FREDDIE ROACH / BOB ARUM
MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT
November 10, 2008
Bob Arum: We’re getting closer and closer to the fight. Freddie Roach, who I regard as the best trainer in boxing today, is working hard with Manny. He’s going to have Manny in tip-top shape. I don’t know how much better Manny can be than what he is now.
But just amazing and we’re going to shock the world on December 6 because with Freddie’s guidance Manny is going to not only defeat Oscar but knock Oscar out. So it’s a pleasure me to turn this over to Freddie Roach.
Freddie Roach: Thanks Bob. Training camp’s going very well. Manny Pacquiao’s in great shape. We’re still four weeks ago and we’re just kind of maintaining and I have some great sparring partners and everything’s really going well. I’m really happy where he’s at right now. And we’re all anxious for the fight.
Mark Whicker: Freddie – your experience from training Oscar – what types of things do you think you’ve learned that will put you in good stead for this fight being on the other side?
Freddie Roach: He’s got a good left hand and doesn’t have a lot of confidence in his right hand. So, we know we have to get past that jabbing and that’s going to be our toughest opposition, I believe. And we’re working on that and I’ve got some great sparring partners with better jabs than Oscar and Manny’s handling it very well.
And we’re going to put pressure on this guy because I know Oscar tends to get tired late in rounds in slow paced fights. We’re going to fight the whole time and just burn him out.
Steve Carp: Hi Freddie. Can you talk a little bit more about these sparring partners that you’ve brought in? Maybe give a couple of specific names of some guys and why you felt you needed to bring these guys in to help replicate what Oscar tries to do.
Freddie Roach: Marvin Cordova, who’s very fast – he’s got a quick jab, 20 -0, with one draw, (unintelligible) fighter really hard work. He weighs 158 pounds right now. He’s big. He’s tall like Oscar.
Rashad Holloway, my number one sparring partner because he looks like Oscar more than anybody – he’s got the height and the boxing ability and he’s been in it with everybody.
And I’ve also got Amir Khan. Amir has a great left hand; very fast. He and Manny are really going at it. I wanted Amir to get his confidence back and I’m training him now too, so it’s worked out well from both sides there.
And Manny had a little bit of trouble with Amir’s jab early but then he attacks it and takes it away from him and has great results later in rounds. And so these three sparring partners are really working out well for me.
And I think duplicating what Oscar does best and Manny’s doing very well with them.
Steve Carp: Freddie, there’s talk that Edwin Valero’s been in Oscar’s camp sparring him. We know how hard he hits and there’d been talk of Manny fighting Valero instead of Oscar, you know, right around this time of the year.
What are your thoughts about Valero getting Oscar prepared and how much do you think he replicates what Manny does?
Freddie Roach: Valero’s probably nothing like Manny Pacquiao. He punches hard but he’s slow as molasses. And I think they got the wrong guy.
Michael David Smith: How much does Manny weigh right now? And seeing as Oscar’s significantly bigger than anyone Manny’s fought before how does that change his preparation?
Freddie Roach: He weighs 151 pounds right now. We have him on a better diet and feeding him more protein and putting the weight on (unintelligible) keeping that weight stabilized actually.
And he’s been about the same weight throughout camp and so we were a couple of pounds overweight, actually. We’re not coming up and weighing. We didn’t use any weightlifting or anything like that to make him bigger just because I believe speed wins this fight.
His body fat is 6%. His weight’s good. Oscar’s a little taller and so forth but by fight time I think Oscar will probably weigh about 160 pounds and Manny will be about 150 pounds.
So ten pounds I’m not really worried about that because I feel that speed wins this fight – not size.
Michael David Smith: I guess David Diaz is the biggest guy Manny has fought. Has he expressed at any point any concern that size is a problem or is he just ready to go against a bigger guy and doesn’t see that as an issue?
Freddie Roach: It’s not an issue at all. We’re just preparing for the fight. He knows he can win this fight. I know he can win this fight. We’re very confident. Training camp’s going really, really well. He’s handling the biggest sparring partners well.
When I saw how he handled the biggest sparring partners I was very pleased.
And he’s doing well.
