By Andreas Hale
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
FightNews had the opportunity to sit down with Freddie Roach and talk about a number of things ranging from Chavez Jr.’s curious training habits to what he thinks is going on with 50 Cent trying to get involved in Pacquiao’s career.
First things first, with September 15 quickly approaching and the buzz surrounding Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.’s middleweight tilt at an all time high, the hall-of-fame trainer discussed the younger Chavez’ odd training habits. HBO 24/7 captured the Chavez skipping out on sessions with Roach and opting to train in the living room of his house rather than in a boxing ring. But while those instances really did happen, Roach says that they don’t tell the whole story.
“We got the work in, I just wasn’t 100% happy with where we did the work,” Roach says to FightNews while stating that the cameras weren’t allowed to film the two training at Chavez’ house. “I’d rather have him in the boxing ring so I can show him how to cut the ring off and not follow his opponent around. It’s hard to do that when you’re training somebody in the living room.”
The HBO documentary didn’t exactly paint the perfect picture of a fighter preparing for the biggest fight of his life. But Roach wants to dispel the notion that his fighter is lazy.
“Once Julio starts to work — whether it’s in his living room or the gym — he works his ass off. His work ethic is great. His time and locations can be unusual though,” Roach said before making a comparison to another fighter he works with.
“He and Manny Pacquiao are very similar,” he continued. “Manny likes convenience and feels the same way as Chavez Jr. Chavez would rather walk downstairs and start his workout than have to drive ten minutes to the gym.”
Switching gears, Roach discussed the rumors that rapper 50 Cent was switching sides from Team Mayweather and looking to become a part of Team Pacquiao. Those rumors aren’t entirely untrue as Roach confirmed that 50 Cent has made contact with Pacquiao’s advisor Michael Koncz as early as Wednesday afternoon.
“I was with Michael Koncz yesterday and he and 50 Cent did speak to each other,” Roach confirmed in regards to the swirling rumors. He’s not opposed to the idea either as he believes it has more to do with making the long overdue Mayweather fight happen rather than being a part of Pacquiao’s actual team. “I like that a lot because that conversation has to include Mayweather and it brings us closer to the Mayweather fight. I think the intent of these conversations has to do with negotiating the Mayweather fight. I don’t think he’s going to be an advisor or anything to Manny Pacquiao.”
Although he is not privy to the inner turmoil rumored between 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather, Roach does say that he heard that there has been no real fallout and the two are on good terms. “From what I know, they have always been back and forth but they have made up. But, with a lot of people and a lot of money, you going to have some big egos.”
With Martinez-Chavez Jr. happening at what has been perceived as the “right” time, the window of opportunity for Mayweather-Pacquiao has been rapidly closing as both fighters are closing in on retirement. Roach says that Mayweather’s last fight with Cotto is evidence that the undefeated fighter is now dealing with age as a new opponent. Although Mayweather put on a crowd pleasing fight with Cotto, Roach says that the decision to make the fight as action packed as it was wasn’t because he decided to.
“I don’t think he fought Cotto in the pocket by choice, I think that he had to,” Roach said. “He was so much more mobile before. I don’t think he can move like he used to. I think his legs have given out on him.”
Ultimately, a more stationary Mayweather could prove to work in Pacquiao’s favor as Mayweather’s movement has always been one of his biggest assets. Roach agrees, somewhat.
“It does makes for a better action fight and is better for Manny,” Roach says but he admits that Maywather in the pocket is still a very lethal opponent. “When a fighter is forced to sit down and throw punches you have to remember that Floyd has fast hands and can sit on his combinations too. It just makes for a better fight.”
Finally, Roach addressed where he thinks both Pacquiao and Mayweather are at in their careers. With 10 being them at their respective peaks, Roach delivered his assessment.
“I think Floyd is at about an 8 now, it makes for a much more exciting fighter but he’s not the same as he was before,” he said. But as for Pacquiao?
“He’s about an 8 too.”