MACAU – Freddie Roach knows how an explosive fight it would be once Manny Pacquiao and banger Ruslan Provodnikov rumble inside the ring.
But just this once, Roach said hopefully it never happens.
Although admitting it could be one of the most exciting bouts out there at the moment, Roach said it will definitely break his heart seeing two of the hardest working men in his stable fight each other.
“I hope that fight doesn’t happen because I don’t want to lose either of them, because both of them are friends,” said the 53-year-old trainer.
They Said It!
“I hope that fight doesn’t happen because I don’t want to lose either of them, because both of them are friends." - trainer Freddie Roach who handles both Pacquiao and Provodnikov
Provodnikov once served as sparring partner for Pacquiao during his training camps for both the Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez fights last year.
But his gung-ho style and relentless punching has made him a star on the rise, especially after stopping Mike Alvarado in the 10th round to wrest the World Boxing Organization light welterweight title.
Following Pacquiao’s domination of Brandon Rios Sunday at the Cotai Arena, many can’t help but anticipate a showdown between him and Provodnikov in a year or two.
“That fight probably is the next best thing out there, besides (Floyd) Mayweather Jr. and the rematch of course (Juan Manuel Marquez),” Roach pointed out.
The five-time Trainer of the Year said he’ll understand if the 29-year-old Russian (23-2, 16 KOs) accepts fighting Pacquiao once the opportunity arises.
“Ruslan and him (Manny) are pretty good friends. But if I put myself in Ruslan’s shoes and you’re given $10 million, can you say no?” Roach stressed. “It will make him set for life, have security for his family.”
“I wouldn’t be mad at him if he accepts the fight,” Roach added.
Besides, things such as this happen in sports, according to Roach.
“Sometime, these things happen as far as sports go. I fought my brother (amateur) once and he kicked my ass,” added the Hall of Fame trainer.
Granting the bout pushes through, it would also put Roach in a very precarious situation as he trains both fighters.
At the onset, Roach said it seemed everything would be easy for him since both Pacquiao and Provodnikov would be training together at the Wild Card gym.
“Because I will train Manny, and Marvin (Somodio) can train the other guy,” he said. “But Marvin can’t train a Russian to fight a Filipino, so it doesn’t work out that way.”
Roach, though, is convinced both Pacquiao and Provodnikov are two of the hardest-hitting fighters in the world today.
“Manny has a lot more speed and hits more combinations,” said the American trainer. “Ruslan is probably more of a one punch knockout guy that can take your attention with just one shot.”