Manny Pacquiao: 'Freddie Roach has been good for my soul'

Kevin Lee

Manny Pacquiao reflects warmly on his business relationship and friendship with trainer Freddie Roach.

We know you have a fantastic relationship with Freddie Roach. How much has he meant to you personally & professionally?

"Freddie Roach has meant everything to my professional boxing career and to me personally. I cannot overstate my feelings for him.

"We bonded the first time we ever worked together and that was at Wild Card Boxing Club in 2001. My then-manager brought me to Wild Card looking for someone to hit the mitts with me and Freddie volunteered. After the first round I went back to my corner and said, "I just found my new trainer," and Freddie went back to his corner and said, "I just found my new fighter." We've been a team ever since.

"Our first fight together was when we got a late call to challenge IBF junior featherweight champion Lehlo Ledwaba. We had only worked together four or five weeks and we won our first world title together when I knocked Ledwaba out. If that's not a sign I don't know what is. It was providence.

"My English was not very good back then but we had no problem understanding each other. Our success as a professional team can be read on my resume, but it's our relationship outside the ring which has meant so much more to me

"At various times Freddie has been a father and a brother to me. When I needed advice or assistance he always came through for me, either personally or by setting me up with the right people. He has been such a big influence on me and he has had a great impact on my life and my career. He gave me the foundation to become the person I am today and if not for Freddie perhaps I would not be able to accomplish the things I have. I am successful and independent because of the years of guidance Freddie has given to me.

"As a trainer Freddie inspires me to be the best I can be inside the gym and inside the ring. He is a wonderful teacher. The way he lives his life and faces his affliction inspires me personally and spiritually.

"Freddie Roach has been good for my soul. He has been a blessing. I never want to let Master Freddie down and I will always pray for him."

24/7 Pacquiao/Rios Finale debuts Thursday, Nov. 21 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.

Pacquiao vs. Rios takes place Saturday, Nov. 23 live on pay-per-view beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.

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