MANILA (Reuters) – Manny Pacquiao has not decided on the fate of his long-time American trainer Freddie Roach, the Filipino said as he prepares for his bout against Argentine welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse for the World Boxing Association (WBA) crown in July.
“First, I would like to clarify about that issue with Freddie Roach,” the 39-year-old eight-division world champion told a news conference on Wednesday to promote the fight which will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“Freddie and I… we’re like a close family, and I didn’t make any decision yet about Freddie Roach, but if, assuming, I will make a decision about Freddie Roach and choose Buboy Fernandez as head coach for this fight, I’m still not closing the door with Freddie.
“We just want to try and experience how Buboy will handle this one fight and after that we go back to Freddie,” said Pacquiao, who last fought in a unanimous points loss to Australian Jeff Horn in July last year.
Pacquiao also expressed his desire for a bout in Manila, possibly against Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko, after he fights Matthysse.
“That’s one of my plans, fighting Lomachenko, and also my plan is to have a fight here in Manila. So either Lomachenko or anybody as long as it’s here in Manila, no problem. It’s going to be exciting.”
Matthysse, who beat Thailand’s Tewa Kiram to win the vacant WBA welterweight belt in January, said he would fiercely defend the title.
“Sure, you know, Manny’s won so many titles. He’s done so much in boxing. I’ve only won one title and I’m not going to give it up. I’ll die for it if I have to.
“He’s had a great history in boxing and this is my time, this is my time, and I’m going to defend this title until death,” added the 35-year-old.
(Reporting by Ronn Bautista; Writing by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Ken Ferris)