Freddie Roach on Pacquiao-Marquez IV, Chavez Jr, split with Khan, 50 Cent, and more

Victor Decolongon - Getty Images

Legendary trainer Freddie Roach addressed a variety of topics in a recent interview, including his split with Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao's next fight, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr's shortcomings, and more.


Radio Rahim of Max Boxing spoke with trainer Freddie Roach at the Pacquiao vs Marquez IV press conference in Beverly Hills on Monday, and got extensive thoughts from the multiple-time Trainer of the Year and Hall of Fame inductee on a variety of topics, including Chavez Jr vs Martinez, his split with Amir Khan, the Pacquiao-Marquez fight on December 8, and 50 Cent's relationship with Manny -- and a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather.

A transcript is after the jump if you can't watch it now. It's a terrific interview.

Radio Rahim, Max Boxing: "It seemed that Chavez couldn't stay in the fight competitively. The 12th round was amazing, but those first 11 rounds were so tough. Can you tell me what happened?"

Freddie Roach: "Well, you know, I think -- honestly, I think our timing was a little bit off, and that we actually didn't box enough. We needed a little more sparring, I think. And a little more gym workouts instead of living room workouts. I want him to be more on a schedule than training at, like, sometimes 12 o'clock at night, 11 o'clock at night, three o'clock in the morning. He's just all over the place. We got the work in, but it was kind of scattered. If your body's not on a schedule, it won't respond as well. When your body's on a schedule, it'll respond better. I think he just couldn't let his hands go in the early rounds.

"I think it was the 10th round, he took a real bad -- he ate a lot of shots. I told him, 'Hey, if you don't show me we can win this fight, I'm gonna stop it.' And he went out and did a little bit better. And then the last round, I said, 'We need a knockout to win. Let's go. Let your hands go.' I said, 'All you gotta do is throw punches. Exchange with this guy. When he throws punches, his head's way up in the air.' He did that and knocked him down.

"But the thing is, the sad part about it is, we could have done that in the sixth round, and we would have had time to knock this guy out. But the thing is, you know, I feel it's my fault for letting him get away with it. I told him next time, we're going to be on a schedule. We're going to train at reasonable hours. Even late hours is fine with me. As long as it's the same every day. As long as you're on a schedule, your body will respond better to a schedule. So I think we need a little bit more discipline with that, and I think you'll be able to get the best of him. Early in the fight, he wasn't letting his hands go, because I think he was afraid that he might get tired in the later rounds. And then in the later rounds, towards the end, he knew he had the gas to do it.

"I think it was just more of a mental letdown. If we had been better prepared and more confident in that fight, and had a better training camp, I think we would have knocked him out, like, in six rounds. Martinez is definitely beatable. We showed that in the 12th round. We almost had him. But almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades."

[ Chavez Jr vs Martinez: Recap / Video Highlights ]
[
Chavez Jr vs Martinez: Invisible Man by Oli Goldstein ]

Radio Rahim: "This sounds almost like we could be at a press conference for Chavez-Martinez II. It sounds like you want that rematch. Is that something that you think is a good thing for Chavez? Would you really wanna see Martinez right up next again?"

Roach: "Yeah, because, you know, we gave that fight away. I mean, honestly. My guy was the bigger, stronger, better fighter in there, I think. Martinez -- he boxed very well, he throws great combinations and so forth, but when you press and put him on the ropes and so forth, he's not so effective."

Radio Rahim: "Just about the time that fight happened, some other news came out that Amir Khan has decided to switch trainers. Can you talk to me about how that happened? How you were informed, how this ultimately became the final decision?"

Roach: "Well, I read about it on the internet first. A lot of people gave him some slag over that so then he gave me a call the next day. We set up this call, and we spoke. I have no hard feelings. The thing is, he says he doesn't want to take a back seat to Manny Pacquiao, but now he's gonna have to take a back seat to some other fighter, because you know Virgil Hunter has a fighter that's a very dominant fighter right now, and Amir's gonna have to take a back seat to him.

"But you know, I think Virgil's technically a very good trainer, with the work he's done with Andre Ward. They look like a good fit. Can somebody change another person? I don't think so. I've been trying to get Amir to settle down for a long time now with no success. He likes to exchange a lot. I don't think that's going to change, but I wish him the best."

Radio Rahim: "Now that there's no connection between, there's no triangle between you and Pacquiao and Khan, let me ask this question first: There was also rumors that he said he would keep you if you let Chavez and Pacquiao go. Did he actually make that request?"

Roach: "Yes. Well, it didn't come directly from Amir, it came from Asif Vali, his um -- promoter, or whatever he is."

