By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Freddie Roach isn’t quite sure what to make of the Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner fight.
Pacquiao’s former trainer is certain even a 39-year-old Pacquiao can beat Broner, who’s 10 years younger. Beyond that, though, Roach doesn’t know why that fight is being arranged.
The Philippines’ Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) and Cincinnati’s Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) are expected to square off January 19 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Their 12-round fight for Pacquiao’s WBA world welterweight title likely will headline a pay-per-view card.
Pacquiao, who announced Monday he has signed with adviser Al Haymon, acknowledged last week that a deal to box Broner is nearly finalized. Roach would welcome the opportunity to work with Pacquiao again for the Broner bout, but he hasn’t heard anything from Pacquiao regarding a reunion.
“I think Manny can beat Broner, or should,” Roach told BoxingScene.com on Wednesday following a press conference at Madison Square Garden. “But I’m not part of that at this point. So does the winner get Mayweather or something like that? Is this a buildup? Or is this a fight that they think is the greatest fight in the world? I’m not so sure what’s the reason for it. If it’s the winner gets a big fight, then I know. Then they’re doing their job. So we’ll see.”
Rumors regarding a Pacquiao-Mayweather rematch intensified after Mayweather sent a message about boxing Pacquiao again through his Instagram account September 15. A video of Mayweather and Pacquiao playfully talking trash to each other at a music festival in Tokyo accompanied Mayweather’s message.
Mayweather, 41, retired for the third time following his 10th-round stoppage of UFC star Conor McGregor in their August 2017 boxing match at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The undefeated five-division champion apparently is serious about boxing again next year, particularly for what still would be a lucrative rematch with Pacquiao.
If Broner beats Pacquiao, a Mayweather-Broner bout also would generate interest due to the turbulent relationship between Broner and a man he has at times considered a mentor and “big brother.” Broner, 29, hasn’t fought since settling for a 12-round majority draw with Jessie Vargas (28-2-2, 10 KOs) on April 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Roach, meanwhile, is in New York because he trains Alberto Machado. Puerto Rico’s Machado (20-0, 16 KOs) will defend his WBA world super featherweight title against Cleveland’s Yuandale Evans (20-1, 14 KOs) as part of HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader Saturday night from The Theater at Madison Square Garden (10 p.m. ET/PT).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.