Roach sharpens Pacquiao’s left hand

Manny Pacquiao trains with Freddie Roach in this file photo.

MANILA, Philippines Freddie Roach saw the need for Manny Pacquiao to polish his signature left straight, the punch that has enabled the Filipino icon to pile up those knockouts early in his career.

That’s why Roach recently held a workout for Pacquiao that focused on him throwing nothing but left hands.

“We did 12 rounds of left hand only. The right hand was never used,” Roach told Lance Pugmire of The Los Angeles Times.

According to Roach, those left hands, paired with solid footwork, will be among the keys for Pacquiao to overcome Floyd Mayweather Jr. in boxing’s richest fight ever.

“It’s about putting everything together,” added the multi-awarded trainer.

Pacquiao, a southpaw, used to rely solely on his trademark left straight in his early years, prompting Roach to help him develop a solid right hook. It proved to be effective for Pacquiao, who evolved from a one-dimensional boxer to a two-fisted fighting machine.

But the fighting congressman hasn’t scored a knockout since stopping Miguel Cotto in 2009. He came close to ending that drought against Chris Algieri, whom Pacquiao floored six times in their fight in Macau last year.

Now Roach is back to sharpening Pacquiao’s left hand the way he helped him throw right hooks believing it will be the punch that will knock Mayweather out.

“Same routine, now the opposite side. It’s all about usage, muscle memory … [Pacquiao and Mayweather] will be equal at some point [in the bout]. Manny’s been favoring the right side so much now, I need to bring the left back,” Roach explained.

And so far, it is working.

“Oh, it’s deadly,” said Roach, referring to Pacquiao’s left straights. “Deadly. My chest is … killing me.” g Dino Maragay