Lem Satterfield

If Pacquiao fights Provodnikov, Freddie Roach will ‘watch on TV’

Although Freddie Roach has insisted he never wants stablemates and former sparring partners Manny Pacquiao and Ruslan Provodnikov to face one another in a real fight, the six-time "Trainer of the Year" said he realizes he may one day step aside for the clash to take place.

Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 knockouts), 35, is coming off last month's unanimous decision over Tim Bradley in which he regained the WBO's welterweight belt he lost by disputed split decision in June 2012.

Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs), 30, was last in action for October's 10th-round stoppage win that dethroned Mike Alvarado as WBO 140-pound beltholder, this after having scored a 12th-round knockdown during a unanimous decision loss to Bradley in March 2013.

In separate interviews, Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum, who handles Pacquiao, and Banner Promotions’ President Artie Pelullo, who guides Provodnikov, have stated they would each like to match their fighters in a mega-bout.

Roach has steadfastly stood against the prospect but appeared to relent during a Wednesday conference call promoting Provodnikov's June 14 defense against Chris Algieri (19-0, 8 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

"I have both fighters and I would hate to lose one of them because they would have to face each other," said Roach. "But the thing is that if the demand does continue to grow, then we're going to have to let it happen."

For now, Pacquiao's win over Bradley appears to have set up a fifth bout with four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez, who is coming off a unanimous decision over Alvarado in a 143-pound bout on May 17.

Prior to facing Alvarado, Marquez had scored a December 2012 sixth round stopppage of Pacquiao, against whom he is 1-2-1, after which Marquez lost by split decision to Bradley in October of last year.

Roach guided Pacquiao to a unanimous decision comeback victory over Brandon Rios in November, this, after having been a major influence in Provodnikov's victory over Alvarado. Roach referred Provodnikov to assistant Marvin Somodio against Alvarado as he traveled to General Santos City, Philippines, to train Pacquiao for Rios.

Somodio will work as an assistant to Roach when Provodnikov meets Algieri but Roach said he would sit out should a Pacquiao-Provodnikov take place.

"Manny is my number one guy and so forth but Ruslan's very close to me and Ruslan's been a very, very hard worker. So with the demand for that fight getting closer and closer, we may hear more about that, so it could happen," said Roach.

"Manny is running out of opponents right now and for some people, that's the way that it goes. But that would be a sad day for me and I would probably let both fighters fight and watch it at home on T.V. myself."

Roach also helped revive the career of three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto and will be in his corner when he challenges RING and WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez on June 7 at New York's Madison Square Garden.

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