Mark Whicker: Freddie, I guess the concern that people have mostly about this fight is whether Manny’s punches are going to have the same effect against a guy that big and Manny’s ability to take Oscar’s punches, assuming that he does get hit.
How do you address those two things and who is the guy that you remembered (unintelligible) in Manny’s career who he had to take the hardest punches from?
Freddie Roach: Well Manny in his career …nobody as big as Oscar. of course. But in the gym, Victor Ortiz – he and Manny went at it, I mean toe-to-toe. Victor’s a good puncher, very strong kid.
Manny handled it with no problem but again the gym’s a gym and the fight is a fight. Oscar … his right hand is kind of okay but his left hook is a power shot; something we have to look out for. We’re working on staying away from that.
And Manny’s size … the thing is again, I’m not looking for a knockout. If a knockout comes, it comes. We’re going to break this guy down and win each round one at a time. And that’s our goal.
And if Oscar tires, like he normally does, we will stop him. I’m not worried about Manny being a knockout puncher in this fight because he’s not that one- punch knockout type of guy. He breaks people down and he gets them out late and is more with aggression.
Mark Whicker: How long do you think Manny has envisioned fighting Oscar? Has it been years? Months? And also, having seen Oscar and having trained him and also having trained Manny for a long time how long have you envisioned this fight?
Freddie Roach: Well I didn’t really think it was possible at one point in my life. But then as I thought about it, and I watched Oscar with smaller guys and with southpaws – he has trouble with both – I started thinking about it. And it made sense to me when the fight was finally offered.
So, I pushed for this fight hard because I knew it was a great fight for Manny and it’s really not this fight it’s what it does for his life. I think it makes him a superstar.
He’s already a great fighter but this is going to be the icing on the cake. And, Manny’s really been working hard for this one and I don’t think the size is that big a deal. If a guy has a height advantage or a reach advantage, how easy is that to take away? It’s very easy and Manny has that style to take that advantage away.
He’s aggressive, he comes forward, and when you get close to a guy with long arms they need room – it crowds their punches. So I’m not worried about the size.
Raymundo Dioses: Where does Manny rank in other fighters you’re trained? Is he the greatest fighter you’ve trained?
Freddie Roach: Maybe. You know, James Toney is hard to beat. He’s a natural fighter, a great boxer. You know, (unintelligible) – I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of great fighters.
But Manny’s my best work I feel. I’ve had Manny from where he was kind of a raw, fast, hard-punching kid when he came in. Now he’s a much better fighter and more technical and we’ve spent a lot of time – we’ve very close to each other.
Manny’s my favorite figure for sure. I’ve worked with a lot of great guys. It’s just been – I’ve been fortunate to work with guys like James Toney and Mike Tyson and those type of guys.
But Manny definitely is the hardest worker I’ve ever worked with and that shows.
Raymundo Dioses: How has the HBO 24/7 series been towards Manny? Has Manny been accessible to them?
Freddie Roach: We’re getting along well with them. It’s not a problem. It’s part of life right now and we’re dealing with it as best we can. Manny’s just doing his normal thing and that’s the great thing about 24/7 – him doing his normal thing.
So he’s doing okay. It gets a little intrusive at times and maybe a little bit tiresome at times but we feel pretty good about it though because when we tell them to go home they do.
Raymundo Dioses: Given the past animosity with Oscar would you ever train Oscar again if the opportunity came up?
Freddie Roach: I don’t think so. The thing is he told me that he’d never fight without me in his corner again one time and he just wanted to make me feel good at some point and I fell for it. But I did feel good for a moment.
I have no problem with Oscar. He’s a great guy. I think we’ll be friends after the fight someday. But he has his (unintelligible) right now, you know, I use what I learned to prepare my guy to get ready for this fight.
And Oscar says that I’m more motivated to fight the fight (unintelligible) look for a job.
Robert Morales: Freddie I was just wondering where is in your mind as far as you know where is all this stuff about Victor Ortiz beating up Oscar coming from? Because the Ortiz camp has vehemently denied it and said that they would never do anything like that.
Freddie Roach: Do something like what?
Robert Morales: Beat up Oscar in training.
