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Roach Prepares for Pacquiao Arrival

Freddie Roach
Freddie Roach


It’s another typically busy day for trainer Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Boxing Club, where he is constantly on the move. Whether it’s wrapping various sets of hands, overseeing sparring or working the mitts for one of his fighters, the noted trainer is always doing something. As usual, the gym is crowded with a full parking lot, all the heavy bags occupied (sometimes with more than one person on each) and body heat already making the sweltering conditions even more intense. These are the days Roach has to be relieved that the fire marshal doesn’t pay a visit.
 
But starting on October 15th, the gym will be cleared out in the afternoon hours when Manny Pacquiao’s latest training camp begins, as he prepares for his fourth go-round with Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8th.

“Manny’s coming in and I can’t wait to get started with him for this fight. The gym is packed but next week, it’ll be closed down for a couple of hours each day,” said Roach.
 
Hey, regardless, it beats working out with a fighter in his living room.
 
“Yeah, Manny might be a little bit late sometimes but he shows up,” said Roach, chuckling. “But the living room workouts are over, I hope.”
 
It still rankles the trainer a bit when thinking about the manner in which Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. prepared for his September 15th defeat at the hands of middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. In retrospect, would they have changed anything? Roach says, “Basically, we were powerless. [Chavez Jr.] wanted to be the boss and we kinda let the fighter get away with it. So it’s a little bit our fault for letting him get away with it. We all stood our ground but we probably should’ve come to a better situation.”
 
So was this loss necessary? After all, there is that old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Perhaps, finally in defeat, Chavez’s eyes would be opened and changes would be made. But Roach has a different perspective on things.
 
“Well, the thing is, I have a feeling - why f**k with success? We had won five fights in a row. We worked hard for all those fights. We trained everyday in the gym and all of a sudden, now, [Chavez] wants to be the boss and change the whole workout. We had great success for those five fights,” Roach stated. So what changed? “I can’t put my finger on it,” he answered. “I don’t know why he changed. I’ve quit trying to figure it out.”
 
But the question is, has he quit the circus that was Camp Chavez?
 
“If I do work with him, we’re going to go back to my way - not his. And that’ll be the way it has to be,” Roach asserted.
 
While Chavez Jr. rallied late, for 11 rounds, he was dominated and mastered. And at times, early in the fight when he had opportunities to move his hands inside, he didn’t. Perhaps he didn’t trust his own conditioning. He may have made the middleweight limit but he may not have been ready to go 36 hard minutes. Roach says, “He certainly worked hard but the thing is, you need to get in the gym. You need ring generalship and so forth and what I needed to show him for the game plan, we needed a boxing ring and not a living room.”
 
Perhaps that love seat and coffee table kept getting in the way.
 
As for the positive test for marijuana, Roach says, “I had no idea, at all. I don’t hang out with my fighters. I just work with them in the gym.” ( Yeah, and in the living room.)
 
So now the focus is on finally solving the puzzle that has been Marquez. Roach admits, this particular assignment wasn’t his first choice. “I thought the [Tim] Bradley fight was more interesting but Manny picked the fight for a reason. So that says something to me. So it’s a challenge and we all know we have to win by knockout this time. Manny said that too.”
 
There is some speculation that as Pacquiao kept putting off his decision, it was a clear sign of a fighter looking to wind down his career, that boxing was no longer his passion or his focus.
 
“I just think he was looking for the best deal out there for himself, which he has to do as a person to support his family. So he was just looking for the best deal and what makes most sense,” remarked Roach, who believes he’ll get a committed prizefighter walking through his doors for the next eight weeks. But he says he is shuffling the deck a bit for this camp.
 
“I don’t see that changing; I’m going to change things up a little bit because we’re getting stale in doing the same things every day. So I’m going to change things up a bit.”
 
HUMP DAY FLURRIES
 
Roach mentioned that Frankie Gomez (yes, he’s alive!), who’s been training for the past couple of months at the Wild Card, would be used as a sparring partner for Pacquiao...A press release was sent out on Wednesday night announcing that Orlando Cruz was a “proud gay man”...Elvin Ayala and Billy Lyell were just some of the names turned down by Al Haymon for Jermain Taylor in his next bout taking place on October 12th...On October 27th from El Paso, Texas, TV Azteca will broadcast a card featuring a main event of Alejandro Perez vs. Takalani Ndlovu and Glen Tapia facing Juan De la Rosa...There is some talk of ESPN2 doing a card on December 6th in Las Vegas...OK, countdown to Miami versus Notre Dame is officially on. Are Irish fans going through their closets looking for their “Catholics vs. Convicts” t-shirts?...I never thought I’d see an MLB player win the Triple Crown in my lifetime; my hat’s off to Miguel Cabrera...It’s a good year for Padres fans when the Dodgers don’t make the playoffs (yeah, I know, that’s sad)...I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.


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