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Roach, like Pacquiao, not done yet

Perhaps you’ve read or heard that Manny Pacquiao was reportedly diagnosed with a heart ailment before he fought and defeated Argentine Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur several days ago.

With the buzz of that victory, his first knockout in almost 10 years, still resonating, Pacquiao wasted no time. While the iron is still hot for two or three more prospective bouts before he retires, the sitting senator immediately labeled his reported medical diagnosis pure fiction.

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Meantime, his chief publicist, Aquiles Zonio, who chronicled his boss’ hospital trip, has conveniently made himself scarce. Two e-mails sent to Zonio were not returned while I wrote this column.

“I’m OK, I feel fine,” Pacquiao was quoted as saying to media friends to telegraph the fact that he is not damaged goods.

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Fellow columnist Recah Trinidad said Pacquiao even joked that if doctors “found something in his heart, it must be the word Jinkee, referring to his wife’s name tattooed on his left chest.”

While actively selling his newfound staying power, Pacquiao has made overtures to fighters like Ukranian Vasyl Lomachenko and old nemesis Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Other elite-level resistance, the likes of Terence Crawford, Errol Spence and Keith Thurman, are salivating to face their sport’s only eight division champion—an automatic Hall of Fame inductee the moment he becomes eligible.

While Pacquiao manages to stay in the spotlight as he pushes 40, his estranged trainer, Freddie Roach, is showing that his work is not done yet, either.

Roach proved he can still hack it as a mentor when Alberto Machado, the only active world champion he handles today, overwhelmingly beat Ghana’s Rafael Mensah to retain his WBA belt in an HBO bout from Las Vegas over the weekend.

As reported in the boxing media, Roach, who trained the Filipino ring icon for 16 years, was stung by Pacquiao’s claim that he has deprived his former ward his full attention during training and in a fight.

After the Matthysse fight, Roach was both supportive and sarcastic of Pacquiao’s triumph.

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He said Pacquiao and his new trainer and long-time friend, Buboy Fernandez, did a good job. Manny still had that “great footwork” and that his “uppercut worked well” while fighting a “very, very good fight,” according to the six-time trainer of the year.

“Him and Buboy pulled it off… I wish I was closer and not watched it on my cellphone.”

Originally scheduled as a pay-per-view offering, the KL fight was instead made available via the ESPN app for $4.99 a pop.

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TAGS: Boxing, Freddie Roach, Lucas Matthysse, Manny Pacquiao, Pacquiao Last Fight opinion
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