by David P. Greisman
Boxing trainer Freddie Roach spoke with BoxingScene.com on July 25 about the November fight between his star boxer, Manny Pacquiao, and 140-pound titleholder Chris Algieri. The bout has a catch-weight of 144 pounds.
BoxingScene.com: What do you think of Chris Algieri as an opponent? Would you have preferred someone else?
Roach: “His style, he’s a bit of a runner. Pacquiao doesn’t particularly like fighting guys who run so much. We’ll figure out a way to beat him. It’s not a problem.”
BoxingScene.com: Would you have preferred certain different fighters?
Roach: “Well, you know, the choices are very small. Ruslan [Provodnikov] was one of the choices. He’s my own guy, but his manager wanted the fight to happen, so I tried to make that happen. But since Algieri had beaten him, he’s the No. 1 guy, I guess. Out of the options we have, he’s the best guy out there.”
BoxingScene.com: Was a fifth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez an option?
Roach: “No. Marquez wanted $20 million, I heard.”
BoxingScene.com: This is an obvious question, but what’s the difference between Ruslan facing Algieri and Manny facing Algieri?
Roach: “Manny is a completely different fighter than Ruslan. He has a lot more experience. He’s much faster. Ruslan might be a little bit of a heavier hitter, but not nearly as quick. It’s night and day. They’re almost totally opposites.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you think Pacquiao can do with Algieri that Provodnikov was not able to do, and what is it that maybe Algieri won’t be able to do against Pacquiao?
Roach: “Manny is a much more defensive fighter. He has much more speed. He throws combinations. Ruslan was looking for a one-punch knockout all night. He had success early. It kind of got to him a little bit. Manny is much more seasoned fighter than all those guys.”
BoxingScene.com: You described Algieri as a runner. Is there anything he does that impresses you?
Roach: “He’s got a good jab.”
BoxingScene.com: That’s it?
Roach: “That’s it.”
BoxingScene.com: What about weaknesss in his game?
Roach: “Well expose them. We’ll show you.”
BoxingScene.com: You won’t say what they are?
Roach: “No. Watch the tape, see if you can find them, too.”
BoxingScene.com: Is this a little bit of a letdown facing someone like Algieri after facing opponents like Bradley, Rios and Marquez?
Roach: “He’s part of the new generation. He’s a world champion. It’s not a letdown at all.”
BoxingScene.com: And so in Manny’s eyes, it’s the same thing as usual?
Roach: “I can’t say that. I can’t speak for Manny. You’d have to ask him yourself.”
BoxingScene.com: Sure, but you do work closely with him…
Roach (cutting in): “I haven’t seen him since this fight’s been made. I won’t see Manny until the press tour.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]