Tag Archives: Curious

Freddie Roach: Meeting Kobe Bryant was ‘best day’ of Manny Pacquiao’s life

One was curious about the science behind training for boxing, while the other was a huge basketball fan. So when Kobe Bryant spent a day with Manny Pacquiao at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles in 2011, the two had plenty to chat about.

Their encounter occurred as Pacquiao was training for his third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao was the reigning WBO welterweight champion and in the midst of an incredible run where he had beaten Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Oscar De La Hoya over the previous three years.

Bryant, meanwhile, had some unexpected time on his hands. The NBA was in the midst of a lockout while the league and the players association negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement. Bryant wouldn’t begin his 16th season until December.

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s longtime trainer and owner of the Wild Card, has had plenty of celebrities stop by his gym, but Bryant’s visit stood out.

“When Kobe came in, he was a gentleman,” Roach told The Post this week. “He asked me about Manny’s training methods and how we came up with his training camp structure and why we did things in a particular order. He was a really good guy and nice to everybody.”

If Bryant wanted to talk boxing, Pacquiao wanted to talk basketball. The Fighting Senator from the Philippines loves basketball to the point where he owns and plays on his own basketball team in the Philippines and pays other teams to face his team.

“He went crazy when Kobe came in that day,” Roach said of Pacquiao. “That was unbelievable. It was the best day of his life, I think.”

When news spread on Sunday that Bryant, 41, was among nine people killed in a helicopter crash, Pacquiao tweeted his condolences: “The world lost a legend today but the impact and legacy he leaves behind will last forever! #RIPMamba.”

The tweet included a picture of when the two met that day at the Wild Card.

“Manny asked him about basketball and shooting and how to become a better player,” Roach said. “He’s not shy about asking questions. Manny still plays basketball every day. He has an indoor court at his house. He’s a fanatic about basketball. I know losing Kobe is a really great loss to Manny as well as the whole world.”

Pacquiao, 41, is entering his fourth decade of boxing and remains an elite fighter 25 years after his first professional bout. He owns the WBA welterweight championship after beating Keith Thurman last July and is weighing his options for his next bout.

A rematch with Floyd Mayweather remains a distant possibility or perhaps a matchup with former welterweight champion Danny Garcia.

“He’s waiting for his next break from the Senate, and he’s either going to come here or I’m going to the Philippines and we’re going to start training,” Roach said. “Someone is going to come out of the woodwork sooner or later. We’re looking for the biggest fight we can get.”

UFC superstar Conor McGregor also has mentioned a potential boxing match against Pacquiao, but Roach doesn’t seem to favor that option.

“I told Manny right now if you retired you’ll go down as the second or third greatest fighter of your era,” Roach said. “If (McGregor) tries to embarrass you, I just don’t think it’s good for Manny’s career. McGregor has one fight. Manny is world champion. We’re going to fight a guy with a boxing record of 0-1? I just don’t think that should happen.”