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Freddie Roach: Pacquiao to move back to junior welterweight

Freddie Roach says that Manny Pacquiao will be fighting at junior welterweight in his next bout.

Jeoffrey Maitem
Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Manny Pacquiao's upcoming title defense against Chris Algieri, at a 144-pound catchweight, is simply a chance for Manny to test out how he feels before he eventually moves back to junior welterweight, says trainer Freddie Roach.

"That's the only reason we're going to ‘44, that's our choice, not theirs," Roach said Monday at the Pacman Wild Card Gym.

By moving back to 140lbs. Roach expects the knockouts to return for Manny, while also opening up more interesting fights, such as a possible Danny Garcia match that has been mentioned. Danny Garcia has already announced his plans to stick around 140lbs, and is set to take a voluntary title defense before meeting up with Viktor Postol, thus it doesn't seem like he really fits in the Pacquiao picture at the moment. Then again, this is boxing and nothing is ever set in stone...

"There's a lot of competition in the 140-pound division, a lot of them are going to 147 because they want to fight Manny for the bigger money but as soon as Manny goes to 140 all of those will come back down," said Roach.

"He's never been a big puncher at 147," said Roach. "I don't think he's lost his punch or his killer instinct; he's just been fighting bigger, stronger guys. I think the knockouts will still start coming again at 140."

As far as training is concerned, conditioning coach Justin Fortune says Manny is already in good condition and the only issues they've had is the need to scale Pacquiao back a bit. Freddie has also given Manny the green light to play limited minutes in the Kia Sorentos season opener where he'll also double as the coach.

"He likes to do it and it helps his conditioning but doesn’t replace his roadwork," said Roach. "He told me he’s going to go into the game, make an appearance and coach most of the game. As long as that’s the way it is, I told him he can do that, I have no problem."

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