Trainer Freddie Roach is, in many ways, a genius. He's an excellent trainer, picks apart opponents extremely well, and he also does one other thing like few others do: He puts the focus on himself. The fighters get to fight.
We've seen him do it with Manny Pacquiao, who is surely a phenomenon the likes of which we rarely see in any sport. Though Pacquiao commands more than his share of the attention at this point, it's Roach who does the big talking. Were Pacquiao to lose, it almost feels like it would be Roach that took the brunt of criticism, not the fighter. That's kind of smart.
Now he's doing with Amir Khan. Speaking at an open workout, Roach praised Khan's upcoming opponent, Andriy Kotelnik, while also sounding confident that Khan can beat the 140-pound titlist and claim his first strap. But there's some issue I take with some of his other comments and with the way he's shaping Khan's career in general.
Freddie talks about a fight between Khan and Ricky Hatton, which I think is a bad idea for their side for two major reasons:
- Hatton is beloved. He's the flagship star of an entire generation of English boxing. I still think it sounds a lot like Oscar de la Hoya-Julio Cesar Chavez. The young guy whose fan response has been somewhat mixed swooping down and picking the bones of the faded hero.
- Hatton, though he'll likely never be close to the fighter he was at his very best ever again, might knock Khan out if he can get him close.
Roach also halfway calls out Erik Morales, who is planning a comeback and really hasn't looked good since March 19, 2005, when he beat Pacquiao. That's the last fight Erik Morales won. He's 0-4 since then, hasn't fought since a 2007 loss to David Diaz, and is beyond the point where he was a shot top-level fighter. He's a shot mid-tier fighter that would be fighting at a weight (135, at least) that simply doesn't suit him.
Khan-Morales would probably look a lot like the farce that was Khan-Marco Antonio Barrera, though perhaps without the gruesome headbutt gash. No one would give Khan any credit for beating Erik Morales at this point, nor should they. The very idea of that fight is a travesty. Who would they like to call out next? Kevin Kelley? Paulie Ayala?