By Chris Robisnon
While inside of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles yesterday, the Koncrete Jungle caught up with world renowned trainer Freddie Roach. Always working with a bevy of talented pugilists, Roach has no bigger assignment on his schedule than his star fighter Manny Pacquiao’s June 9th tussle with undefeated Timothy Bradley.
Pacquiao is roughly a 3-1 favorite to successfully defend his WBO welterweight belt against Bradley when they meet inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and if you ask Roach, it’s for good reason. Having seen his share of the Palm Springs, California native on tape, Roach insists he has never been taken aback my Bradley and even remarked that Pacquiao will likely finish him off in the same manner as he did Ricky Hatton, who he iced in chilling fashion in under two rounds in May of 2009.
Catching up with Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz on Wednesday evening in hopes of getting a response to Roach's comments, I wasn’t disappointed.
“That’s the reason why I don’t watch news,” Diaz would say upon hearing of Roach’s bold proclamations. “That’s the reason why I don’t read stuff. Because I don’t want to know. And if I know, it doesn’t bother me. I know what I got and I know in what shape Timothy is. What mentality he is in. They can talk all they want. I don’t care. At the end of the day, Freddie’s not going to be in the ring fighting Bradley; it’s going to be Pacquiao.”
And while Ricky Hatton may have once been considered the number one junior welterweight on the block, Diaz insists he was past his peak and out of true fighting shape by the time Pacquiao got to him.
“Yeah, he did knock out Ricky Hatton, but come on, it’s Ricky Hatton,” Diaz stated. “After Mayweather knocked him out, Ricky Hatton was no longer the same. This guy blows up to 180, 190 pounds and then he makes 140; he loses everything on the scale. In order for you to get knocked out the way Manny Pacquiao knocked out Ricky Hatton, you’ve got to be hydrated. Because, if you’re hydrated, you will knock get knocked out like that. You can tell that knock out had a lot to do with hydration.”
Never one to typically talk trash or belittle anyone, Diaz still felt the need to continue returning fire.
“I respect every person, every trainer, that dedicates time to a fighter. But personally, myself, I feel he’s been an overrated trainer,” Diaz would say of Roach. “There’s only so much he can do. I just think that if Manny Pacquiao had landed in the United States with any other trainer, he would have made another trainer famous. Because it was Manny Pacquiao who made Freddie Roach famous, not Freddie Roach [who] made Manny Pacquiao famous.”
Taking things a bit further, Diaz hinted that perhaps Roach is starting to feel the heat with the fight now less than three weeks away.
“I just think he’s talking, trying to play mind games, because he feels the pressure,” Diaz stated. “Remember, Manny Pacquiao is the one that’s supposed to impress the world. He’s the one who has the pressure on his back. He’s the one who’s supposed to look good. Because after the last performance, a lot of people have doubts about Manny Pacquiao. He’s the one who has the pressure of looking good in this fight.”
One thing that does concern Diaz is the judging in the fight, something that is never a certainty.
“Honestly, the fight doesn’t worry me at all,” said Diaz. “That night, I’m not fighting Manny Pacquiao; I’m fighting the damn judges. Because they are ridiculous. That’s the biggest one of my worries right there, not Manny Pacquiao. In order for Manny Pacquiao to knock out Tim Bradley, it’s going to take a lot. I can tell you this. Because Timothy Bradley is not a Ricky Hatton.”
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