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Pacquiao cuts ties with longtime trainer Roach

From ESPN - April 13, 2018

During their 16-year, 34-fight association, ring legend Manny Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach reached glorious heights and forged a seemingly unbreakable bond. Until Friday.

That is when Pacquiao made it official that he had fired Roach, doing so in the final sentence of a news release related to his upcoming fight with Lucas Matthysse and without contacting Roach directly.

A little more than a year since losing his welterweight belt by highly controversial decision to Jeff Horn last July in Horn's hometown of Brisbane, Australia, Pacquiao is scheduled to return to the ring to challenge secondary welterweight world titlist Lucas Matthysse at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ,on an ESPN platform to be determined on July 15 (July 14 United States time). And Roach, for the first time since Pacquiao's 2001 United States debut, will not be in his corner.

"Pacquiao will be joined by his new promotions team along with trainers Restituto "Buboy" Fernandez and Raides "Nonoy" Neri," the release read.

Fernandez and Neri are longtime friends of Pacquiao's. Fernandez is like a brother to Pacquiao and has been in his corner for every fight of his career as an assistant, and Neri has been a part of his camp for years, mainly as a cook. But neither have the kind of experience or accomplishment of Roach.

From 2003 to 2014, during his heyday with Pacquiao, Roach won the Boxing Writers Association of America trainer of the year award a record seven times and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012. Under Roach's guidance, Pacquiao, who has won world titles in a record eight weight classes, won seven of them with Roach and also was voted the BWAA fighter of the year three times and the 2000s fighter of the decade.

Roach took the high road when it became clear he had been let go.

"Manny and I had a great run for [16] years -- longer than most marriages and certainly a rarity for boxing," Roach said on Friday in a statement given to ESPN. "I would not trade any of it. Inside the boxing ring and the political ring, I wish Manny nothing but the best. I would be lying if I did not say I was not hurt that he did not contact me personally about his decision, but the great times we enjoyed together far outweigh that."

Two weeks ago it was apparent that Roach was out even though nothing had been made official when Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's longtime adviser, told ESPN, "Manny has told me Buboy will be handling the training on this fight. What's important to Manny is that he has one voice to listen to in the corner that he trusts, and I guess that's Buboy for this fight.

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