By Mark Whicker
Glen Tapia wasn't quite prepared for his first day at Wild Card Gym with trainer Freddie Roach.
"He said, 'You're doing this, this and this wrong," Tapia said. "He made me think I sucked. I walked away from there thinking I couldn't fight anymore. But I came the next day.
"Affter a while he started to see improvement and encouraged me. That made me feel like I could beat anybody."
Tapia got to know Roach when he was Manny Pacquiao's sparring partner. He will meet Boyd Melson in an eight-round prelim to the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Geale main event in Madison Square Garden July 26.
"Freddie didn't have to tell me to be more aggressive," Tapia said. "He just wanted me to slow down in the ring and let everything come out naturally."
After Tapia was knocked out in the sixth round by James Kirkland, he hired Roach. Their only fight together was too quick to answer many questions, as Tapia knocked out Keenan Collins in 82 seconds.
Tapia is 21-1-1 going into the Melson fight.
If Kirkland fights Canelo Alvarez, as has been discussed, Tapia doesn't really have a favorite.
"It depends on which Kirkland shows up," Tapia said. "I thought (Erislandy) Lara probably beat Canelo the other night, but you can't fight the way Lara fought and expect to impress the judges. And you have an obligation to the fans, too. That's what I think about when I go into the ring, to put on a show for the people who bought the tickets."
Mark Whicker has been a sports columnist in Southern California for 27 years.