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One minute he was there, the next he was gone.
But, fear not: Freddie Roach’s absence from the corner of Manny Pacquiao – a home away from home for so many years – on July 15 in Kuala Lumpur was little more than a momentary blip in an otherwise healthy relationship, the legendary Filipino insists.
It had been reported the two had split for good following Pacquiao’s 2017 loss to Jeff Horn in Australia and Roach even went on record saying he had not heard a thing from his fighter since the night he lost his title. This led to Pacquiao’s friend Buboy Fernandez taking over the head trainer reins for his fight against Lucas Matthysse in July and it seemed to spell an end to one of the most fruitful fighter-trainer relationships in boxing.
That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Now, with a fight against Adrien Broner pencilled in for January 19, Pacquiao is back working with Roach and is adamant the esteemed American trainer has always been a part of the team, even when they were, to steal a phrase from Ross and Rachel, on a break.
“I tell people even in America that Freddie never left Team Pacquiao,” Manny said. “He is still involved in the training.”
For now, Pacquiao is preparing in Manila ahead of his January 19 fight against Broner but will presumably relocate to Los Angeles and the Wild Card gym at some stage. It’s then we’ll really get a chance to see if the band is back together.
David Higgins, the eccentric right-hand man to Joseph Parker, has been the butt of a few jokes this year, but deserves credit and doffed hats for committing to putting all boxers appearing on Duco Events cards through MRI brain scans.
The move, one that should be followed by others, will be actioned ahead of Duco Events’ next promotion in Christchurch on December 15 and see the company foot what will end up being quite a hefty bill, all in the name of fighter safety.
Duco Events have previously required fighters to undergo a mandatory CT scan to gain medical clearance to enter the ring, and, back in July, Joseph Parker’s younger brother, John, was pulled from a fight in London after a regulation pre-fight scan found he had a brain aneurysm – a small tear in a blood vessel.
However, there is now increased scrutiny on medical safeguarding in New Zealand after the New Zealand Medical Council called for a ban on boxing following the death of Christchurch man Kain Parsons. (Parsons died from injuries sustained in a charity event.)
“We’ve always taken safety extremely seriously,” Higgins told the NZ Herald.
“We’ve very much led the way in requiring CT scans as part of the process to ensure a boxer is fit to enter the ring.
“Having observed recent tragic events in the sport, Duco has now decided to increase the threshold to include a clear MRI scan. The advice we have been given is that an MRI scan will be significantly more effective in detecting any issues that may exist, helping to ensure no boxer unwittingly puts themselves at risk of being injured in the ring.
“It is an expensive process, but it is everyone’s best interests – boxers, promoters and fans – that safety in the sport is treated as paramount.
“I’d like to think this would become standard practice in boxing.”
According to the NZ Herald, the results of boxers’ MRI scans, as well as a serology report and the results of a physical medical examination, must be submitted to the official event doctor prior to the event. Fighters will, of course, also undergo a full medical examination by the event doctor at the weigh-in on the day prior to the event.
“We’re really confident our medical testing is now the gold standard in the industry,” Higgins said.
“This isn’t a one-off. This is now the established process for all future Duco boxing promotions. I’d encourage all other promoters out there to adopt the same standards.”
This year David Higgins has helped Joseph Parker become a very rich man following a string of incredibly shrewd business moves. This, however, might be the be the best move Ol’ Higgins has made to date.
Okay, so it’s not the Super Six world or the World Boxing Super Series and, no, the Muhammad Ali trophy won’t be up for grabs. However, the line-up for the Carlos Monzon ‘Super 8’ middleweight tournament has been announced, featuring eight Argentinean 160-pounders who will all vie for the Monzon Cup next year, and, let’s face it, Monzon is an undeniable legend of the sport and tournaments are always a bit of fun, aren’t they?
In addition to the names involved, Sampson Lewkowicz of Sampson Boxing, with the cooperation of the World Boxing Council, also revealed the tournament will begin on Friday, January 4 and conclude with a final on Saturday, July 6, with all fights taking place in Argentina.
Included among the Super 8 line-up are Gonzalo Coria, 14-2 (5), Martin Ezequiel Bulacio, 8-2 (6), Tomas Reynoso, 13-3-1 (3), Jose Antonio Villalobos, 11-5-2 (7), brother of current WBA super-welterweight champion Brian Castano, Alan Emmanuel Castano, 13-0 (8), Francisco Torres, 10-3 (4), Sergio Lopez, 12-2 (9), and Jonathan Sanchez, 13-3-1 (4).
“I’m very honoured to be putting on this tournament in Argentina, and I’m confident it will produce Argentina’s next future middleweight star,” said Lewkowicz, who has previously promoted a super-bantamweight tournament and is best-known for handling the career of the great Sergio Martinez.
“The winner of this tournament will have a world rating with the prestigious WBC and a ticket to graduate to the world level. I am hoping to put on a tournament worthy of the great Carlos Monzon. Something that he’d be proud of.”
Meanwhile, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman says the WBC are more than happy to lend their support to the Carlos Monzon Super 8.
“Carlos Monzon was a legendary champion when I came to the sport of boxing and he was very close to the WBC and my father throughout his career,” said Sulaiman.
“Argentina is such an important country for boxing. They deserve support because they have done unbelievable work both in the amateurs, by winning medals, and in the professional ranks.
“Lately it has been a very complicated and difficult time for Argentinean boxing, so Sampson coming out and doing this tournament is something we will absolutely support. The winner will absolutely appear in the WBC’s rankings.”