Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach spoke about a variety of topics this week, including working with Jessie Vargas, what’s next for Manny Pacquiao, and how Vasiliy Lomachenko is beatable.
On working with Jessie Vargas
“He’s a really, really good kid and a good boxer. He has great speed and when he puts his combinations together, he’s unstoppable.”
“The biggest issue with him is he does fatigue a little bit, so now I’ve got Justin Fortune working on his strength and conditioning, and he’s kicking ass with that. It’s a very, very good program and he’s doing really well with it. It pushes him every day. His speed and his power is going right along. We sparred 11 rounds yesterday, it’s great. It’s good to see him active for the entire 11 rounds. He’s getting that speed and the power. I look forward to his next fight and the ones after that.”
“He feels so much better with the extra weight (at 154), he feels stronger and feels like he can do a lot more. I think that had a lot to do with why he was getting fatigued in all his fights, because he didn’t have enough in him. Making 147 was maybe just a little bit too much of a struggle. I think at 154, he’s gonna be a much better fighter. Just line them up. We’ve already had a couple good fighters back out. They need to fight us at some point.”
“I’ve watched tape of (Jaime) Munguia because I was trying to help (Dennis Hogan) out a little bit, I know him and his team. ... (Hogan) is in good shape. I think Munguia is too strong for him, but I would welcome that fight for Jessie after this one.”
“(Vargas) is a good guy, he’s very nice. Maybe a little too nice. That part of him, we’re trying to get him to be a little bit meaner and step it up when he has to.”
On beating Vasiliy Lomachenko
“I don’t think he’s (pound-for-pound number one). I think Spence and Crawford are the best two fighters in the world, and No. 1 I would pick Crawford. But (Lomachenko) is a good boxer, yes.
“I think he’s beatable. I know what I would have my fighter do to try to beat him. Fuck his footwork, and go after him. Punch-for-punch. You might have to have a good chin to last, but there’s guys out there like that. I would just put pressure on him. He has one loss, and he did lose to a pretty average guy. (Orlando Salido) guy was a good sparring partner for many years.
“In his (fight with Jorge Linares), though, he was fighting one of the best fighters in the world, and he gets dropped and comes back and knocks him out with a body shot. I didn’t expect that. He may be a little better than I thought. I do think he is beatable, though, and I hope we get the right guy to fight him someday.”
“Possibly, but I think that Spence has a lot of trouble making 147. I think that’s why the Garcia fight went the distance with a little guy. Usually, Spence puts people on their ass somewhere in the fight, at least has knockdowns if not knockouts. But in that fight, he fought a little guy and never hurt him once. That was a little unusual.
“I didn’t think it was his best performance ever. I don’t think that performance really helped his career at all, either, because the fight was kind of boring to watch. ... I was a little bored with that fight.
On who Manny Pacquiao should fight next
“They asked me, ‘Who’s next for Manny Pacquiao?’ My pick was Mikey Garcia. And they said, ‘Well, we’ve gotta get him a win first,’ and I said, ‘Well, do what you gotta do.’”
“At this point, if we can’t get Mayweather, we want the best fighter we can fight. My choice was Mikey Garcia, but if Spence and the rest of them are available, we’re not gonna duck anybody. We will fight the best fighters out there.”
“I really don’t have any idea what’s going on there. I know Manny Pacquiao in the past, he won’t even sit down and watch an MMA fight. He doesn’t like that sport. He thinks it’s too vicious. I’m surprised. I didn’t know what type of company it was until they just told me.”
“The thing about Manny is, whoever they pick for his next opponent, I’ll be glad to help get him ready for it. We’ll see who it is, I’m sure, very soon.”
On Canelo vs Jacobs
“Canelo-Jacobs is a very good fight, a really good boxer with a nice, long jab, against a pressure fighter who can punch very well. It’s a fight I’m really happy is happening, because that’s one of the cases of the best fighting the best, no qualms, they’re fighting each other. We need more of that in our game, we really do. If they don’t want the UFC and all these other sports to take over, they better start letting these guys fight each other.”
On Canelo compared to some of the Mexican greats
“He can box, he can punch, he can move. He can move for 12 rounds, or he can fight for 12 rounds. He’s one of he most complete fighters out there today. He’s not my favorite person in the world, but he might be the best fighter in the world today. There’s only maybe one guy who can maybe throw that out, (Oleksandr Usyk). He’s a very intelligent fighter himself. He might be the best fighter in the world overall.”
On Usyk moving to heavyweight
“I believe he’ll have trouble at heavyweight. But don’t take him lightly. If you do, you’re making a mistake. That’s what I say about Tyson Fury, too. Don’t take him lightly, because he’s one of those guys, he can beat anyone in the world on a given night.”
On Tyson Fury
“I don’t think he’s the best heavyweight, but again, don’t take him lightly. You have to get rid of him. He’s a durable guy.”