By Chris Robinson
Junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan (32-0-1, 20 KO’s) didn’t get what he wanted last night with his bout against Erislandy Lara (17-2-1, 11 KO’s).
Facing off with the Cuban southpaw inside of the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, Martirosyan and Lara fought to a technical draw after the fight went to the scorecards shortly into the ninth round due to a severe cut above Vanes’ left eye that was caused by a head butt.
Watching the action unfold from Martirosyan’s corner, five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach seemed to take the fight’s outcome with a grain of salt.
“I think both fighters were getting frustrated and Lara threw a low blow and then he threw a head butt and I don’t think it was accidental,” Roach told me as we spoke in Martirosyan’s dressing room afterwards. “But that’s the way things go. I thought in the early rounds we were aggressive, trying to make the fight.
“I thought we won enough of those early rounds to get the decision, but Vanes was letting him back in the fight,” Roach added. “It’s the way things go. I respect Jay Nady, he’s a good referee, so I respect his call.”
As far as what he would have done differently, Roach immediately pointed towards his fighter’s activity level.
“Vanes needed to let his hands go,” said Roach. “He just wasn’t active enough and we need to get back to the gym and work on that.”
Before arriving in Las Vegas, Roach had been embedded in the training camp of eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, who is putting in work inside of his Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles ahead of his fourth meeting with Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8.
And even while he was away in Nevada, Roach still found a way to get an update on Pacquiao’s training on Saturday.
“He’s doing great,” Roach said of the Filipino icon. “I’ve got great sparring so far. He boxed nine rounds today and he did exactly what I wanted him to do; they sent me the tape and it went well.”
Pacquiao has a 2-0-1 record against Marquez in their three meetings yet his tally doesn’t reflect just how excruciatingly close each contest was. Marquez seems to have Pacquiao’s style figured out more than any other fighter and Roach admits that a change of tactics might serve his charge well this time around.
“Throw everything out the window and just fight this guy,” Roach responded.
Roach revealed that he has yet to speak with former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. following his humbling defeat to Argentina’s Sergio Martinez on Sep. 15.
Inside of the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Chavez was outclassed by Martinez for nearly the entire fight before staging a rally and dropping his foe in the twelfth and final round.
In the wake of his first professional defeat, Chavez was found to have been tested positive for marijuana and was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission indefinitely. In another twist, Chavez announced that he would no longer be allowing his father, the legendary Julio Sr., into his camp for assistance.
The 26-year old former titlist even took some shots as his father, claiming that he never truly helped him with his career because he was “too busy getting high and drinking all the time”.
Having been around both men behind closed doors, Roach found Junior’s remarks puzzling.
“I thought his father was always trying to help,” Roach stated. “I find that comment a little strange. I like Chavez Sr., he’s a very nice guy and he loves his son and he’s trying to help him.”
Roach noted that he doesn’t think young Chavez is necessarily looking for a scapegoat, and that the family rift appears to be genuine.
“I wouldn’t say an excuse,” Roach claimed. “It’s just a father-son thing; it’s hard to deal with. The Dad gets mad at the kid, the kid won’t talk to him for a couple months. Those things happen, but hopefully they’ll clear it all up because family’s family.”