Freddie Roach: Tout de suite
It has been a tough year for Freddie Roach. Although HBO’s “On Freddie Roach” turned him into a household name, no mean feat for a trainer and something he acknowledges with a laugh and shrug of the shoulders, it wasn’t in households where he earned his stripes, but in a gym and the squared circle.
Three of Freddie’s top fighters were hit hard this year, with possibly disastrous consequences. On Sept. 15 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. met his comeuppance at the very capable fists of Sergio Martinez. Some of us this saw this coming, but it hit many like a bat out of hell. Amir Khan was TKO’d by Danny Garcia in July, following a loss to Lamont Peterson seven months earlier, which led to one of the more nasty boxing divorces in recent memory. And three short weeks ago Manny Pacquiao, the undisputed king of Roach’s stable, was brutally KO’d by Juan Manuel Marquez, a knockout that will or will not dramatically affect his future performances.
Popularity runs hot and cold in boxing. That’s as true for trainers as it is for fighters. It’s not as overt as Baskin-Robbins Flavor of the Month, but it sometimes feels that way. Fight fans are a fickle lot. Does anyone remember when Buddy McGirt was being lionized as the trainer’s trainer? No one hears that anymore. Attention has shifted, and perhaps rightfully so, to Robert Garcia, and more recently Virgil Hunter.
BoxingScene.com spoke with Freddie Roach about Manny’s loss. He wasn’t apologetic, not that apologies are called for, but he may be sugarcoating a crushing defeat.
“He was fighting the best fight he’s fought in a long time,” said Roach accurately. “The thing is he got a little anxious and walked into one. It happens in boxing. Like Manny told me, ‘If you don’t think you can lose in this sport, you picked the wrong sport.’ And he understands that and he knows it. And we’d like to do it again sometime down the line,” possibly in September, “but right now I want him to take a nice rest and recover completely from that punch. That was a devastating punch and he knows it was his fault. He jumped in from too far away and made a mistake but he was fighting a great fight and I would love to do it again.”
Roach was one of those who didn’t want a fourth fight, let alone a fifth fight. He felt it was all said and done between Pacquiao and Marquez.
Freddie Roach feels that way no longer. But will it be any different if they fight a fifth time?