Interview with Freddie Roach: “Size means nothing!”


By: Francisco Martinez

The 7 time BWAA “trainer of the year” & hall of fame inductee Freddie Roach is showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. The former pugilistic turned trainer is one of the most entertaining individuals Boxing has provided in the last decade. Whether it may be his egotistical claims of 1st round knockout predictions or his onslaught of profanity but well articulated sentences Freddie Roach has lived a life decorated by greatness amongst the boxing realm. With Parksinson’s illness being a challenge on its own the legendary trainer at the moment seems to be going even harder then before. Newly acquired Canadian Jean Pascal finds himself training under the tutelage of the famed trainer in Hollywood at Roach’s world renowned Wild Card Boxing Club which maintains its tradition of producing world champions & attracting current world titlist as well, with a little help and supervision from Freddie Roach’s assistant Marie Spivey, who helps Freddie Roach maintain order in a busy schedule he constantly balances, a great team they are indeed. BoxingInsider.com takes a good look at the current tandem between former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal & Freddie Roach as they prepare for a rematch against the Russian, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.

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BoxingInsider.com: “You have Jean Pascal now in your camp, you’re his trainer, he’s a much bigger guy then the fighters you’ve been training lately, how have you accustomed to that and (have you) made some changes?”

Freddie Roach: “Size means nothing, I’ve trained heavyweights before. I trained Wladimir Klitschko, I trained his brother. (Raises arms) Mitts…”

BoxingInsider.com: “…mitt work’s a challenge?”

Freddie Roach: “No, it’s fun I like working with him, good punchers, he’s strong. Since I hurt my back I didn’t do all the catching (actual mitt work) Speedy Gonzalez helped me out quite a bit…”

(“Speedy” Gonzalez is one of the few Assistant trainers Freddie Roach relies on when or if he’s out of town, in another country for a fight or press conference of some kind. With prized jewel 8 division world champion Manny Pacquiao & prospects like Frankie Gomez an the adding of Jean Pascal Roach has more then enough to keep him busy. His assistant trainers are pivotal to his success in some form or fashion. Amongst those trainers is Filipino Marvin Somodio. A guy molded exclusively by Freddie Roach. Somodio carries most of the heavy load when Roach isn’t around or can’t accompany his fighters overseas because of certain obligations. Marvin Somodio being perceived by most fans as the heir to Freddie Roach’s training duties if, when, he decides to call it a day and retire. Or at least Marvin Somodio is the most qualified one out of all the trainers that assist Freddie Roach on a daily basis. Somodio right down “catches” mitts in same form as Freddie Roach does. After all, why wouldn’t he? Roach did convince the Pinoy to become a trainer and teach him just about everything)

BoxingInsider.com: “Jean Pascal had a great start against (Sergey) Kovalev but he couldn’t sustain it through out the whole fight, he kind of faded away. What adjustments and changes have you made to make sure this time he’s able to maintain that?”

Freddie Roach: “Well, the thing is he told me he was a little bit flat going into that fight. He over trained and so forth and that’s not going to happen in my system. He’s on my system right now and he’s in great shape. I don’t see him getting tired at all this time and I’m looking for him to win every round, 1 at a time. I told him don’t go out there looking for the knockout because you know what, that’s foolish. If the knockout comes, it comes that’ll be a bonus. What are our intentions, to win every round 1 at a time”

(Jean Pascal got off to an early start against Sergey Kovalev managing to make the first 4 rounds very exciting and competitive, having most seeing him win them. Jean Pascal has been plagued by stamina issues in the past in fights like Bermard Hopkins where he dropped the ageless wonder twice but wasn’t successful in finishing him. As the fight progressed his conditioning suffered going the full 12 rounds and ultimately finding himself in a “draw”. A decision many felt Bernard Hopkins won even in hostile territory)

BoxingInsider.com: “You actually have a good relationship with Kovalev did he take this kind of personal when you made the move to train Jean Pascal for the rematch?”

Freddie Roach: “I saw him at the (Top Rank promotions) fights in Glendale (CA) after it was already announced and so forth and he told me, you better watch out, I said yeah, you to. We smiled, we shook hands but you know it’s nothing personal, I don’t feel (it is)”

(Sergey Kovalev trained at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club and bounced around a few other gyms until finally landing in Big Bear, CA. An atmosphere that provides high altitude training conditions. With the moving from gym to gym Jean Pascal branded him “Homeless” for not having stable training grounds. Claiming it’s all do to his “No fan base” therefore seeking one provided from well known boxing gyms with a trainer who garners “attention” for his career and Robert Garcia’s RGBA in Oxnard, CA being one of the gyms Kovalev continuously works out in from time to time)

BoxingInsider.com: “Manny Pacquiao vs. (Timothy) Bradley for a 3rd time, does Bradley bring the power he showed against (Brandon) Rios in this fight, that Teddy Atlas brought out of him?”

Freddie Roach: “Well, I don’t think Teddy Atlas brought anything out of him. I thought he fought an opponent who’s fat and out of shape. I mean, you can’t really judge him on that fight. The other fighter was way overweight and looked terrible so, I’ll give Teddy Atlas credit if, he does well against (Manny) Pacquiao”

Freddie Roach and Jean Pascal look to give Sergey Kovalev his first loss a difficult task but not an impossible one. If the first 4 rounds of the previous fight between the two of them is any indication of what could unfold in the rematch with Freddie Roach added to the mix it makes for an exciting formula of boxing this coming January 30th, at the Bell Center in Quebec, Canada on HBO.

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