[PHOTO AT LEFT - Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach]

MANILA, APRIL 5, 2010 (STAR) By Joaquin Henson - Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach is predicting that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will beat WBA welterweight champion Sugar Shane Mosley by decision in their 12-round bout in Las Vegas on May 1.

If Mayweather dethrones Mosley, it will only be logical for Pretty Boy to face Pacquiao, who holds the WBO title, in a unification showdown. Pacquiao is now recognized as the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, an honor that was once Mayweather’s until he retired over two years ago. Mayweather is now back in active ring duty and itching to reclaim his throne.

“Shane’s my friend and I hope he wins but he has trouble with speed and movement and likes guys to come to him so it’s going to be difficult,” said Roach in a guest column on London’s Boxing News.

Roach, who has been involved in a word war with Mayweather’s foul-mouthed father Floyd Sr., seemed reconciliatory in remarking that “I like Floyd as a person ...out of the Mayweathers, he’s one of the better ones.”

The celebrated Wild Card Gym of Los Angeles owner said Mayweather has never disrespected him and always calls him Mr. Roach. But in anticipation of a duel with Pacquiao, Roach said it’s likely that Mayweather will turn against him in the process of hyping what is being billed as the “Fight of the Decade.”

“Floyd’s scared of my guy,” said Roach. “I let him use my gym when he was doing ‘Dancing With The Stars’ before the Ricky Hatton fight and I’ve known him since he was a little kid. He’s not a bad guy. But the only way the fight with Manny is going to happen is we go by the commission drug-testing rules.”

Roach said just like every fan, he’s looking forward to a Pacquiao-Mayweather battle. Still, he expressed doubt that it will push through “if (Mayweather) tries to bring in his own company for Olympic-style testing or any of that rubbish, the fight’s not going to happen.”

Roach, 50, said if the Mayweather-Mosley winner dodges Pacquiao, boxing will suffer a serious blow.

“Let’s face it, people want to see Pacquiao-Mayweather,” said Roach, quoted by Bob Velin in USA Today. “If the Mayweather-Mosley winner doesn’t come around, where do we have to go? We’re going to do whatever it takes to make that fight. The only thing we won’t do is to let Floyd call the shots and make the rules because he’s not that big. Any commission test and sanctioning body test, we’ll do. But we will not do private testing with a company that Floyd hires.”

The issue of blood-testing derailed plans to stage a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight last March. Mayweather insisted on Olympic-style random blood-testing even the day or hours before the fight while Pacquiao said he will agree to the examination only up to 14 days leading to the bout.

“Floyd doesn’t realize that he’s killing his own sport,” said Roach. “I get upset that some people can’t accept that Manny’s just a great fighter. Manny is one of the hardest-working people I’ve ever seen. He has a lot of distractions around him but once he comes through the gym doors, all that goes away.”

Mayweather has accused Pacquiao of taking performance enhancing drugs or steroids to maintain his speed and power while moving up and down different weight divisions. But what Mayweather failed to appreciate is the scientific conditioning program that Pacquiao undergoes in invading higher weight classes.

Since Pacquiao contracted conditioning coach Alex Ariza for his assault on the WBC lightweight title held by David Diaz in 2008, he has been unstoppable. With Ariza in his team, Pacquiao has won three world titles in two years – lightweight, lightwelterweight and welterweight – to add to his collection that now lists seven championships in different divisions.

So far in his career as a trainer, Roach has worked with 27 world champions. Pacquiao is No. 1 in his list of clients.

“I think I have the best fighters in the world, that’s why I’m the best trainer,” he said. “When the bell rings, I sit down and they fight. My key to success is hanging out with good fighters. I’m probably having more fun than I ever had in my life.”

Roach said there’s no short-cut to success and it’s all about working hard.

“I know my job but when they get in the ring, I sit down so I give the credit to them,” he continued. “But I like getting the Trainer of the Year award which the Boxing Writers Association of America awarded me for the fourth time recently because it’s named after my trainer and mentor Eddie Futch so it’s a great honor. Training fighters is all I do. I don’t have time for anything else.”

Boxing writer Bert Randolph Sugar said, “Freddie Roach is up there among the all-time greats. Like a jockey with a racehorse, a trainer is known by the productivity of his fighters. And Freddie’s done one hell of a job.”

Pacquiao is Roach’s prized trophy. Together, the team is unbeatable in pro boxing today.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved