Roach finally let his man loose on two sparring partners at his Wild Card Gym on Tuesday as Pacquiao stepped up his training with just over six weeks to go until boxing’s biggest fight in years.
The Hall of Fame trainer was suitably impressed, comparing the Filipino’s St Patrick’s Day preparations to pre-season baseball training in the United States.
“When Manny threw out the first punch it felt like opening day of Irish Spring Training,” said Roach, who then boldly wrote a new saint’s day into the calendar.
“I am confident May 2 will be celebrated for years to come as St Manny’s Day – the day he drove Mayweather out of boxing.”
The sparring session was Pacquiao’s first contact training since Chris Algieri became the most recent of his 57 victims in Macau in November, and Roach said: “You couldn’t tell he’d been away from the ring.
“Manny looked so fresh, and I’m very happy with what he showed me. Manny is on fire in the gym.”
Pacquiao was equally pleased, saying: “After 13 days of strength and conditioning and boxing drills, plus weeks more of working out in the Philippines in February, It was great to finally put on the headgear and spar.
“My sparring partners gave me good work. They were perfect for testing the strategy Freddie and I have developed to beat Floyd Mayweather. I was very happy with my stamina and speed.”