Over the last decade, most boxing pundits have labeled Freddie Roach as the best boxing trainer in the world. However, I think that Roach's reign as the greatest is now coming to an end. Virgil Hunter seems to be taking over as the most dominant trainer in boxing.
Fair or not, boxing trainers are assessed based on the level of success of their greatest fighters. Freddie was viewed as the best because he was training the best at the time—Manny Pacquiao.
When Freddie Roach took over Pacquiao's training responsibilities, the boxer was viewed as a brawling southpaw whose only weapon was a devastating left hand. Roach harnessed Pacquiao's aggression and made him a more patient fighter. He also developed Pacquiao's right hand, which is now nearly as dangerous as his left.
But Pacquiao is no longer viewed as invincible or the the best. Pacquiao won in lackluster fashion against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2011. Many believe that Marquez won that fight. He also lost a bogus decision to Timothy Bradley in June. While everybody agrees that he won the fight against Bradley, the fact that he is no longer blowing out opponents is hurting his legacy and Freddie Roach's.
Other Freddie Roach pupils are on the decline as well. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. lost his first match against Sergio Martinez in September. He did knock Martinez down in the last round, but he lost every round up until that point.
Chavez Jr.'s training habits were also ridiculed due to the exposure of HBO's 24/7 series, which showed Chavez Jr. training in spurts at bizarre hours without Roach. During that whole series, Roach never really reprimanded Chavez Jr. for his lackadaisical training. He should have.
The biggest sign that Roach is losing his edge as boxing's best trainer is the career choice of Amir Khan to ditch Roach for Virgil Hunter. Khan originally started training with Roach in 2009 to learn how to be more defensive and controlled. He had success with Roach, but he has lost his last two fights—one by technical knockout. Khan is reverting instead of progressing.
If Virgil Hunter can have success with Amir Khan, then boxing experts are going to anoint him as the best boxing trainer in the world. He currently is training Andre Ward who's viewed by many as the top pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
He also seems to be having success rehabbing the confidence and careers of fallen fighters like Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo. Khan just might be his next success story.
My prediction is that Virgil Hunter will successfully resurrect Amir Khan's career and will continue to guide Andre Ward's supremacy of the super middleweight division. I think that Hunter, not Roach, is boxing's preeminent trainer.