By Chris Robinson
During a recent episode of The Boxing Lab, BoxingScene.com’s official audio show, trainer Freddie Roach made an appearance to speak on several developments taking place in the sport while also eyeing the near future for his core group of fighters.
Speaking to hosts Ernest Gabion, Ryan Burton, and Luis Sandoval, Roach talked in-depth about the next ring outings for WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, and former titlists Jorge Linares and Amir Khan.
Pacquiao is eyeing a June 9th assignment against undefeated Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Roach revealed that he will be joining his fighter in Pacquiao’s native Philippines within a matter of days to start camp.
Khan is already in camp in the Philippines and Chavez Jr. will be arriving later, as the two fighters are eyeing bouts on May 19th and June 16th, respectively. Roach figures he will be spending five weeks in the Philippines altogether and appreciates Pacquiao’s openness in having Roach’s other charges alongside him.
“Manny’s the best guy in the world because he allows me to bring everyone to the Philippines and join the camp,” Roach would state. “I’m lucky to have a guy that is that open and doesn’t really have an ego problem and doesn’t want all the attention all the time.”
Pacquiao is regarded as one of the two best fighters in the sport but the 33-year old struggled in his last fight, a majority-decision over rival Juan Manuel Marquez this past November. Facing the Mexico City icon for a 3rd time, Pacquiao again had trouble with Marquez’s timing and counter-punching style yet dug down in the late rounds for a much-needed rally.
There are whispers that Pacquiao may be losing his edge given his obligations as a congressman in the province of Sarangani as well as him dealing with some personal turmoil, yet Roach is adamant that the eight-division champion will come into camp with a different mindset this time around.
“I think Manny got caught up with a lot of distractions and I think those distractions hurt his training a little bit and it finally caught up with him,” Roach would add. “The last fight, you’ve got to give Marquez credit, because he knows how to fight Manny. He’s fought him three times and I think every time they fight, it’s going to be a close fight. I think Manny’s going to win by a little bit each time.”
“It’s the first time that Manny’s had a bad night in ten years,” Roach continued. “He had some personal problems going into that fight and I’m glad that he cleaned his life up and got rid of all those problems and I can’t wait to start training camp with him because he’s going to be more focused than ever I feel.”
Pacquiao recently came forward and revealed that he had a vision where God himself asked him to retire and he initially didn’t expect to be fighting as a professional past 2012.
Giving his take on such talk, Roach has a much more practical approach.
“The thing is, we’ve talked about that,” Roach said. “Manny’s asked me ‘When I start showing signs of slippage and I need to retire, will you tell me?’ and I said ‘I’ll be the first one to tell you Manny’ and I said ‘When I tell you, will you retire?’ and he said ‘Of course I will’. Because most guys won’t. We have a good relationship and I know he’s coming close to the end of his career.”
To hear all of Roach's comments, plus bonus audio from junior middleweight contender Carlos Molina, promoter Lou Dibella, and recently-crowned junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, please visit The Boxing Lab - March 27th, 2012
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