HOBOKEN, NJ - Five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach predicts the jab of World Boxing Association ("WBA") Welterweight Champion Vyacheslav Senchenko will be the difference in hisApril 29 world title defense against challenger Paulie "Magic Man" Malignaggi, airing live on pay per viewfrom Donboss Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine,
Undefeated Senchenko (32-0, 21 KOs), rated No. 5 in the world by The Ring Magazine, has been training at Roach's famed Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California. The 2000 Ukraine Olympian captured the WBA title in 2009, winning a 12-round decision from previously undefeated Yuriy Nuzhnenko, and Vyacheslav has successfully defended his world title belt three times: Motoki Sasaki (DEC12), Charlie Jose Navarro (DEC12) and more recently Marco Antonio Avendano (TKO6) last August in his last fight.
"Senchenko is a very, very good boxer with good technique," Roach recently said from the Wild Card Gym. "He has good height and a good punch. He had a great amateur background. The Ukraine has the No. 1 program in the world this year. It has a very good program and Senchenko is very well schooled. His jab is his best weapon and I think that will be the difference in this fight. He has a faster jab than Malignaggi and it should control the fight.
"I think Senchenko's boxing ability will enable him to out-score Paulie to win a decision. Paulie is very game. He'll bring the fight and make it exciting. Going to the Ukraine is not like going into hostile territory. The promoter (Yuri Ruban, Union Boxing) over there is very fair. One time I had a fighter from there - I thought he won - but he lost a decision at home. There will be neutral judges and the winner will be the real winner."
The brash Malignaggi (30-4, 6 KOs)a former International Boxing Federation ("IBF") junior welterweight champion, is unbeaten since moving up to welterweight with impressive wins against Michael Lozada (TKO6), Jose Miguel Cotto (DEC10) and Orlando Lora (DEC10).
"Paulie has a lot of heart," Roach noted. "He always tries to win and gives 100 percent. He came to my gym after he lost to Amir Khan - my fighter - but I didn't have time to work with him. One of my best trainers, Eric Brown, is training Paulie. It wouldn't have been fair for me to watch Paulie train here to a fight a guy I train. A decision was made by all of is that it would be better if Paulie didn't train here. Paulie's getting ready for this fight at home (New York City but he recently shifted training camp to Milan, Italy). There were no bad words or feelings. Paulie's a nice kid. He speaks his mind and I like people like that."
Training a fighter for an opponent trained by one of his assistant trainers, like it is for Roach against the Browned-trained Malignaggi, is something that just happens every once in a while. "It's a little unusual but it does happen," Freddie concluded. "I may have a similar situation of (Julio Cesar) Chavez (Jr.) fights Vanes (Martirosyan). I train and like both of them. It's not fair.....maybe I'll stay at home. There's been talk of Amir fighting Manny (Pacquiao) someday. I don't think it'll happen; they respect each other so much, but business is business."