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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pacquiao trainer Roach reveals strategy for defeating Mayweather


By Lyle Fitzsimmons
CBSSports.com
Pacquiao-and-Freddie-RoachThere’s aggression. Then there’s effective aggression.
And if you ask Freddie Roach about the variety he’s instructing Manny Pacquiao to employ on May 2 when he finally gets Floyd Mayweather Jr. into a Las Vegas ring, it’s certainly the latter.
“In the [Chris] Algieri fight, [Manny] followed him too much, and I wasn’t really happy about the way he went about that fight,” Roach told CBSSports.com, referring to Pacquiao’s 12-round thrashing of the previously unbeaten Long Islander, in which the Filipino scored multiple knockdowns while pursuing quarry whose own strategy seemed more in line with survival than conquest.
Against Mayweather, whose movement is typically more strategic, the chase is more nuanced, too.
“The first thing in the gym here, we go back to cutting the ring off and how he’s going to fight Mayweather and not fall into traps,” Roach said. “Mayweather does set traps. When he’s moving along the ropes and you follow him, he will set you up for the right hand. That is something we had to work on. We work on it every day. And Manny knows the answer to that puzzle every time. Every time I set the trap, he steps away and puts himself in a neutral position.
“That’s the smartest thing to do against Mayweather at this point.”
Argentine brawler Marcos Maidana was nothing if not aggressive in two bouts with Mayweather in 2014, and he was able to score effectively through the first half of the initial match with an approach that called for him to bully the older man along the ropes and make consistent contact not only with fists – but with forearms, elbows and his head, too.
Maidana threw 858 punches to Mayweather’s 426 in the first fight, but was nonetheless out-landed, 230-221. Still, it was the most shots ever landed by a Mayweather opponent. In the second fight, Mayweather landed 166 to Maidana’s 122, though he threw only 326 to Maidana’s 572.
Mayweather adjusted and took control of the initial fight as Maidana in the latter half, and he generally looked better from start to finish in the second bout thanks both to more effective movement and a better game plan for when Maidana went all-in on tumult. His foe, on the other hand, seemed to have no alternative for moments when “Money” repositioned the playing field.
That, Roach said, is what’ll separate his man from victims 1 through 47.
“I’m having Manny working on not staying in the pocket too long and getting out before Mayweather hits you back,” he said. “Because Mayweather, when you hit him and fight him, he will fight back. When he does take a rest on the ropes and his legs start to fade a little bit, Manny will dominate him at that point. Manny is really fired up for this. I’ve never seen him more excited for a fight.
“I’ve never seen him more enthusiastic about what I’m teaching him and what I’m showing him. The responses back are really, really great. I really like where he is right now. This is the first time we’ve fought a fighter, I think in our lifetime, that he doesn’t like the opponent.”
And lest anyone think otherwise, it means a little something to the trainer, too.
Roach was in Oscar De La Hoya’s corner when the “Golden Boy” met Mayweather in a 2007 match that still holds a record for most pay-per-view buys – more than 2.4 million – that Mayweather-Pacquiao is expected to challenge. Mayweather won a split decision over De La Hoya, who remains the only opponent to ever “win” an official scorecard against Mayweather in a fight that went the distance.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Maidana subsequent managed “even” cards against him in 2013 and 2014.
“Manny has been wanting this fight for a long time. I’ve been waiting this fight for a long time,” Roach said. “I thought Oscar won the first six rounds when we fought him, and he kind of blew it after a while because he just got too caught up in the fight.
“I look forward to challenges and this is a huge challenge for me.”
Freddie Roach thinks he knows something 47 other Mayweather opponents didn't know. (Getty Images)
Freddie Roach thinks he knows something 47 other Mayweather opponents didn’t know. (Getty Images)

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