When Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Ricky “Hitman” Hatton meet in “The Battle of East and West,” more than just Hatton’s junior welterweight championship belts will be at stake. The ante will also include Pacquiao’s coveted title as boxing’s No. 1 pound for pound fighter. Simultaneously the stakes will be just as high for their respective trainers Freddie Roach and Floyd Mayweather, Sr., acknowledged as the two best trainers in the game today. The promotion commissioned a specially designed four-tier trophy, measuring over five feet in height, with the inscription “No. 1 Pound for Pound Best Trainer in the World,” to be presented to the trainer of the winning fighter. The trophy was unveiled to the trainers and international media covering Monday evening’s red carpet Hollywood premiere news conference for “The Battle of East and West,” at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, Calif., which hosted the very first Academy Awards eighty years ago.
Though “The Battle of East and West” isn’t scheduled to take place until May 2, the war of the words between the two trainers began in earnest the minute the fight was announced.
“They’ve got Roach in the Hall of Fame. He should be in the Hall of Shame,” said Mayweather. “Let’s tell the truth like it is, you see Freddie Roach training and you see me training, it’s night and day. Don’t even compare. Don’t even come close. Freddie Roach is a joke. And that’s why I say his name is “Freddie the Joke Coach Roach,” as far as I’m concerned.”
Roach, recently named 2008 Trainer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America for an unprecedented third time has his own take on Mayweather.
“Floyd can read some good poems that’s all he’s good at that I know of. What has Floyd Senior achieved? His son’s a natural-born fighter. His brother Roger trained him anyway. Floyd never trained his son for a world title fight. He tells me he’s the greatest but what has he done? He trained Oscar De La Hoya after Oscar has already won four world titles. Floyd is a legend in his own mind.”