Radio Rahim: "Were you offended by reading that online? It seemed like Khan may have handled this pretty poorly from a professional, and you know, respects--"

Roach: "When they first said it to me, I said, 'Yeah! OK!' I just, like -- 'cause I thought it was a joke! You know? Then they asked me in person one time, and then the time in person, I said, 'These guys are serious.' So I said, you know, that's something I just can't do."

Radio Rahim: "If Pacquiao now were to fight Khan -- he could come up against you, some of your fighters. Do you feel like Khan is beatable by the fighters in your stable? Is that a fight you'd be comfortable with now?"

Roach: "Well, like I said, I wish you the best, Amir, but stay away from punchers. And my guys are punchers."

Radio Rahim: "Let's talk about Marquez-Pacquiao IV. This fight, obviously, is nothing new, this is the fourth time. You were there for the first three. What are you gonna do differently with a Pacquiao who says that he's hungry like his 20s? He's saying from the podium that he's gonna be the guy we haven't seen in a while. How are you gonna take advantage of that?"

Roach: "Well, we need that guy. That's a big plus sign for me -- scratching the cloth up there, he says, 'I need a knockout.' I says, 'That's the best thing I ever heard.' We're both on the same page. He's never predicted a fight before. All my life, I tried to get him to predict a fight. You know, there was nothing about, like, God doesn't want me to hurt fighters. He didn't mention God the whole speech. I think he knows that his focus has to be a lot better in this fight.

"Him making the decision to have the whole training camp in L.A. instead of the Philippines, back and forth, flying around the world, 16-hour flights, and the altitude training -- I think the whole thing is just really, really good for him, and very mature and professional of him to make the right choices this early in training camp. I'm very happy where he's at, and I think we're gonna have a real good fight. This fight has potential to be great.

"We know one thing about Marquez: When he goes down, he gets up and fights back. The first two fights we had, that happened. The third fight was a little less compelling because I think -- I think Manny took him a little bit lightly and just didn't really go after him like he did in the first two. But I think we can bring it back the first round and start off there, we'll be in good shape."

Radio Rahim: "Manny says the belts are important, but they're not the most important thing. Obviously, Bradley's holding all the belts. You feel like essentially he stole those belts. Is it important for you that Manny go reclaim his titles?"

Roach: "We need to fight the bigger fights. The fights the fans want to see. The Bradley fight, there's no audience out there. And there's an audience for this fight. Marquez sells tickets, and Bradley doesn't. The thing is, that was the bottom line, the factor in making this fight. What's the bigger fight? With Mayweather on the horizon possibly because 50 Cent and Manny are talking and there's negotiations going on -- it's a good sign to me, because they are talking about the fight. They're not just being friends and so forth. We're not gonna take him on as our manager for the last three fights of our lives.

"The negotiations, they're talking about the Mayweather fight. What else would they be talking about? So that's always a good sign, when there's talk. Something might happen. I hope it happens before it's too late."

Radio Rahim: "That 50 Cent connection is a really big deal, obviously, the fight everybody's been waiting for, it seems like forever. How comfortable are you with Manny working with 50 Cent, and then also, what's the relationship with Manny, Bob Arum, 50 Cent -- is Manny thinking of promoting himself or going beyond Top Rank?"

Roach: "No, Bob told me he can deal with 50. He said he likes him. 'I can talk with him. I can negotiate with him.' And Todd [duBoef] has been talking to him, Mike Koncz has been talking to him. [50] actually called Mike Koncz the other day when I was with him. He had to excuse himself to take a call. What else would they be talking about? Let's face it, they've gotta be talking about the Mayweather fight. That's a good sign. When there's talk, something might happen. Hopefully the best two fighters in the world will meet soon."

Radio Rahim: "Finally, Freddie, you've had six incredible years -- I believe it's six. Trainer of the Year awards, the TV show, it's been such phenomenal success. On a roll. This year's been tough."

Roach: "Three losses in a row. I can't have four, so we're gonna train our asses off for this one. Pacquiao's gonna be in shape. I hate to lose, but I've found out it's part of life. I hate that. Some controversies, some almosts, some this or that -- but they are losses, and I do take them personally. And I feel that I'm not doing my job enough. I will have to rededicate myself, and I will work harder, and I will work my fighters harder. Maybe I've been a little bit too easy on them. It's not gonna happen."

Radio Rahim: "Being the most decorated trainer in recent history, and having won that award six times, I feel like I can ask you this: At this point in the year, who do you think is Trainer of the Year?"

Roach: "You know, I thought Virgil Hunter was a great choice the last year, because I think he has the best fighter in the world. He might win it again, because Ward is a great boxer, very technical. He can switch styles with different opponents and so forth. He's competition, actually, Virgil Hunter -- I think he might get it again."

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