By Leighton Ginn
Long-time trainer Freddie Roach said he only sees two more fights for his superstar, Manny Pacquiao before the Filipino senator walks away from boxing for good.
Pacquiao (58-6-2) returns to the ring for the first time since becoming a senator in May, facing WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1) on Nov. 5 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
In April, Pacquiao defeated Timothy Bradley in what Roach said was his best performance in ages. It was the third time Pacquiao had faced Bradley and the first time he knocked down the Desert Storm, doing it twice to earn a unanimous decision.
Although Pacquiao has had a compromised training schedule as he is juggling his busy senatorial duties, Roach said he feels confident going into the Vargas fight.
Beyond that fight, Roach doesn’t see the 37-year-old Pacquiao fighting more than one more time if he can secure a big-money fight.
The two names Roach said he’d like Pacquiao to take on are Canelo Alvarez and a rematch with the retired Floyd Mayweather.
“Get one of those big fights, fight that fight, and that’s it,” Roach said. “That’s my wishes.”
Roach said that scenario is dependent on how Pacquiao looks against Vargas. Win or lose, if Pacquiao looks bad, Roach said he might tell Pacquiao to hang it up.
“If he doesn’t slip, I still only want him to only have two more fights,” Roach said. “There’s nothing else he has to prove in boxing, in my mind.”
While Roach would like to see Pacquiao, who is a small fighter at the 147-pound welterweight division, take on super welterweight (154 pounds) champion Alvarez, promoter Bob Arum doesn’t like the matchup.
Arum said Pacquiao was sparring Ray Beltran, who fights at 135-pounds, and he was the bigger fighter.
Alvarez is the current box office king in boxing. While a Pacquiao-Alvarez fight would pit two big names, most fans have been clamoring for Alvarez to face Gennady Golovkin.
As far as Arum is concerned, he feels a fight between Pacquiao and super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
“I would pay any amount of money to see Manny Pacquiao fight Lomachenko,” Arum said. “That for me would be a great, great, great fight.
“For me, I like guys who are almost like ballet dancers in the ring. Lomachenko is that, and so is Manny.”
Both Lomachenko and Crawford are promoted by Arum’s Top Rank.
One other fighter who has been discussed for Pacquiao is Adrien Broner. Arum said there had been negotiations, but fell apart because of Broner’s demands.
“Broner is out of his freakin’ mind,” Arum said. “We offered him a really good purse. We were maybe $100,000 apart. Broner then asked for 50 percent more than the purse we were talking about, which made it outlandish.
“Broner, there’s something mentally wrong with him.”
NOTE: Linda Ha contributed to this report.