By Ryan Maquiñana
On Saturday afternoon, five-time BWAA Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach stood behind his usual counter at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, fielding questions from a pair of writers as he oversaw the packed gym.
With his prized pupil Manny Pacquiao reportedly choosing to stay in his hometown of General Santos, Philippines, and postpone the American portion of his training camp until October 27, Roach gave BoxingScene.com an update on the matter.
“He’s going to be a couple days late,” Roach said. “I talked to him this morning. He’ll be here by the mid-week.”
Despite Pacquiao’s earlier promise to hold his entire camp at Wild Card with Roach in order to better prepare for his fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8, the trainer was unconcerned about the delay.
“We have eight weeks until the fight,” Roach said. “I’m not really worried about it. He’s running now. He’s getting in shape, and that’s all we do the first couple weeks anyway. The sparring won’t start until about six weeks out, so it should be no problem.”
As for the fight itself, Roach admitted that there would be an emphasis on keeping it from going the distance.
“It’s always going to be a competitive fight,” he said. “Manny told me he needed a knockout to win. I’m going to hold him to it, and we’re going go in there looking for a knockout. Something we didn’t do before, we need to do now, because we’re not going to win a decision.”
Another of Roach’s charges, former junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan, parted ways with him following his stoppage loss to Danny Garcia in July. Khan has since moved camp from Southern to Northern California to work with Virgil Hunter. When asked if the split was acrimonious, Roach replied the opposite.
“No, he’s up there with Virgil Hunter to teach him how to box,” he said. “I wish him the best of luck, and there are no hard feelings, no. We had a good run.”
The brief conversation concluded with the topic of whether Roach has had any contact with middleweight contender Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. following his positive drug test in September. Chavez, who stormed back in the final round against middleweight champion Sergio Martinez only to lose by decision, has long been hampered by a lackadaisical attitude toward training.
“No, I haven’t talked to Chavez,” Roach said. “If I do train him again, the first day he misses, I’ll go home.”
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.