Pacquiao vs Senchenko in Ukraine?Written by Lee Cleveland
Legendary trainer Freddie Roach believes Manny Pacquiao could travel to Ukraine to meet WBA welterweight champion Viacheslav Senchenko (32-0, 21 KO) in a welterweight unification clash in 2012.
Roach, who trains both fighters, confirmed the fight is possible due to high money offers from Ukrainian promoters. He also stated he'd work in the Pacquiao corner should the two combatants meet in the ring.
"The Ukraine people haven't seen Manny and Senchenko's promoters are very wealthy," Roach told the Philippine Star.
"His promoters control the coal and metal mines in the country. Manny could fight Senchenko in Ukraine for a lot of money.
"In the event they meet, Manny will win easy. I remember legends like Sugar Ray Robinson when in the course of winding up their careers, they would go to fight in different countries and earn big purses. If Manny wants to do that, Ukraine would be a good destination."
Obviously, the fight everyone wants to see most is Pacquiao vs Mayweather but negotiations over drug-testing procedures continue to stall. Aside from 'Money May,' there aren't many megafights left for the Filipino star, should he defeat Marquez next month.
"You know, obviously, everyone wants Mayweather," said Roach. "Of course, we're all getting a little tired of hearing his name because he doesn't want to fight Manny. But hopefully, that fight will happen. That fight is so interesting, it could end up being a trilogy. Actually, it could be the last three fights for Manny, if the fight goes as we see it because they're both very, very good fighters so it's a fight we want."
When asked about Amir Khan as a possible opponent, Roach answered, ".... He will likely get a crack at Mayweather ahead of Pacquiao... My two fighters are really friendly with each other. I don't think they'll ever fight but the thing is we're running out of opponents and you can never say never in this game."
Up-and-coming stablemate Mike Jones (25-0, 19 KO) has been casually mentioned by Top Rank promoter Bob Arum as a possible opponent for Pac Man but the 28 year old still lacks name recognition and has not yet cemented his status as a world-class fighter. Other possible opponents include Andre Berto, Victor Ortiz and Timothy Bradley but its not known if bouts against any of those elite fighters could generate as much revenue as Pacquiao vs Senchenko.
So who is Viacheslav Senchenko?
Senchenko, from Donetsk, Ukraine, won the WBA Lightweight title in April 2009 and has successfully defended it three times. He's four inches taller than Pacquiao (5'10"/178 cm) and will turn 34 in December. Despite his impressive record, he has yet to fight a 'name' fighter but has proven to be tough, disciplined and technically sound.
The Ukrainian was tentatively scheduled to fight Saul Alvarez last year but negotiations fell through. According to FightNews, Senchenko's team issued the following statement after the deal soured:
"Negotiations did fail for the fight but the reason was because we didn't like the conditions offered by Golden Boy Promotions. Its been alleged that Senchenko was offered $500,000 USD to defend his world title against Mexico's Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (35-0-1, 26 KOs) but there was no such offer. That just just speculation."
Senchenko last fought in August, winning a sixth round TKO over Venezuelan challenger Marco Avendaño.
While Pacquiao would be the clear favorite should he fight the Ukrainian, Senchenko is not a fighter to be taken gently.
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.