MANILA, MAY 11, 2007
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Freddie Roach and Justin Fortune, who steered Manny Pacquiao to his greatest triumphs, have bitterly parted ways, barely a month after the Filipino superstar knocked out Mexican Jorge Solis at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

The split came earlier this week when Fortune, an Australian ex-heavyweight, quit Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. Roach, who first met Pacquiao when the boxer walked in uninvited one day in 2001, owns the gym.

"He turned his keys in to one of my assistants, he didn’t want to face me I guess," Roach told boxing chronicler Brad Cooney Wednesday.

Roach also said Fortune even tried to lure Pacquiao’s brother, Bobby, to his fold, and leave Wild Card where he’s training for a June 9 showdown with Mexico’s Humberto Soto at the Madison Square Garden in New York.

"I was informed that Fortune also tried to get Bobby Pacquiao to quit my stable, and to join him instead, but Bobby told him ‘No way,’" Roach added.

Bobby’s decision to stick with Roach at Wild Card already gives a hint of where the more famous Pacquiao would go following the Roach-Fortune split-up.

Manny could not be reached for comment as he was busy in the final days of his campaign for a congressional seat in General Santos City.

Making matters worse, according to Cooney, was that Fortune left without giving Roach his share of the trainer’s fee for the Solis fight, and a recent Israel Vasquez fight, which they also worked.

"I got a message from Fortune, he told me that he’s taking all of the trainer fee money for both Pacquiao, and Vasquez," Cooney quoted Roach as saying.

The first sign of trouble came at the height of Pacquiao’s training for the April 14 bout with Solis as Fortune took the cudgels from Roach who was then busy preparing Oscar de la Hoya for his May 5 showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

But Roach and Fortune said everything was fine, and the former even left the de la Hoya camp in Puerto Rico to be in Pacquiao’s corner during the fight. Days before, an article came out that Fortune didn’t want Roach in the Filipino’s corner.

Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, is not in good terms with Roach, and was the one who wrote the check representing the trainers’ fee under the name of Fortune.

"Brad (Cooney) you know it, and I know it, and Manny knows it, I was always going to be in Manny’s corner in San Antonio, it was Justin that kept telling people that I wasn’t coming, and that I wasn’t in contact with him, and that’s just not true. It’s too bad that some people change when it comes to money. I was beginning to see that Justin was getting too big for his own head when I was in Puerto Rico training Oscar."

Arum ready to settle row with GBP? By John Paul Jubelag The Philippine Star 05/11/2007

GENERAL SANTOS City – Top Rank big boss Bob Arum yesterday signified his intention to settle his protracted legal battle with the Golden Boy Promotions of boxing legend Oscar de la Hoya over the promotional rights to Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.

According to sources, the 75-year-old Arum is now willing to talk with De la Hoya, the chief executive of GBP, to settle the case out of court and avoid further legal expenses between them.

Arum arrived here yesterday from Las Vegas to honor a previous commitment to help Pacquiao, who is seeking the lone congressional seat in Monday’s national elections.

But since the American promoter isn’t allowed to campaign in Philippine elections, Arum said he came over to give his moral support to the boxing champion.

"He came over because we have something to talk about my boxing career," said Pacquiao, who added erstwhile unbeaten Jorge Solis to his growing list of Mexican victims with an eighth round knockout at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas last month.

Arum had earlier said the GBP lawyers had wanted to schedule a deposition before Pacquiao’s fight with Solis but a Los Angeles federal court did not set a compulsory date.

Pacquiao signed a seven-fight contract with GBP last September and received a signing bonus. But after beating Mexican legend Erik Morales in the last part of their trilogy, the 28-year-old Gen. Santos native also sealed a four-year contract with Arum’s Top Rank.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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