Tuesday, September 15, 2009
A former professional boxer, Freddie Roach has not fought competitively since retiring in October 1986.
But during an exclusive interview with FanHouse from Los Angeles on Tuesday, the 2009 Trainer of The Year seemed as if he was ready to lace up the gloves and go after rival trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr.
Hearing for the first time that Maywether Sr. has implied that steroid use had contributed to the rise in weight of Manny Pacquiao, his No. 1 fighter and boxing's 2009 Fighter of the Year, Roach, fired back, among other things, "Where in the hell did that come from?"
Roach also addressed the notion from the camp of Floyd Mayweather Jr. that Mayweather -- not Pacquiao -- should be known as boxing's best fighter, pound-for-pound.
Roach spoke on the confusion over not being able to reach Pacquiao a few weeks back, and their choice for where they will train for Pacquiao's Nov. 14 bout opposite World Boxing Organization champion Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Roach initially had hoped to prepare for Cotto in Toluca, Puerto Vallarta or Cancun -- all in Mexico -- or the Bahamas.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, had been unavailble largely because he was filming a movie in which he plays a superhero whose skills are a combination of those of Superman and Spider-Man, according to publicist, Fred Sternberg.
Q & A with Freddie Roach
Lem Satterfield: What were the reasons you and Manny fell out of touch recently?
Freddie Roach: We had a little trouble getting in touch with him a couple of weeks ago because he was in the Phillipines and before he came to America, so we didn't really communicate that much. But I was trying to find out where and when he wanted to begin training. When he came to New York, we worked it out in five minutes and it was fine. We're going to do four weeks in Baguio [Phillipines] and the last four weeks at the Wildcard Gym and then we'll be fine.
Satterfield: Where is Bagiuo in relation to Manilla, and why train there?
Roach: Baguio is about five hours above Manilla -- at the highest point of the Philippines -- at 5,000 feet above sea level. The Olympic training center for the Philippines -- that's where it is. We've never trained there before. It's a little bit cooler, it's more of a tourist type of place, and it's not overcrowded like Manilla. It will be a lot quieter than the normal camp.
Satterfield: Does Manny deserve to be pound-for-pound best?
Roach: Yeah, I think that Manny is the pound-for-pound best. He's really demolished his last three opponents. I think that he deserves to be pound-for-pound. I don't think that anyone really comes close to their domination of Oscar de La Hoya.
Everyone says that Oscar is old now, but before the fight, they said that Pacquiao was going to lose. They said that Ricky Hatton was stronger than him. Ricky Hatton was dead even after six rounds with Floyd and Manny got him out of there in two. So I don't believe that there is any other choice out there other than Manny for pound-for-pound best.
Satterfield: Do you believe that Oscar De La Hoya physically drained for his fight with Manny?
Roach: Oscar was drained by the guy who was supposed to teach him how to fight. All of those excuses don't mean [expletive] at the end of the day. It's the bottom line, which is that it's either a 'W' or a loss. The record books are going to say that for life. All of those excuses aren't going to cut it -- Oscar was old, Oscar was this, Oscar was that. But before the fight, Oscar was great.
Satterfield: Does it validate you, personally, as a trainer, that Floyd Sr. was in the corner for both the De La Hoya and Hatton fights when Pacquiao -- your guy -- won?
Roach: It means that I have a better fighter. I hate to lose, and I love to win. I do everything possible to get my guys prepared to win. It was very satisfying to win. But comparing trainers, I don't know. I think that Manny Pacquiao is the better fighter, and that's why we won.
Satterfield: Did you hear that Floyd Sr. implied to the Michigan's Grand Rapids Press -- Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s home newspaper -- that Manny Pacquiao has been on steroids?
Roach: Well [chuckles], we have taken him a couple of times to be tested, and we haven't tested positive yet. I think he's wrong, but all Manny's on is white rice.
Satterfield: How are you preparing for a Miguel Cotto -- a big, strong guy, whose punch output was incredible against Joshua Clottey?
Roach: Miguel Cotto had a good fight against Joshua Clottey. He's obviously better. That was a great win over Clottey, who is a tough guy. He showed some signs of wear and tear from the Margarito fight, but I look at it more like it's as if he got himself back into the groove of things, which is why he is training camp early. He's gotten his confidence back and he's taking this fight against Manny very seriously.
Satterfield: Will any part of your strategy be to make Miguel Cotto remember what it was like to be in those wars with Antonio Margarito and Clottey, as if he's in the 13th round, or, even, the 25th round?
Roach: Of course. We're definitely going to try to do that. The thing is, though, I'm expecting Miguel Cotto to be better in this fight. So I'm watching more tapes of the old Cotto, when he beat Zab Judah, the southpaw, and when he beat Shane Moseley.
I'm watching the Clottey fight a little bit, but I expect Migel Cotto to be back to his best because I believe that the Clottey fight gave him a lot more confidence. Is Cotto totally back yet? Is his confidence 100 percent back yet? That's hard to say.
But I know that beating Clottey had to help him. I think that he's definitely heading in the right direction. So we're preparing as if he'll be back to the way that he was against Judah and Mosley.