Roach flies to Russia
By Joaquin Henson Updated Monday November 24, 2014 - 12:00am

Manny Pacquiao with Freddie Roach (left) and Justin Fortune in a victorious dugout pose.


MACAU - Freddie Roach expects to leave for Moscow today and work Ruslan Provodnikov's 12-round fight against grizzled veteran Jose Luis Castillo of Mexico on Friday, taking no rest from his busy schedule.

In the dressing room after Manny Pacquiao retained his WBO welterweight crown via a unanimous 12-round decision over Chris Algieri at the Cotai Arena here yesterday, Roach said he's been assured of a Russian visa from the embassy in Hong Kong. Once the visa is stamped on his passport, Roach said he'll head straight for the airport to take the first flight out to Moscow.

Provodnikov, who lost the WBO lightwelterweight title to Algieri on a split decision last June, is now in Russia with Roach's Filipino assistant Marvin Somodio. Provodnikov, 30, hopes a convincing win over Castillo will bring him back in the world title picture. Castillo, 40, is a former IBA superfeatherweight and WBC lightweight champion. The Mexican lost twice to Floyd Mayweather on points and also engaged the late Diego Corrales twice. Castillo's record is 66-12-1, with 57 KOs while Provodnikov has a 23-3 mark, with 16 KOs.

Roach said he wasn't surprised that the Pacquiao-Algieri bout went the distance. "I knew Algieri was going to run," he said. "In the first 30 seconds of the fight, I saw how it would end. Algieri was scared out there, really intimidated by Manny. Was I disappointed that Manny didn't knock him out? Sure, I was but I also realized what Manny was up against. Algieri just wouldn't fight. That's what happens when you've got a fighter who's not willing to mix it up. You end up running around. All that talk about Algieri going for a knockout was just that, all talk. He didn't come out looking for anything except to survive."

Roach would've liked Pacquiao to end his long knockout drought, now extended to nine fights since 2009. Before the fight, Roach told Unus Alladin of the South China Morning Post that it was time to silence the critics who claim Pacquiao has lost his killer's instinct and power finisher.

"The way everything has been going in training camp, the way he's punching and the way he has hit me on the mitts, he's doing well and I think he really deep down wants to win by knockout and kind of quiet everybody down since he hasn't knocked anybody out in a while," said Roach. "He was too compassionate and too nice (before). I'm hard on a bit, too. Why doesn't he finish people and he tells me, 'I just want to win the fight and I don't really want to hurt the guy.' I said, 'Well, Manny, they are trying to hurt you and one punch can change the fight (like against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012). He knows he needs big wins.

"He's really fired up. He knocked me down (in training) and said sorry. He's knocked down two sparring partners. When he hurts this guy, I think he's going to finish him."

Roach said Pacquiao tried to knock out Algieri and they talked about it before the fight. "Manny told me I should say, 'In Jesus' name, I want a knockout,' and so I did," he continued. "But it didn't happen because Algieri didn't come to fight."

Roach said he was never worried about Algieri's power. In compiling 20 straight wins before running into Pacquiao, Algieri had registered only eight knockouts. "He doesn't have punching power," said Roach to Alladin. "He can't punch. If his jab doesn't work, he'll be lost. That's his best weapon and once we take it away, he'll be lost."

Algieri hesitated to fire his vaunted left jab because Pacquiao would counter it with a right over the top or a left moving away. He was reluctant to engage, afraid it would create openings for Pacquiao. Algieri fought defensively and showed little offense. It was evident he only wanted to go the distance with Pacquiao and keep his faculties intact.

Roach ripped Algieri for failing to make the catchweight limit of 144 pounds in his first attempt. Algieri earned an undergraduate degree in health science at Stony Brook University in New York and a Master's degree in clinical nutrition from the New York Institute of Technology. "I thought he's a nutritionist so why didn't he make weight on his first try?" wondered Roach.

At the weigh-in last Saturday morning, Algieri tip-toed on the digital scales in a trial and the pointer went to 144.4 pounds. He took off his golden necklace and shorts and behind a towel to cover his private parts, scaled 144.2 in his first official hop. Algieri went to the backroom and did some sweating for 20 minutes then returned to make weight at 143.6. Pacquiao was within the limit at 143.8 in his first try.

For the fight, Pacquiao weighed at 149 and Algieri ballooned to 155. Curiously, Algieri fought his previous fight as a lightwelterweight. It appeared that he couldn't control his weight despite moving up from 140. The added weight, however, didn't seem to affect Algieri's stamina or footwork. Against Pacquiao, Algieri ran almost the entire fight. He was decked six times but Pacquiao couldn't take him out for good.


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