Manny Pacquiao can fill in for Floyd Mayweather in case the brash American fighter opts not to proceed with a crossover showdown with mixed-martial arts star Connor McGregor, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach said yesterday.
But Roach, who has trained Pacquiao since 2001, insists that the fight will have to be fought in a boxing ring as the duo gets ready for Jeff Horn on July 2 in Brisbane, Australia.
“Not in an octagon and boxing gloves will have to be used and boxing will rules will be enforced,” Roach said during the PSA Forum at the Golden Phoenix Hotel.
“Manny is not trained in the ground game and wrestling although he loves to imitate Bruce Lee but he is not a UFC fighter. He is a pure boxer,” said Roach when asked about the possibility of seeing Pacquiao slug it out with McGregor.
For a fight to happen, “it has to be a boxing match,” said the 57-year-old Roach.
There have been talks that Mayweather will go for an unprecedented win No. 50 against McGregor and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has also made it known that the eight-division champ Filipino can step up to the plate.
Talks about a McGregor fight swirled even as Pacquiao and Roach welcomed the arrival of a new sparmate from Mexico: Adrian Young.
Roach immediately put the 24-year-old Young to the test and did three rounds with Pacquiao, whom Roach, swears was getting better following his lackadaisical showing exactly a week ago.
If victorious against Horn, Roach believes Pacquiao can still rack up to four fights before riding into the sunset.
“Manny has to look good in his fight to get a big fight. We should knock this guy out,” said Roach, stressing that Pacquiao is poised to take on a new generation of fighters after he takes care of Horn.
“He knows what’s in front of him and the better he performs, the bigger fight he gets. We need one at this point,” added Roach.