By Rebecca BRYAN
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Trainer Freddie Roach says avenging losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez are the top items on Manny Pacquiao’s to-do list, but believes the Filipino will one day face Floyd Mayweather.
But Hall of Fame trainer Roach said Pacquaio’s legacy depends more on turning the tables on the two opponents who beat him in 2012 than on a belated, late-career tilt at Mayweather.
“In the history books you have to avenge your losses, you have to avenge your losses in life,” Roach said Wednesday at his Wild Card gym in Los Angeles, where Pacquiao’s media workout drew a throng.
Pacquiao, the former world champion in eight weight divisions, will get his shot at retribution against Bradley in Las Vegas on April 12.
Both fighters are calling it a chance for redemption, after Bradley beat Pacquiao by a controversial split decision in June 2012 – a bout that many observers thought Pacquiao had dominated.
“We feel we got robbed in the last fight – now we need to be sure that we get the victory,” said Pacquiao, 35, who will be fighting to regain the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown he surrendered to Bradley.
Six months after losing to the American, Pacquiao was knocked out in the sixth round by Mexico’s Marquez in the fourth bout between the two.
If Pacquiao beats Bradley and Marquez beats American Mike Alvarado in May, a fifth Pacquiao-Marquez fight could be on the cards.
“I’m not thinking about the next fight,” Pacquiao said. “I’m thinking about this fight.”
However, Pacquiao can never escape speculation about a matchup with unbeaten Mayweather.
In late 2009 and early 2010, Pacquiao and Mayweather were considered the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters and record profits were expected from a showdown. But a disagreement over pre-fight blood testing scuttled talks.
Mayweather vowed never again to do business with Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, but the subject never goes away.
“I’ve thought about it so much, I’ve had dreams about that fight,” Roach said.
While he added that it seems to be “getting further away instead of closer” Roach added that he thought it would happen simply because there are so few big-draw opponents for Mayweather and Pacquiao as they seek to extend their careers and cement their legacies.
“The pool’s very small for both guys,” Roach said. “Somewhere they’re going to have to fight each other.”
Roach thinks meeting Pacquiao has become more important for Mayweather.
At 45-0 with 26 knockouts, the 37-year-old Mayweather is approaching the 46-0 career mark of retired Welsh star Joe Calzaghe and the iconic 49-0 mark of heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano.
But Roach said that unbeaten record loses some gloss without a Pacquiao fight on it.
“His record looks good, but if he’s so good, why didn’t he fight Pacquiao?” Roach asked.
In the meantime, Pacquaio is calmly getting on with the business of preparing for Bradley, who has twice defended the title he won from Pacquiao and taken his record to 31-0 with 12 knockouts.
In his only fight of 2013 Pacquiao defeated Brandon Rios to take his record to 55-5 with two draws and 38 knockouts.
Asked if there was anything he saw from Bradley in their first fight that concerned him, Pacquiao thought for a moment, and said: “No, nothing.”