Roach lauds Marquez, gets raw on Floyd

Trainer Freddie Roach, right, sees only one challenge for Manny Pacquiao beyond Juan Manuel Marquez. Chris Farina/Top Rank

Manny Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, is confident that his fighter's third encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand on Saturday will be the most entertaining yet. The reason, he says, is that Marquez, who has lately been campaigning as a lightweight, has apparently been adding muscle to make the 144-pound limit for this fight.

"Marquez has become a more fan-friendly fighter; he isn't strictly a counterpuncher anymore," Roach told reporters at the MGM Grand on Tuesday. "Let's face it, when you put muscle on, you put muscle on for one reason, and that's to exchange. I like that. If he wants to exchange with us, I think that's great. He's getting ready for a big fight. He used to be a pinpoint counterpuncher, and I think the muscles are going to hurt his counterpunching but help in the strength area, and so I think he's going to fight us. This will be the best of the three fights with the way both these guys are getting ready, in my mind.

"He's going to come and use his power the best he can. I think he's going to start quick and just go for it, and that's why I'm going to have Manny warmed up really well and ready. [This fight is] going to be good for boxing because both guys are going to try their best and really, really go at it. This is a much more exciting fight than [Floyd] Mayweather."

That said, he acknowledges that a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather is something for which fans are clamoring and is, candidly, after the Marquez bout, the only one that really interests him. But that doesn't mean Roach is equally enthusiastic about the potential opponent himself, or optimistic the matchup will ever take place.

"I don't see any other real challenges," he said. "I think that fight needs to happen, because it's the only challenge out there. I think about that fight, and it's a great challenge and all that, and everywhere I travel in the world, people are excited about that fight and ask me to make it happen. But I'm getting kind of tired of Floyd, to be honest with you. Shut up and fight or not. He wants to make the rules, he wants to dictate everything. We'll fight him any day of the week, under Nevada state regulations. Who the f--- is he to try and make the rules?

"[If he doesn't fight Pacquiao] there'll be a question mark after his undefeated record. He only fights guys he can beat, little guys and all that stuff. Now he's calling us 'the little fella.' I think he's referring to Manny, but I really don't know. He sends Leonard Ellerbe, his gopher, to make a speech. Who the hell's Leonard Ellerbe? Why won't Floyd say it himself? I'm just kind of tired of it. If that fight doesn't happen, I'm not going to cry."