Freddie Roach: Oh. Just reports from 24/7 actually. One of the guys told me that Victor beat him up; they have it on film. They said it would be on the first episode. But, you know, Victor Ortiz is a friend of mine. I think he’s a great sparring partner for Oscar. I think he’s much better than Valero. Victor is a great guy; he’s on the show.
Who cares what they’re doing up there? I’m getting my guy ready. I have – I could care less what they’re doing up there.
Kevin Mitchell: Was part of the decision of taking Amir Khan on the fact that he would provide pretty good sparring for Manny?
Freddie Roach: No because I didn’t think he was big enough at the time but when Amir got here, I saw his height and I saw how good his jab was. I’ve seen Amir in the past of course but only on TV and I met him once.
So it really just happened by accident. I was working with him (unintelligible). I said, “You know what? This is like Oscar’s jab.” So I liked it so it gave me a good idea and it’s worked out well..
Eduardo Ohata: Mr. Roach do you think that having worked with Mr. Oscar De La Hoya it’ll help you now that you are in the corner of Mr. Manny Pacquiao?
Freddie Roach: Yes. I think it helps a little bit. But it doesn’t win the fight of course. The thing is, I can advise Manny and tell him certain habits that Oscar has and so forth and hopefully we can take advantage of them.
But it’s up to Manny Pacquiao to make those moves though. And I think it’s a little bit helpful, yes, but it doesn’t win the fight. Manny Pacquiao – his ability will win the fight I believe.
Eduardo Ohata: We know that you suffer from the Parkinson’s disease. The question is how are you able to work with so many world champions as you do? How do you neutralize the disease?
Freddie Roach: I take care of myself as best I can. I live a very clean life. My biggest downfall is Haagen-Dazs ice cream. I live clean and so forth.
But I think once I get in the ring and start working with my fighters the Parkinson’s goes away. For some reason I have no problems in that capacity and I’m going to keep working until I can’t anymore.
So it’s not a problem right now.
Michael David Smith: I wonder are there other fighters you are currently preparing for a fight while you’re also preparing Manny or is Manny the one guy you’re working with?
Freddie Roach: No, I have four fights this month before Manny. I start my day in the gym at 8 am and I finish at 8 pm and I train Manny from Noon to four. Amir comes in from four to six. I’m busy. I work a full day with other fighters
Mark Whicker: When you trained Oscar – and of course he’s been through a lot of trainers as we all know – how attentive was he? How willing was to listen was he? And is there anything that he didn’t do in the fight that you trained him to do and wish he had?
Freddie Roach: Oscar was great in training camp. He works really hard and he’s a hard trainer, he’s a hard worker. I know that. He’s not the fastest learner in the world. When you show him something new you have to keep working on him where Pacquiao picks it up a lot quicker. You show Manny something once he picks it up quick. Oscar’s not that type of guy.
And not that there’s anything wrong with it but the thing is it takes a little more time for him. The game plan we had for the fight [against Mayweather], was working well in the early rounds and I thought we were winning the fight. And then he abandoned the game plan and then we end up losing the decision. And then, I guess about a month ago, he started blaming me for the loss.
But, he’s always blaming somebody so he can blame me for this one too.
Mark Whicker: What did you want him to do in those later rounds (unintelligible)?
Freddie Roach: Well the (unintelligible) jab was working well for him and that’s his bread and butter but he just lost sight of it and I just couldn’t get him to bring it back.
You know, (unintelligible) but it just wasn’t there.
Robert Morales: I’ve been reading on the internet, guys like Margarito and the Chavez’s and other Mexicans who are putting their support behind Manny Pacquiao over Oscar who of course is not a Mexican national but he is a Mexican American.
What do you think that says? What does that say to you about Oscar – about anything? What do you think about that – these guys supporting Manny instead of the Mexican?
Freddie Roach: Well I don’t read into that because I just don’t have time to go to computers. But yeah of course I hear stories – I get reports all of them and so forth. But it really doesn’t matter to me. I’m happy that they’re behind Manny.
Manny has a lot of Mexican fans because of the great fights he’s fought with the great Mexican fighters.
