LAS VEGAS – Eight years after, Freddie Roach gets another chance to taint Floyd Mayweather’s perfect record.
Roach takes another shot at the unbeaten American on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time) when he works Manny Pacquiao’s corner in a 12-round world welterweight title unification match billed as the richest in boxing history.
For the seven-time Trainer of the Year, Pacquiao represents his chance at redemption against Mayweather who he came close to beating in 2007 when he trained Oscar De La Hoya for their highly-anticipated showdown.
For the first six rounds, De La Hoya appeared to have Mayweather’s number until the ‘Golden Boy’ began to lose steam. Worse he hurt his right shoulder that kept him from delivering the right jab that had been effectively neutralizing ‘The Money Man’ earlier in the fight.
“I know why Oscar beat him in the first three rounds,” Roach recalled. “But then he stopped using his jab and started following (Mayweather). We’re not going to make that mistake (with Pacquiao).”
Mayweather went on to beat De La Hoya by split decision to wrest the World Boxing Council (WBC) super-welterweight title.
De La Hoya would corroborate Roach’s recollection of the fight that once broke the all-time pay-per-view buys and live gate attendance, saying he suffered a slight tear in his rotator cuff that caused a flare-up in his left shoulder.
“Once I couldn’t throw my jab the way I wanted, everything went downhill,” said De La Hoya in his book American Son, which he co-wrote with veteran Los Angeles Times sportswriter Steve Springer.
“I felt, if I didn’t have my jab, I didn’t have anything because the jab was the key to that fight,” he continued. “I lost the fight, but I know I can beat this guy. He wasn’t all that great.”
De La Hoya appeared ready to get another shot at Mayweather when talks about a rematch hit first base. Alas, Mayweather stunned the world when he announced his sudden retirement from boxing in 2008.
Left hanging, De La Hoya was forced to take a fight against Pacquiao, whose star was beginning to rise around that time following his smashing victories against Mexican stars Eric Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao would deal De La Hoya the worst beating of his career and soon after, he retired for good.
Mayweather’s leave from boxing proved to be short-lived as he made a successful comeback a year after following a dominant 12-round decision over Juan Manuel Marquez.
The roads have now intertwined againfor Mayweather and Roach and the biggest fight in boxing history has been set.
And the seven-time Trainer of the Year definitely couldn’t wait to have his payback.