By Keith Idec
The most important thing Freddie Roach took away from Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s two-minute demolition of a small kickboxer is that Mayweather will participate in an official fight this year.
Now that the undefeated five-division champion has torn through Tenshin Nasukawa, Roach is convinced Mayweather will face the winner of the upcoming Manny Pacquiao-Adrien Broner bout next.
“I feel a hundred percent that is why he did this,” Roach told BoxingScene.com. “He wants to be on TV so badly. He misses it. He’s actually a normal person and a nice guy when you’re one-on-one, without a camera on him. But you give him a camera, he’s not the nicest guy in the world.”
There would be some consumer resistance to a Mayweather-Pacquiao rematch, but industry insiders are certain a second bout between them remains by far the most lucrative event that can be made in the sport. Their first fight generated more than $600 million in overall revenue, yet it was widely criticized for being a boring bout Pacquiao entered with a shoulder injury sustained during training camp.
Mayweather-Broner also would be an easily promotable bout because of the complicated, love-hate relationship Mayweather maintains with a much younger fighter he once mentored.
“I think both guys have that in their minds,” Roach said regarding Pacquiao and Broner wanting Mayweather after their fight. “I’m sure Mayweather will wanna fight the winner of this fight. That’s why we definitely have to win this fight. We know that, and we’re ready to do that.”
Roach doesn’t think Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs), who’ll turn 42 next month, will ultimately walk away from a Pacquiao rematch if the 40-year-old Filipino icon looks too good against Broner on January 19 in Las Vegas.
“Mayweather looked really good knocking that little kid out,” Roach said of his three-knockdown, first-round stoppage of Nasukawa in their exhibition Monday in Saitama, Japan. “The thing is, Manny needs to be impressive in this fight. I feel he’s right there. I watched tapes of his last fight and I watched it live on TV. He fought a very, very good fight – one of the best fights he’s fought in a long time. He just has to duplicate that, and that’s definitely possible.”
A rejuvenated Pacquiao dropped Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse three times and stopped Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs, 1 NC) in the seventh round of their scheduled 12-rounder July 15 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Pacquiao won the WBA world welterweight championship from Matthysse as well.
Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) will defend that title when he boxes Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Their scheduled 12-round, 147-pound championship match will headline a four-fight, pay-per-view telecast distributed by Showtime.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.