"Well, you know, Floyd Sr. and I have had our differences in the past, but it's just getting your guy ready for a fight. I'm sure we'll go at it again if we're fighting Ricky Hatton next, which is not a done deal yet, but it's very close to being done. Me and Manny will meet with Bob Arum tonight and see what our next fight will be. It looks like Ricky Hatton is going to be first and then Floyd Jr. second," stated world-class trainer Freddie Roach as he talked about the likelihood of Manny Pacquiao facing Ricky Hatton and then Floyd Mayweather Jr. in his next two fights. You don't want to miss what else he had to say about Pacquiao, Andrei Arlovski's next fight being in a boxing ring after he faces Fedor Emelianenko and much more.
PC: You seem to be well on your way to winning our year-end award for "Trainer of the Year." How do you feel about the way 2008 wrapped up for you?
FR: It was a great year and ended it with the biggest win in my life.
PC: At one point, Manny Pacquiao was truly a one-handed fighter. You made him your fighter and you have meant so much to him. How much does it mean for you to see his progression over the years?
FR: It's great that a guy like him with such skills could still learn and he's very capable of getting better and being much improved. Usually it's frustrating because guys usually peak out at a certain point, but Manny is getting better and he's just the greatest guy in the world to work with.
PC: I remember at one point when Manny was going through it with Murad Muhammad. You really stuck by Manny in guiding him. It has to make you feel good that he believed in you and basically put his career in your hands.
FR: Yeah, a lot of people were trying to get him away from me. Manny is a very loyal guy and he's very loyal to me. We have good rapport with each other and it's almost like a father-son relationship and it works out great. He listens to me really well and trusts me and I do the same with him.
PC: We know what the reception is like for Manny over in the Philippines, but how are you greeted over there Freddie?
FR: I get treated so great over there, I might move there (laughing). They treat me very well over there. I sat with the President over there and we ate dinner together. The people are nice people and it's just a great place.
PC: You really wanted the De La Hoya fight and made some bold predictions leading up to the fight. Were those predictions made because you had trained Oscar and knew what he offered or were they made because you knew the athlete that you had?
FR: I knew his weaknesses and I knew he had a problem with southpaws. He just doesn't know how to fight a lefty and Manny's speed was just too much for him. I trained Oscar and I learned a lot about him and he didn't think so at the time, but it showed on fight night (laughing).
PC: Were you surprised at how easy the fight came to be for Manny?
FR: I was surprised. I thought the gameplan was going to take a little longer to develop. I thought the first couple of rounds might be tough. I thought Oscar might try and come out strong like he did Mayweather, but after that first punch landed and I saw the look in Oscar's face, I knew the fight was over.
PC: Oscar said before the fight that you gave him the wrong gameplan against Mayweather Jr. Did you take that personal?
FR: I did take it personally and it gave me a lot of incentive and the thing is, I wasn't the one that came up with the gameplan; he was.
PC: In a perfect world Freddie, guide us through Manny's next couple of moves.
FR: In a perfect world, I would like to see him fight Ricky Hatton next and then Floyd Mayweather Jr. and then I would like to see Manny retire and become President of the Philippines.
PC: It's rare that Floyd Mayweather Sr. gives you a compliment, but when I spoke to him right after the De La Hoya fight, he said that everything you stated about Oscar leading up to the fight was dead on. Are you shocked that he served you up a compliment?
FR: Well, you know, Floyd Sr. and I have had our differences in the past, but it's just getting your guy ready for a fight. I'm sure we'll go at it again if we're fighting Ricky Hatton next, which is not a done deal yet, but it's very close to being done. Me and Manny will meet with Bob Arum tonight and see what our next fight will be. It looks like Ricky Hatton is going to be first and then Floyd Jr. second.
PC: The fight with De La Hoya is the heaviest that Manny has ever fought at. Is 147 the highest you will let him go?
FR: Yeah, I think that's his limit. He only weighed 42 for the fight and 48 going into the ring so 47 is the highest he will go for sure. There are a lot of good fights out there for us of course. You have Floyd Jr. if he comes back, Cotto and Margarito. There are a lot of good fights at 47 and there are a lot of good fights at 140 also. Any weight division we're in, we'll fight the best no problem.
PC: You're the hottest trainer out there in boxing right now, but you're becoming more popular within the MMA ranks as well. Would you be comfortable with seeing some of the guys you're working with inside of a boxing ring?
FR: Yeah, definitely! If Andrei wins against Fedor on the 24th, I would put him right into a title fight with Nikolai Valuev right away. It would be Belarus vs. Russia and that's huge marketing for PPV and Andrei has a huge crowd in that area. He will cross over into boxing though; that is a definite. His next fight after Fedor will be a boxing match.
PC: Do you think so many of these guys are contemplating a move to boxing because the money in MMA is still relatively low compared to boxing?
FR: Yeah! You know, the thing is if the PPV numbers are true that MMA is giving, and what they're getting paid something is wrong (laughing). I think boxers went through that for a long time. I think the problem is that the fighters are the draw and not the promoters. It seems like the promoters in MMA are taking all of the money. But Andrei went to Affliction because they're paying a lot more money than the UFC and that's a good sign for the sport and I believe a good fight is a good fight. I don't care if it's boxing or MMA; I just like to watch a good fight.
PC: As always, I appreciate your time Freddie. Good luck in 2009. Is there anything you would like to say in closing?
FR: Thank you very much, I appreciate it and I will hear from you soon!
[ Follow Percy Crawford on Twitter @MrFighthype ]