by Chris Robinson
There’s no denying that the tandem of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Freddie Roach had great success during their two and a half year run together.
Having welcomed Chavez into his Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles in late April of 2010, Roach understood that the young fighter had been rumored to be lethargic and uncooperative in camp. Still, Roach was able to sharpen his skills as Chavez continued his unbeaten streak while claiming the WBC middleweight crown in the process.
Chavez was hit with a huge blow to his ego and career this past September when he was thoroughly outclassed over eleven and half rounds by Argentina’s Sergio Martinez before a knockdown and rally in the twelfth round came up short. The young prizefighter from Sinaloa, Mexico suffered his first professional defeat, losing a lopsided decision.
Word later leaked that Chavez was set to fire Roach, with either Nacho Beristain or Robert Garcia likely to fill his void.
Roach is unsure of where everything stands and still seems to hold on to extreme disappointment as to how the training camp for Martinez unraveled
“I haven’t heard a word from anybody,” Roach told me recently. “You know, I loved training Julio when he wants me to be the trainer. The last fight it kind of fell apart. We only trained five days together.”
Roach also saw another one of his star fighters, former junior welterweight champion Amir Khan, take his talents to another coach in Virgil Hunter and I asked him if he felt that sometimes trainers take too much of the blame during crucial losses at the world class level.
“That’s common but it’s part of the job,” Roach explained. “But the thing is, [Chavez] never blamed me for him losing the fight, but for some reason he wanted to mess with success. He never said no to me once. He was as good a student as Manny Pacquiao. But then, in the last fight, he wanted to be the boss and it just didn’t work.”
Asked who would be a better selection for Chavez, either Beristain or Garcia, Roach still seems to be holding on to hope that it could be him standing in the corner come fight night.
“I haven’t really thought of it,” Roach admitted. “I think I’m the best fit for him when he listens. So, if he comes my way and he really wants me to train him I would love to. If not, I wish him the best of luck.”