MANILA, Philippines – Boxing trainer Freddie Roach is reluctant to see his two fighters, Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao and Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov, face off against each other, but he has to admit that it is the best fight possible for the “Pacman.”
Provodnikov, a former sparring partner of Pacquiao, is one of the possible opponents of the Filipino when he fights again in April 2014, and Roach acknowledged that the Russian – with his come-forward style – is a good stylistic match-up for the Filipino icon.
He remains hesitant about a Pacquiao-Provodnikov showdown, however.
“I don’t want my own guy, Ruslan, losing, because we’ve worked so hard on making him what he is today,” Roach said in an ESPN interview of Provodnikov, who won a world light-welterweight title in October after stopping Mike Alvarado.
“But my sense is, when it comes down to it, it could be Ruslan next for Manny,” Roach admitted. “He comes into town today. I’ve asked him about it, and he said he’d rather retire (than fight Manny). And I’ve said it would be a big payday and his family would be secure.”
Provodnikov has since gotten over his initial reluctance and said he is willing to face off against Pacquiao, although he insists that the “Pacman” is not his first choice of opponent.
“I told him I wouldn’t blame him if he took the (Pacquiao) fight,” Roach said. “We have to make a living and our activity time is very short.”
“I’m trying not to make it happen, but to be honest, it’s probably the best fight for Manny. I’ve seen them spar many times, and it is competitive,” he added.
Roach’s opinion may be for naught, as it has been reported that Pacquiao has chosen unbeaten Timothy Bradley as his opponent, although the trainer is not yet convinced.
“I want Manny to look good in his next fight,” Roach said, “and I think maybe, Tim Bradley wants too much money. Plus, I think he will run all night and make a poor showing for Manny.”
Bradley infamously beat Pacquiao via a highly controversial split decision when they fought in June 2012.