MANILA, Philippines - Five-time Trainer of the Year and Hall-of-Famer Freddie Roach admitted that his prized ward, Filipino boxing icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, has trouble fighting boxers with a counterpunching style.
In an interview with the New York Times, Roach said this may cause Pacquiao to have a difficult time if and when he finally fights unbeaten American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"We do have trouble with the counterpunching style, and Floyd is a great counterpuncher," Roach said.
In Pacquiao's last fight, he struggled against another noted counterpuncher, Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico. Despite being the underdog, Marquez impressed many with his performance against Pacquiao, repeatedly tagging the Filipino fighter with straight rights and using his excellent footwork to evade Pacquiao's punches.
Pacquiao ended up winning via a controversial majority decision.
"It was very close and very competitive, and every time they fight they will be the same way," Roach said of Pacquiao's battles against Marquez. "They know each other very well. Manny has trouble with that counterpunching style."
Roach said he and Pacquiao have been working on dealing with counterpunchers, but it remains a challenge for them.
The trainer is hopeful that a mega-fight with Mayweather will happen soon, but acknowledged that the unbeaten boxer will pose a tough challenge for him and his fighter.
"We have to go in with a good game plan," Roach said. "If one guy averages 85 punches a round, and one guy averages 15 punches a round, I think the 85 will beat the 15."
"The thing is, Mayweather is very precise and very conservative with his punches. But he's very accurate and he lands good shots," Roach added.
Mayweather is considered the finest defensive fighter of his generation and is stylistically the opposite of Pacquiao, who made his name through action-filled fights.
"There's no doubt it's a tough fight. It's a challenge and that's why I like it," Roach said. "I like getting ready for challenges, and Mayweather is the biggest challenge for me and Manny."