In Freddie Roach We Trust - The Picasso of Boxing.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has no chance against Manny Pacquiao. None. Nada.
He should just call off the fight right now to save himself a considerable amount of embarrassment, and a world-class butt kicking.
I don' care about all this talk of drug testing, or weight limits, or any other nonsense.
There's one reason why Manny Pacquiao will win this fight.
His name is Freddie Roach.
The indomitable Roach.
The Genius That Is Roach.
Not just the best trainer, by far, in boxing. Perhaps the best trainer in the history of boxing.
He reads fighters the way Peyton Manning reads defenses. He could teach Phil Jackson a thing or two about playing mind games on his opponents.
He sculpts fighters the way Pablo Picasso paints canvasses.
He's trained everyone from Pacquiao to Bernard Hopkins to Amir Khan to Virgil Hill to world championships. The man, quite simply, knows how to win. He was boxing's trainer of the year in 2003, 2006, and 2008.
Roach doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk.
Growing up in a fighting family, his mother Barbara was a boxing judge. He has his brother, Joey (may he rest in peace) were street fighting legends in Dedham, Massachusetts — a place one step down from Beirut. In fact, Roach and his brother were as infamous as the Ward brothers (Micky and Dick) on the New England streets. Undoubtedly they crossed paths once or twice.
As a professional, his record was 39-13 and he fought some big names in Hector Camacho and Greg Haugen. Although I never saw him fight, his record suggests a mid-level fighter who probably didn't quite have the talent to be a world champion. If he fought anything like Micky Ward (and I'm sure he did), I would have loved to have seen him fight in his prime.
It was his trainer, the great Eddie Futch, who told him to hang up the gloves after suffering seven losses in his last 11 fights.
For those who don't know the story, it was the actor Mickey Rourke who helped save Roach's career. The story went that Roach was languishing in Las Vegas working, among other things, as a telemarketer. He and Rourke were introduced and Rourke moved him to Los Angeles to help him train to become a professional fighter. Roach trained the actor for five years and that led to more introductions and eventually training Virgil Hill to a championship.
Roach soon afterwards opened Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. Nothing about the gym is pretentious and yet it doesn't have the testosterone-driven, street gang vibe of many inner-city boxing gyms. Everyone and anyone is welcome to train for only fifty bucks a month. It's still the same, claustrophobic space it's been throughout the years. Roach is not a man that believes bigger or newer is better.
What's more impressive is that Roach continues to evolve as a trainer. He's a tactician and a strategist. If you watch HBO's 24/7, you'll have noted to disparities in his style versus Roger Mayweather's style. Mayweather proudly proclaimed that "he didn't have a strategy" and Floyd can handle whatever fighter is in front of him.
Roach, on the other hand, studies his opponents the way a hawk studies a ground squirrel. He watches every one of their fights, not looking for weakness, but, in his words, 'looking for patterns'.
"Look," he stated in a recent interview, "a fighter isn't going to change his style after fifteen or twenty years. When he gets pressured, he's going to resort to what he's always done. That's what I'm looking for."
Whatever he's doing, it's working.
He predicted that Pacquiao would knock out Hatton within three rounds. He predicted Pacquiao would stop Cotto in the second or third or eighth or ninth round. Although the Cotto fight was eventually stopped in the eleventh, many pundits, myself included, felt it should have been stopped in the ninth.
Trust me, Roach already knows how to beat Mayweather Jr. Floyd isn't that complicated of a fighter. He's a counter-puncher who uses his shoulders for defense. He relies on his quickness to get out of the way of punches as well as return his counter shots.
I would look for Roach to tutor Manny to counter Floyd's counters (something I haven't seen any fighter do effectively). Manny also has the quickness to get in and out of Floyd's defenses without getting hit.
He trained Oscar De La Hoya in his loss to Mayweather. A fight was decided by one or two rounds. Even De La Hoya has admitted in interviews that if he'd listened to Roach more, he could have won that fight.
Freddie Roach is one of the only trainers in boxing who actually gives out good advise during rounds. Most trainers are animated and little more than cheerleaders shelling out non-sensical gibberish to an amped up fighter who probably isn't listening.
Roach, on the other hand, talks in a smooth, monotone voice in short sentences. "Oscar, you've got to use your jab" is all he'll say. He understands the fighters mind in a fight and doesn't try to confuse him.
Roach is now training Amir Khan, the smartest move Khan could have made. I'd love to see Andre Dirrell look-up Freddie's number as well. He has the quickness to dominate the sport, but he needs much better tutelage.
In a sport that's continually dominated by snakes (Don King, Bob Arum, the Mayweathers...), Roach stands out as an old-school soul who simply loves and protects his fighters.
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