Miami Herald boxing article by Santos Perez on Freddie Roach.
Prefight spat snares trainer
Posted on Sat, Dec. 06, 2008
BY SANTOS A. PEREZ
In the hype leading up to big fights, secondary players sometimes play large roles.
Veteran trainer Freddie Roach has been cast in such a position during the weeks leading to Saturday night’s welterweight bout between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.
Although identified more with training Pacquiao through his championship runs in the super-bantamweight, super-featherweight and lightweight divisions, Roach had a brief association with De La Hoya. When De La Hoya fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. last year, De La Hoya avoided a possible conflict of interest by replacing his trainer and Mayweather’s father, Floyd Sr., with Roach.
De La Hoya lost the bout by a split decision. Tensions between fighter and trainer have escalated since then and now provide a noticeable angle preceding Saturday’s bout. It features De La Hoya, the sport’s most popular fighter of the past 10 years, against a fighter considered by many as the sport’s pound-for-pound best.
”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,” Roach said. “But I did feel good for a moment.”
De La Hoya brought Mayweather Sr. back as trainer for his bout against Steve Forbes on May 3. But De La Hoya shifted course again for the Pacquiao bout, hiring veteran Mexican trainer Nacho Beristain to direct his camp and fight. Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee was added as a training consultant.
”Oscar was great in training camp,” Roach said of his brief tenure with De La Hoya. “He works really hard and he’s a hard trainer; he’s a hard worker.
“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.”
Roach believes De La Hoya’s reduction of jabs in the late rounds cost him against Mayweather.
”The game plan we had for the fight was working well in the early rounds and I thought we were winning the fight,” Roach said. “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.”
TIME TO RETIRE?
After the Mayweather bout, Roach suggested De La Hoya, 35, should retire and concentrate on his promotional company.
”Freddie Roach has made comments,” De La Hoya said. “And it’s obviously his way of pumping up his fighter.
“My motivation for this fight is Manny Pacquiao’s explosiveness, Manny Pacquiao’s punching power, Manny Pacquiao’s speed, Manny Pacquiao’s youth.
“I’m still going to say and put on the line is that I still respect him as a trainer and I still respect him as a person.”
The De La Hoya-Pacquiao fight will be televised on pay-per-view and will start between 11:15 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. The pay-per-view telecast, featuring two additional bouts, begins at 9.