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Pacquiao brushes off kinks in fight vs Matthysse

By Al S. Mendoza


MANNY Pacquiao will fight again two Sundays from today.

And his July 15 bout with Lucas Matthysse is being eagerly awaited for some reasons not exactly of the palatable kind.

For example, why was Freddie Roach nixed as Paquiao’s trainer?

Roach, the Hall of Fame legend, has been Pacquiao’s cornerman since 2001.

Most of what Pacquiao knows in boxing, he got them from Roach.

From a mere brawler and lover of wild blows, Pacquiao was transformed by Roach into a scientific boxer on his way to becoming the first to win eight world titles in eight different weight divisions.

I don’t think that feat will ever be duplicated again; not in the next 50 years or so.

Replacing Roach is Buboy Fernandez, Pacquiao’s childhood chum.  In fairness, Buboy has also been Roach’s assistant from Day One.

But has Buboy been a good student under Roach?

Roach’s sacking has been shrouded in mystery.

To this day, Roach himself does not know why he was ousted.

“The sad thing is, I only learned about my dismissal in the newspapers,” said Roach.

Also begging for an answer is the absence of Bob Arum from Pacquiao’s camp.

As everybody knows, Arum has been Pacquiao’s American promoter for more than 10 years now.

There was no clear explanation as to why Arum has not been actively involved in the fight that stakes Matthysse’s WBA world welterweight belt.

Before Pacquiao started serious training, he told a press conference, “the door is still open for Roach to be in my corner.”

But already hurting from the initial snub, Roach ignored Pacquiao’s rather half-baked invite.

Thus the big question:  Is Buboy Fernandez ready to map out Pacquiao’s overall plan against Matthysse?

Remember, Pacquiao’s last fight was exactly a year ago today, July 1, when he lost his world welter crown in a controversial 12-round decision to Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australian.  Too long a layoff.

Horn, then a huge underdog, lost his title early this year to the unbeaten Terence Crawford by a ninth-round knockout.

While Matthtsse is guaranteed to earn $2.5 million, Pacquiao’s purse remains under wraps.

Well, Pacquiao is actually wearing two hats in the bout set in Kuala Lumpur:  A challenger and the chief fight promoter as well.

Pacquiao’s card boasts of four world title fights, yes, but recent reports indicated money problems besetting the program.

But Pacquiao has assured the boxing world everything’s in order.

And amid technical kinks and operational expenses hounding him, not to mention training irritants, Pacquiao’s foe carries an impressive, if not a terrifying, record.

In Matthysse’s 39 wins, 36 came by knockout.

Since Pacquiao stopped the legendary Miguel Cotto in 2009, he hasn’t won by knockout since.

Worst, he had lost four times after the Cotto fight—to Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Horn.

At age 39, Pacquiao isn’t spring chicken anymore.

I am scared.  I am giddy.  I am praying.

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