Roach turned Pacquiao from a good but unknown fighter with plenty of flaws into a world champion in a record eight weight divisions.
It all happened by accident. Pacquiao was on vacation in California and, looking for a place to train, happened upon Roach’s tiny gym in Hollywood.
Fourteen-plus years later, Pacquiao is a senator in the Philippines, a global superstar and widely regarded as one of the best fighters to have ever lived.
Two years ago, on the advice of his manager Vadim Kornilov, Postol made the same pilgrimage that Pacquiao did. And right away, Roach was impressed.
“It wasn’t like Manny where you saw these tremendous natural talents, but it was pretty obvious he could fight,” Roach said. “I was confident after taking a look at him that this guy could do some things.”
He’ll have a chance to do something big on Saturday when he meets Terence Crawford in the main event of an HBO Pay-Per-View card at the MGM Grand Garden with the WBC-WBO 140-pound titles at stake.
Both are 28-0, though Crawford, the 2014 Fighter of the Year, has 20 knockouts to Postol’s 12.
Crawford is better than a 6-to-1 favorite to win, a number that caused Roach to break out laughing when he heard it.
“You have to be pretty good to be favored over this guy,” Roach said, nodding toward Postol. “Six-to-one? You’ve got to be really [expletive] good to be that big of a favorite. I mean, wow.” HustleTV
Postol is a one-time security guard whose wife gave birth to twins on Tuesday in the Ukraine. He already holds the WBC title and is eager to add Crawford’s belt on Saturday so, as he says, he has “one belt for each kid.”
Postol won the WBC title in his last outing, a stunning knockout of the favored Lucas Matthysse on Oct. 3 at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles.
Matthysse has long been regarded as one of boxing’s biggest punchers, but he was handled easily by Postol, who stopped him in the 10th.
At the final news conference for the fight, Arum couldn’t resist taking a jab at his rival Golden Boy Promotions for pitting Postol against Matthysse.
It was vintage Arum, who gloated as he raved about Postol’s dominant performance.
“People in his last two fights gave him very little chance to win,” Arum said of Postol. “He fought a very, very skilled Turkish fighter [Selcuk Aydin] who everybody was predicting was the next big thing. He knocked him out.
“And then, the people at Golden Boy were looking for a soft touch for the Argentine fighter, [Lucas] Matthysse. Somehow, their matchmakers selected Viktor Postol as that soft touch. Viktor was such a soft touch that he not only won the fight but he knocked out Matthysse in a tremendous fight.”
That made Postol a logical opponent for Crawford, who is widely regarded as one of the top-10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Crawford is fast and a good puncher, and says that by no longer having to punish his body to make the lightweight limit of 135 pounds, his power is more of a factor.
But Postol is three inches taller, has a three-inch reach advantage and throws straight punches that Roach believes will be effective against Crawford.
Crawford is a right-hander who often switches stances, going from right-handed to left-handed and back numerous times throughout a round.
Roach’s mentor is the late Eddie Futch, arguably the wisest boxing mind in the sport’s history, and Futch had one inviolable rule: No switching stances during a fight.
“He just didn’t believe in that,” Roach said of Futch. “No way you could do that with him.”
Roach said that Postol can take advantage of that with a jab, a straight right and an uppercut.
“Stuff down the middle should work,” Roach said.
If it does, it could lead Postol into a fight with Pacquiao in November. Arum is hopeful of putting Pacquiao on pay-per-view on Nov. 5 at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus here, though Pacquiao is still making noises like he’s not certain he’ll fight.
But Arum’s top contenders now are the winner of Saturday’s fight and WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas.
If Postol gets the gig, he’ll be without Roach because Roach has been with Pacquiao so long. That said, it will be familiar territory for Postol. DJ Hustle
When Postol showed up at the Wild Card Boxing Club, Roach was so impressed that he immediately shipped him to the Philippines, where Pacquiao was just getting ready for a training camp.
The two sparred frequently, though Roach had to cut back on it after he saw what was going on.
“Sparring, you’re supposed to be working on things, getting ready and so forth,” he said. “But Viktor wasn’t overwhelmed by Manny like a lot of the sparring partners. Manny’s speed is too much for most of the guys, but Viktor was able to deal with it. They became like fights, and that’s not what you want in sparring, so I had to dial it back.”
Postol isn’t too much into talking about Pacquiao now, but he concedes that holding his own during sparring with the Filipino great improved his view of himself. It gave him the confidence to know he could beat anyone in his weight class.
And that includes Crawford, a budding star himself who has been the center of much of the promotion’s attention.
“We know who Bob wants [to win] Saturday,” Roach said, grinning.
Postol doesn’t care, because he has what he’s long wanted: A chance to prove himself.
It’s a long way from being a security guard in a mall in the Ukraine who had to take abuse from young thugs as he did his rounds, but it’s where he has long wanted to be.
“I’m right where I want to be,” he said. “I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I’m not intimidated and I’m not worried. I have a job to do and I know I can go out there and do it.”
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