Roach to Floyd: 'Step up to the plate'

Trainer Freddie Roach wants his star fighter, Manny Pacquiao, to get a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. as much as anyone and has no problem speaking out about it.

Roach is in Macau, China, getting Pacquiao ready for his welterweight title defense against junior welterweight titleholder Chris Algieri at the Cotai Arena in Macau, China on Sunday morning. With the time difference, HBO's live telecast will air Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET).

But in the final prefight conference call with boxing media members on Thursday, the subject of Mayweather naturally came up. That came as no surprise, especially since Top Rank’s Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, has been talking once again about the prospect of a deal for the fight the public has wanted for years.

After taking a few slaps at Algieri, including a knockout prediction (“about three” rounds) and saying that he was “in way over his head” and that he would be “overwhelmed” by Pacquiao’s speed, Roach addressed a Mayweather fight once again.

“I’m going to have to tell Manny, 'Don’t beat up Algieri too bad because Mayweather will run even more,'” Roach said. “He’s scared of us now, and he’s going to be more scared of us after we destroy this guy. Mayweather, you know, show some balls and step up to the plate.”

While Roach has never hidden his desire for the fight, Pacquiao has only recently begun to be more outspoken about his desire to face Mayweather, who has been reluctant to make the fight.

“He’s been talking more and more about Floyd,” Roach said. “The more time goes by, the more he talks about it. Manny wants the fight badly. After seeing Floyd’s last couple fights, he wants him even more. He just wants to prove he’s the best fighter in the world, and he’ll take that zero and give [Floyd] his first one.”

Like everyone, Roach is frustrated that the fight has gone unmade for nearly four years since it first became the focus of the boxing world.

“I’ve been waiting for this fight for a long time,” Roach said. “I’m anxious for this fight. I like challenges. Mayweather is a challenge. He’s a good fighter but, obviously, I’m tired of people asking me about if the fight’s going to happen and so forth because I can’t give them a real, true answer because this guy keeps running away and running away and running away.”