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Freddie Roach the leading candidate to join HBO team

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With the news yesterday that Lennox Lewis is out at HBO, a leading candidate is said to have emerged, and he could start as soon as June 5, when Yuri Foreman meets Miguel Cotto.

Paul Upham of Seconds Out reported that Freddie Roach, the three-time BWAA Trainer of the Year who has been given enormous credit for molding Manny Pacquiao into the fighter he is today, is in talks to join the network's boxing team for editions of Boxing After Dark, where Lewis had worked with Bob Papa and Max Kellerman.

Roach would be used on June 5, of course, because Emanuel Steward is training Cotto. Steward is the usual "third man" in the booth for World Championship Boxing and HBO pay-per-view events, but with Lewis out of the picture, there's a hole. HBO likes to keep it simple: Play-by-Play Guy (Lampley/Papa), Bizarre Pseudo-Poetry Guy (Merchant/Kellerman), and Boxing Guy (Lewis/Steward). With Lewis out, Roach would be the new Boxing Guy.

To be honest, there are probably better options out there, but none with Roach's hot name. Shannon Briggs is a terrific commentator, and Roy Jones Jr. has worked with HBO in the past as well, and he's not exactly busy right now. Bernard Hopkins has shown a wonderful flair for the job on his appearances for ESPN2 over the years, too.

I guess this means Steward will work the May 15 fight between Amir Khan (a Roach fighter) and Paulie Malignaggi, too. And speaking of that fight, Roach is predicting a knockout within three for Khan, to which Paulie gloriously responded with this rant:

"I tried to be Mr. Nice Guy and respect Amir Khan and his perverted ways. But that is now out the window, like when round four comes and he hasn't knocked me out. Tell that pervert Amir Khan, to stick to sending photos to models, because this boxing game is a real sport."