And the rivalry’s great between the Philippines and the Mexicans because of Manny Pacquiao. And I’m glad they have their support of course. But, you know, the bottom line is we just need to win this fight and that’s what I’m concerned with.
Bob Arum: And you also have to understand that Manny Pacquiao is more of a Mexican style figure than Oscar De La Hoya is or ever will be. So I think that’s the reason a lot of Mexican fighters who fight the Mexican style are supporting Manny.
But as Freddie indicates, this is not going to be decided by a vote. That election’s over. It’s going to be decided in the ring.
Ron Borges: I’m wondering you’ve talked the Mayweather fight and De La Hoya abandoning the jab. What do you think – was that psychological in your opinion or was that physical in your opinion? Did he tire mentally or did he tire physically?
Freddie Roach: No it’s a mistake Oscar made in the fight and we’re going to take advantage of it in our fight. I’m not going to tell you what it was but it was something that he started doing – it wasn’t something Mayweather did. It was a mistake Oscar made and I know the mistake and I know it well. And we will take advantage of it.
Ron Borges: You don’t what to share that with us, huh?
Freddie Roach: No because that’s how I’m going to take his jab away from him.
Ron Borges: Does he in your opinion though he has faded in some fights; he talks about it himself. How much of that do you is more losing mental focus than actually physically being (unintelligible)?
Freddie Roach: A hundred percent – 100% mental. He trains really, really hard. He runs well. He has great work ethic. He gets tired. It’s a mental issue. What it is specifically – I don’t know.
I’ve had sports psychologists call me and offer to help Oscar with that problem. And I told Oscar and he just laughed at me. But it might be something to it.
Colin Seymour: My question pertains to Pernell Whitaker who was a smaller left hander who gave De La Hoya trouble. What can you draw from that fight and in what ways has Oscar improved since that fight?
Freddie Roach: We’ve been watching that fight a lot on tape to be honest with you. That’s one of the key fights and I really don’t think he’s improved since then. I think he’s gone the other way. I think with age we all get old and our reflexes get slower. It’s just part of life.
And I think he’s not the fighter that fought Whitaker at the time and that’s why I’m so confident in this fight.
Patrick Kehoe: Hi Freddie. Question I had for you was regarding the fact of course Manny’s the smaller guy but probably at this point the quicker guy. The question I had was other than diet what are the sort of things that you are looking or sort of looking toward – what are your responsibilities with respect to getting him to match up with a bigger guy?
Freddie Roach: We’re just going with his natural ability and speed. The thing is, a lot of people have put weight on with weightlifting and so forth. But that takes away from speed and speed is what’s going to win us the fight.
We’re just maintaining where we’re at right now. He’s comfortable with the weight. The diet’s the only thing we’re putting weight on (unintelligible) only thing we’ve really changed in his routine is we add a little more protein to keep the weight on.
And it’s working well and because I don’t want him to get too small for this fight we’re going to weigh in at 147 and by fight time we’re going to be 150. That’s all we’re going to weigh because I think anything bigger he will be sluggish.
Manny weighed 147-1/2 when he fought Diaz and his speed and power was still there. So I don’t think it’s really a problem. And our body fat’s at 6% right now and it’s going to be probably at 4-1/2 or 5% which is normal for Manny Pacquiao going into a fight. I don’t see any problems.
HBO’s Emmy-Award-winning all-access franchise “24/7” returns with Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao in starring roles. The four-episode series “De La Hoya/Pacquiao 24/7”premieres This Sunday! Nov. 16th at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
“The Dream Match,” the welterweight collision between two of boxing’s biggest attractions, Olympic gold medalist and 10-time world champion “The Golden Boy” OSCAR DE LA HOYA and current Ring Magazine No. 1-ranked pound for pound champion MANNY “Pacman” PACQUIAO, is scheduled to take place on Saturday, December 6 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, the bout will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, Inc., presented by Tequila Cazadores and sponsored by Ceverza Tecate, DeWalt Tools, Full Throttle Energy Drink, and Southwest Airlines, the fight sold out in hours, making it the second largest grossing gate in boxing history.
The De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao pay-per-view telecast has a suggested retail price of $54.95, and will be available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.com.