoring a knockout win against the American champion.
"I expect Manny to be at his best. I know Manny will knock him out this time, since he’s the first time who talk to me about a knockout this time,” recalled Roach.