(NI VIRGI T. ROMANO, Saksi Ngayon, Sports Editor)
LOS ANGELES – MATAPOS ang umaatikabong pakikipagsagupa kay Keith Thurman noong Sabado ng gabi (Linggo ng umaga sa Manila) sa Las Vegas, kung saan nanaig si Manny Pacquiao ng split decision, bukod pa sa naagaw nito ang pagiging ‘super champion’ ng WBA welterweight division mula kay Thurman, wala pang plano hinggil sa susunod na laban.
At para kay training consultant at Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, bagama’t nakikita niyang marami pang laman ang tangke ni Pacquiao, kinakailangan nitong maghinay-hinay sa pagtanggap ng susunod na kalaban.
Ayon kay Roach, mabigat na laban para sa 40-anyos na si Pacquiao sakaling ikasa ito sinuman kina Errol Spence at Terrence Crawford.
“Yes, I feel he does but the thing is those are really, really hard fights…We have nobody in mind right now. We know those guys are out there, yes. And we know we want to be the best in this division, and we’re not just fighting for fun, you know? So if like Mayweather comes around, great. But if he doesn’t, Spence, ‘Bud’ Crawford, those guys, I mean young guys doing really well and very, very tough fights. But we have to really, really sit down, everything settles, and make a good decision of who’s next,” komento ni Roach.
Kaugnay ng naging performance ni Pacquiao kay Thurman, sinabi ni Roach na nasiyahan siya at ipinakita lamang umano ng Pambansang Kamao na kaya pa nitong makipagsabayan kahit sa mas batang kalaban.
“Overall I’m happy with the performance. He did very well. The thing is, I even said this could be a great happy ending because this was a great fight. The thing is right now I say that because we don’t know what’s next, who we’re gonna fight next and so forth — we just need to sit down, lay back a little while, and make a good decision with our minds on correctly,” pahayag ni Roach.
Dagdag pa niya: “I thought he did very well, I thought he fought a great fight, he showed a lot of heart in the fight but the thing is I don’t want to see Manny ever hurt in a fight either. And he got hit a little bit too much in this fight but the thing is his defense was just off a little bit and his opponent gave him some problems when he was turning southpaw and so forth. But overall it was a good fight.”
ELLERBE, ‘DI RIN PABOR
Maging si Leonard Ellerbe, CEO ng Mayweather Promotions, ay hindi pabor na pagharapin sina Pacquiao at Spence at hindi rin aniya ito irerekomenda sa Fighting Senator.
“I wouldn’t do it,” wika ni Ellerbe sa panayam ng boxingscene.com. “I’m just saying, if it was me – sometimes you can just push the envelope too far. Spence is a huge welterweight, who’s in his prime, different kind of skill set, can punch with either hand. But Manny Pacquiao’s the kind of dude, he want that work. You’ve got to reel him back. … I would say no, don’t do that. That’s me, because I care about the guy. That’s a rough fight.”
Ang kompanya ni Ellerbe, Premier Boxing Champions, ang co-promoter ng Pacquiao-Thurman fight.