By Rick Reeno
Virgil Hunter, trainer of Andre Ward, Amir Khan and numerous others, reached out to BoxingScene.com to respond to some of the recent statements that are being circulated in the press, from Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
In an interview with Gareth Davies of The Telegraph, Roach unexpectedly criticized Hunter as a trainer and made negative statements about his work with Khan. The British star was trained for several years by Roach, but two years ago he left Roach's Wild Card Gym and retained the services of Hunter.
"I wasn't overly impressed with him [against Julio Diaz in Sheffield last year]. The greatest defensive coach in the world must not be doing his job. They make this guy [Virgil Hunter] the best defensive coach in the world because he has Andre Ward. He did not make Ward; Ward made him," Roach told the paper.
Hunter tells BoxingScene he was "very disappointed" with the statements. In the opinion of Hunter, Roach makes these types of statements because he doesn't understand what it takes to make a fighter "from the bottom-up." Lately, Hunter says Roach has been attacking anyone and everyone, whether it's in print or in person.
"It's truly a disappointment that a man can be in the frame of mind to talk down about an ex-fighter of his, who made a decision that it was time to go if he was going to continue in his career. I think what Freddie needs to understand is, me and Amir have been together for two fights and two fights is not long enough to clean up the mess that he left with the eight fights, because it was quite obvious that he didn't address any of the flaws in those eight fights. I'm not saying that he couldn't fix them, but he didn't address them," Hunter told BoxingScene.com.
"I come from a fraternity of coaches who started from the bottom-up. And I'm talking about Naazim [Richardson], Barry [Hunter], Mike Stafford, Kevin Cunningham, Leon Lawson...guys who know what it is to start a fighter out from the root to the fruit. The comment he made about Andre making me....it was irresponsible. It was what we call in hood, on a scale of 9 to 10, of haterism. Andre is my godson. He started boxing at 9-years-old, so certainly he didn't make himself. And he certainly didn't make me. I laid the foundation, I gave him the philosophy and I instilled the work ethic, Once that was set, he took it to the next level. He took what I gave him and took it to the next level. Andre will tell Freddie to his face that he didn't make me."
"I don't know if he would understand because [Roach] never started from there. He doesn't know what it is to fight for trophies. He doesn't know what it is to have a twelve-year-old kid and go up and down the country to tournaments. He doesn't know anything about that. Those are the development stages. What you see today are years of hard work. Andre wasn't handed to me or gift-wrapped to me. We did it together."
"If you look at some of the other guys I got coming up, like Brandon Gonzales, who is number one in the IBF now. He started boxing at 20-years-old and he is a number one contender under the IBF and one of the best offensive and defensive fighters out there. Andre is champion, number two in the world pound-for-pound behind Floyd and also number two, behind Floyd, with connect percentage and his connects against percentage.
"I have the last [American] gold medalist and that's an accomplishment. I have a world champion who would wipe out everybody in his gym, period....everyone from heavyweight on down. They will need a body bag at the Wild Card if I brought him. There would be body bags all over the Wild Card, from heavyweight on down, if I brought him. Freddie just needs to stay looking inward and realize that he has a lot of things that he needs to overcome, like hiding behind stuff and getting along with people."
"Jorge Linares, I thought he was a superb boxer, and what happened to him under Freddie's watch? He needs to stay in his lane and accept what the people give him. He needs to understand that there is a fraternity of coaches who respect what each other do because we've been through it. It's impossible for him to understand that journey, so since he doesn't understand it he shouldn't make comments on other people's situations.
"Lately, every time we turn around he's saying something negative about somebody, or getting in some type of altercation, whether it's slandering someone or something racial. He needs to tone it down, because I know quite a bit about him and he wouldn't want me talk about the things that I know. He needs to understand that Amir Khan is over here now and we have a great relationship and we believe in each other. If we fall short, we won't fall short because we didn't try. If he has a problem with Amir, then he should take it up with Amir. He should keep my name out of his mouth."
"Let Freddie make comments after I have eight fights with Amir. Amir chose to leave him and made a decision on who he wanted to go with. Freddie has to live with that. I'm going to let him off easy this time. But if he comes back again, I'm going to have to open up a little bit more."Tags: Amir Khan , Freddie Roach , Virgil Hunter